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Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking Paperback – June 8, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1593275648 ISBN-10: 1593275641 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (June 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593275641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593275648
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Georgia Weidman is a penetration tester, researcher, and the founder of Bulb Security, a security consulting firm. She has presented at conferences around the world, including BlackHat, Shmoocon, and Derbycon, and teaches classes on topics like penetration testing, mobile hacking, and exploit development. In 2012, she was awarded a DARPA Cyber Fast Track grant to continue her work in mobile device security.


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Customer Reviews

The book is nicely laid out and is easy to understand.
Alt_key
You can find the info you need online for anything these days if you want to work that hard.
Perry Norton
On the other hand I think the book contains too much screenshots.
Javier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Perry Norton on July 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have tried hacking before, years ago with no success. There are a lot more tools now (I've learned) and I'm sure there is a lot more info online but finding the right info and things that actually work can be a daunting task in itself. You can find the info you need online for anything these days if you want to work that hard. I don't. I especially like all the screen shots. I hate it when the instructions take you through multiple steps and then show you a screenshot. When mine doesn't look like theirs, I have no clue where I went wrong. Thanks to all those screenshots, that doesn't happen with this book. Big plus!

I saw this book and thought it would make an interesting summer project. And it has been! Setting up the lab was challenging but the instructions were great. Be prepared for a lot of "I did it!" rushes as you work through this book. I especially enjoyed the Exploit Development chapters. I can't compare it to other books on the subject but you won't be disappointed with this one. It is truly a great book for beginners on the subject. It does not make you an expert but I feel I know enough to be of use on a team of pentesters.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Javier on June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
Penetration testing, also known as 'pentesting', is the activity of simulating real attacks to assess the risks associated with potential security breaches. On a pentest, the testers not only try to discover vulnerabilities but also exploit them in order to assess what attackers might gain after a successful exploitation.

This book is a basic introduction to hacking. It is a good source of material to persons starting in the pentesting world or looking for the right tools and approaches used by hackers. It covers the stages of a professional pentesting too.

The book looks oriented to basic training. It introduces quite concepts, ideas and techniques but all this stuff is not covered in depth. The author added some references and good links in place though.

The book is organized along five parts: I The basics, II Assessments, III Attacks, IV Development and V Mobile Hacking. The contents are straight and they are a good overview as a whole.

I found interesting the author's approach to set up a virtual lab where the reader is able to download vulnerable software in order to exploit it. Some of the tools used in this virtual lab are metasploit, kali, nessus and so on. The book makes a good job explaining step by step the different technical exploitations.

On the other hand I think the book contains too much screenshots. Some of them are not useful (intermediate screens) or they lack of context (screenshots of different applications with frozen values, etc). I think the author could link the project original documentation and save some space and time.

In summary, I think this book will be useful to beginners and readers with a first exposure to pentesting. It makes a good job explaining well-known hacks step-by-step and it offers a good overview of the current scene of pentesting.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Martin Bos on July 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Penetration testing and hacking is a sexy subject. With all of the big public breaches every year, security has come to the forefront of many peoples minds and the demand for young skilled hackers is greater than ever. The problem is that many of these would be hackers have no idea where to begin. They don't have money for higher education of fancy certifications, so where do we as a security community tell them to begin. I always point people at books. They are generally inexpensive and easy to get. I have been doing penetration testing for a number of years professionally so I am familiar with all of the topics in this book already, however, I am constantly reading material like this so that I can find the best resources to point out to new hackers.

I found this book to be well laid out with lots of explanations and an easy to follow methodology. I believe some of the people who have previously reviewed the book forgot what it is like to start with zero knowledge. I know when I was starting in hacking, I was thankful for as many screenshots as possible so I knew I was entering the correct commands. I especially like the way the book follows the Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES).

If you are new to hacking or penetration testing, this is the perfect resource to get you started and help you determine if this is the correct career path for you!
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By antisnatchor on August 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
I've been asked to review this book by NoStarchPress (thanks!).

It was an ambitious goal to write such book, and I can imagine it's not an easy challenge given the fact that most of us (already in the pentesting business) had very different backgrounds and used different learning approaches. However I have to say I didn't particularly like the book structure nor the amount of information that just barely scratched the surface of too many completely different topics.

The only interesting chapters for someone starting into this field are those from Part IV (exploit development).

Most of other chapters contain either very outdated material (for instance teaching to a newbie how to do client-side exploitation with a 6 years old PDF exploit on Windows XP is not cool) or too much content about very basic things such as installing a bunch of virtual machines or open source tools. If someone wants to become a penetration tester, I guess he should already know pretty well Linux (*BSD/Win/etc..) and virtualization solutions, or anyhow he can find information online about it without the need to buy a book.

Another thing I didn't like is mentioning VirusTotal. Everyone knows that this service share malware analysis data with AV companies, so what's the point of creating your own dropper for LEGAL penetration testing purposes, make it AV undetectable, then submit it to VirusTotal? You wouldn't except that to work in your next pentesting engagement.

Other sections like Web Application Testing contain too little content. For example XSS is quickly explained saying you can trigger an alert(1) as a PoC. Then BeEF is mentioned, but instead of showing some interesting and advanced usage of this attacking framework, the author shows again how to trigger alert(1).
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