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There's a running joke we have on our assessment team about the Web Application Hackers Handbook. Every time we see a new technology, or have to deal with a one-off situation, we start doing research online only to find it was already referenced in WAHH somewhere. We've all read this book several times too, it's like Dafydd and Marcus sneak into our houses at night and add content...
Joking aside though, there is no other reference for web hacking as thorough or complete as WAHH.
With WAHH2 the authors added a significant amount content and rehashed existing chapters that were already deeply technical. The bonus in WAHH2 is its associated labs. Dafydd and Marcus have been giving a live WAHH training for years and have now moved the stellar CTF like challenges to the cloud. You can buy credits ($7 for 1hr) and move right along as you read the book (MDSec.net). When I say the labs are stellar, I mean it. The labs come almost straight from the class and start trivial and then get crazy. The injection labs were by far my favorite, housing 30-40 different injection types/variants each between XSS/SQLi. The CTF in the class (which i'll mention again is where the MDSec.com labs are based from) gets ridiculous toward the end. Even seasoned web testers fall around questions 14-16. But i digress...
WAHH2 is now the defacto buy for any pentest/QA/Audit team. Its usage will surpass any other book on your bookshelf if you are doing practical testing.
5 stars, i'd give it 10 if I could.
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Pains me to write a bad review for a book that has SO much great stuff. Really, it's full to the brim of really great info.
But where they went way way wrong: they keep referencing "Try it!" modules that refer to an online site, where the have different tutorials set up on a virtual server. You're allowed to try the hack techniques against the server for a "mere 7 dollars per hour".
But that's actually really really expensive (if you don't have a company paying for you, hell, even if you do). The online labs are sophisticated, but not THAT sophisticated. The author could have EASILY put them online for free, or run them cheaper. It'll take you HOURS to figure out anything on his labs, unless youre a seasoned pentest guy.
it's 7 per hour, and you have to choose 1 hour increments. So I found myself listing things i wanted to try in that hour...which i never got through, because HE DIDN'T INCLUDE ANSWERS, OR A GUIDE! You're supposed to figure it out on the go, which is fine and dandy if youre just browsing a site, but not when youre paying 7 dollars an hour to be on a site.
This book improves on what I already thought was the best book on the subject.
The advantage of this book (and now the new version even more so) is in the way it breaks down the topics. Many books sort of jump around with their various sections, while the WAHH takes the precise line that I think is best when building on one's understanding of this topic.
The updated material is significant, and definitely worth the re-purchase. I bought both the dead-tree and the Kindle version.
The first 3 chapters are a very good review of the state of Internet security in general. Then you hit chapter 4 and everything becomes C.I.P.U. (clear if previously understood) in a hurry. What is "Burp" and why do I need it? You have to jump to chapter 20 to find out, where you are told how to set up a proxy server. So now what? Use Burp to figure things out! We're going in a circle here. (And this assumes you've got your proxy even working.)
The book also stresses on-line learning thru their website, for a modest fee. But just what do you get for these lessons. I don't know, because the first one doesn't occur until chapter 5. And by then I was turned off by the book.
To be fair, there's a gold mine of material in this book. But it's not for the beginner. You have to put it together like a jig saw puzzle, but without benefit of any picture of what the finished puzzle should look like.
If you are already beyond basic hacking, are aware of the tools available, and know the HTML standard inside out, then this is probably a good book for you. But it is way too much for the newbie. This book should come with the skill level notice of "For intermediate to advanced users."
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