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on October 14, 2011
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 ( 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 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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on October 7, 2012
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.

F that...could have done it better/different.
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on October 1, 2011
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.

100% definitely recommended.
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on October 7, 2012
So as a book I will have to say this is a source of information, however, on the other hand it's very deceptive because in order to get the full benefit of the book you really have to:

1. Buy the professional version of Burp Suite which the author wrote.

It would have been nice if some sort of time trial was included.

2. If you want to access any of the labs they talk about in the book you have to subscribe to their training site which is from what I can tell $7.00 an hour...

There are a great many good and free services out there, and personally I feel the this book (while having good material) was really written to support the authors sales efforts.

I would have much rather seen the use of free websites and examples that didn't cost any more money.

It's ok
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on August 16, 2012
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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on April 7, 2013
Reading this book up to around page 600 made me seriously question how anyone could give it less than 5 stars. The amount of knowledge it gave me for a mere $25 is absolutely astounding. I was eagerly waiting to finish it so I could come review it.

Then I finished it, and I understood some of the criticisms. It starts to feel like it's repeating itself after a while, and the product placement for Burp start to become a bit more annoying.

Still, the rest of the book is chock full of great, detailed information. If you're like me and had a basic understanding of how SQL injection worked, but wanted to get a deeper look, this book is perfect. If you chopped off the last 200 pages you would have a book that was STILL worth well over $25. It's hard for me to give it less than 5 stars when my major complaint is that it gives too much information.

Bottom line: if you're a beginner or intermediate to web application security and you're wondering whether you should buy this, just do it. You won't be disappointed.
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on March 18, 2014
First off, one of the authors of the book is the person who made burpsuite. It becomes quite clear you actually need to purchase burpsuite pro if you want to follow all of the hack steps in the book or understand a lot of the things they are talking about that aren't shown in the burpsuite free edition. The real problem for me is that it leads you to their lab which you have to pay $7 an hour for 1 hour increments. You have to take that full increment each time you want to practice. You can't stop your time so you have to take that full hour. You can imagine how quickly that would add up. Not a big deal if you read all the chapter and then try it out. Problem is when you are doing the hack steps there isn't a defined answer key for it. For example:

Step 1. Locate all instances within the application where hidden form fields, cookies, and URL parameters are apparently being used to transmit data via the client.

Step 2. Attempt to determine or guess the role that the item plays in the a application's logic, based on the context in which it appears and on clues such as the parameter's name.

Step 3. Modify the item's value in ways that are .... and so on.

Ok. So I THINK I found what I was looking for but I'm not 100% sure. How do I find the answers to make sure. ??????

So the BIGGEST problem for me with each of these "hack steps" is that there isn't an answer key. They should have something like "You should have found <answer here> on this page by performing these steps. Maybe something on the lab site to show you or pictures or something. Nothing is found for this for their labs. Showing an automated slide of them performing it would of helped.

So once you hit chapter 4 you better buckle up because like another reviewer said it gets C.I.P.U. (clear if previously understood) real quick. Great book for intermediate-advanced people with webapp/security experience. I certainly wouldn't recommend it for beginners. I am still going through it but I thought the labs were really discouraging. The material is great and very relevant though. I think the labs could of done a lot better in my opinion.
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on August 31, 2012
By showing how to detect and exploit a web application's vulnerabilities, this book becomes a must-read for all web developers.

What I liked about this book:

1. The authors start from first principles - right from the HTTP protocol and various encoding schemes.
2. The authors provide examples for every assertion they make. The words "for example" occur over and over, and are always followed by helpful real life scenarios.
3. This is a very current book, so you'll see a treatment of modern web application concepts
4. Very easy to read - it can literally be read in a single sitting if you dare.
5. Workbook style sections lead you through a practical application of concepts.

Unfortunately, there is significant repetition across chapters. While this may have been an intentional pedagogical technique to reinforce concepts, I found it distracting.

Also, there is a lot of self promotion going on in this book. You are either continually being directed to their commercial web site or you are being sold on their commercial testing suite.

Despite these minor quibbles, I was very impressed by both the quality of this book's content as well as the quality of its writing.
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on May 13, 2015
Overall, there was a lot of information. I hated the constant use burp suite for this and that. SHUT UP ABOUT BURP SUITE!!! Also, all over the book are links to highly expensive pay by the hour labs that do not even include an answer key. These are used as examples, also. Another thing I dis liked was the last couple of chapters. They barley fit within the book's title.
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on September 4, 2014
If this creepy lab thing didn't exist, I would rate 4 or 5 stars for this book since book contains a lot of real-world best-practises. But authors designed the material by assuming 'every reader can afford 7$ per hour for our labs', this destroys the overall quality.

Since you're a new-learner for some advanced stuff, you need to do it on the lab. First, you pay 35$ (yes there is minimum credit requirement for 5 credits for your first order(!)) but for example when you're stuck in an example and can't finish your experiment, you kind of waste your very expensive credits. The feeling that you are missing something is bad because you know you can't afford (7$ per hour, really!) till all things are clear!

Also there isn't any 'pause your session' option for your lab sessions. If you start, you must finish it! This is ridiculous...

I want to be optimistic about labs; yeah, there are fees for servers and bandwidth, but I think, if their plan is teaching good rather than making more money, they could provide all the ASP.NET source codes and problem solutions for the labs on their site, but it isn't.

As a result; give it a chance, it has some great content in it but this lab things will make you nervous.
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