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Ninja Hacking: Unconventional Penetration Testing Tactics and Techniques Paperback – September 23, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The hacking community is fraught with Eastern military comparisons. Like the ninja, we are continuing to come out of the shadows of our communal origins and grow into respected members of a larger society. As our industry matures, it demands more formal education, strict regulations and an adherence to a code of ethics. Therefore it becomes increasingly difficult to incorporate the culture of the unconventional warrior into our new world. Enter Wilhelm and Andress, who make it safe to show off your fu again. By the end of this book, the security professional is given the philosophical foundation along with a practical framework from which to leverage the way of the ninja. What could be cooler?"--Overall, Ninja Hacking has excellent relevant material and a significant amount of Ninja lore and history. While this book is not a technical reference, it is an excellent choice for someone who has an interest in Ninjas or someone who is looking for inspiration to think differently about penetration testing and security concepts. The mappings for traditional Ninja skills to the skills of today are mostly well-coupled and are always relevant to how the leaders in the field are addressing security today."----Donald C. Donzal, Editor-in-Chief, The Ethical Hacker Network

"When they put "unconventional" in the title, the authors weren't exaggerating. Perhaps the most unusual book written on computer security, this volume centers around detailed descriptions of the ethics, mindset, and tactics used in the Japanese martial arts commonly called ninja. The history of ninja fighting arts and the samurai warriors who practiced them are described in the first chapter. Each subsequent chapter presents specific ninja tactics, including intelligence, use of weapons, surveillance, and sabotage, then applies them to effective computer security management. Both authors are computer security specialists. The book also benefits from a Ninjutsu consultant, Bryan R. Garner, and a technical editor, Joshua Abraham."--SciTechBookNews

"With the good blend of historical techniques and its modern day application there is something in here for everyone."--Hakin9

"Be in no doubt, credibility is high for this book..All in all, while the writing style is light, the content is, for lack of a better term, meaty. This is definitely not recommended as an entry level book, but it is an excellent resource for penetration testers and those thinking of commissioning pen tests on their systems."--Paul Baccas, NakedSecurity.com, Oct. 25, 2011,

From the Back Cover

Ever thought of using the time-tested tactics and techniques of the ancient ninja to understand the mind of today’s ninja, the hacker? Penetration testers and security consultants perform tests both externally and internally for clients that include both physical and technical tests. Throw traditional pen testing methods out the window for now, and see how thinking and acting like a ninja could actually grant you quicker and more complete access to a company’s assets. Get in before the hacker does with these unorthodox techniques -- using all of the tools that the ninja has: disguise, espionage, stealth, and concealment. Learn how to benefit from these tools by laying your plans, impersonating employees, infiltrating via alarm system evasion, discovering weak points and timing, spyware and keylogging software, and log manipulation and logic bombs. And, really, don’t you want to be a ninja for a day just because they’re cool? Let this book be your excuse!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (September 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597495883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597495882
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,369,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Linn on March 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Without turning into a how-to manual, Wilhelm and Andress do a good job exposing the reader to the world of the Ninja and then mapping the cutting-edge skills of the leaders in penetration testing to those of the Zukin (the penetration tester who leverages unorthodox techniques). A good mix of history and hacking ensures even those who have no interest in the historical aspect will still get ideas for how to take penetration tests to the next level. This reference is broad enough to inspire almost everyone, but that breadth comes at the cost of not being deep enough to allow for expert mastery of any of the individual skills. By the end of this book the reader should know how to become the Ninja penetration tester and should be able to intelligently discuss the relationship between the feudal Ninja to the Ninjas of today.

The book is peppered with historical parables designed to shed light on modern security scenarios and stoke interest in the material. These scenarios may make explanation of aspects of penetration testing easier to understand for non-pentesters, and they should make experienced security experts think. The book covers a broad range of concepts, from contrasting the philosophies of the Ninja and Samurai classes using stories about specific feudal lords and clan leaders to examining the rules of engagement according to Sun Tzu's Art of War. Throughout, these researched components are not only used to examine concepts of penetration and defense but also to question the cookie-cutter methodologies found in many penetration tests. However, those who aren't interested in Ninjas can skip the first 2 chapters and go directly into the chapters about stealth and misdirection and will still be able to understand the references in most of the book.
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Format: Paperback
I had great time reading this book.
I mainly liked it because

- it is different than the 'usual' security books
- it never gets boring
- the historical parts were very interesting and educational
- it is extremely well structured
- it gives you a good sense of what is possible in hacking today
- it transports the methods and concepts of the ninjas into today's security (and hacking) world.

All in all I think it is a very good book to read and worth the time spend.
The combination of both parts (the technical and the historical) encourages the out-of-the-box thinking.
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Format: Paperback
Book Title: Ninja Hacking - Unconventional Penetration Testing Tactics and Techniques
Reviewer: Mario Camilien, CISSP
Authors: Thomas Wilhelm and Jason Andress

Ninja hacking will continue to be a very good reference book. The process of using Social Engineering as a tool to exploit human weaknesses will continue to be enhanced. There are many ways Social Engineering attacks can be crafted. Attacks are often successful because attackers exploit our human frailties. Social Engineers are often playing on peoples' fear, vanity, and curiosity. The authors have pinpointed those areas in many good examples such the ones outlined below:

- loss of job
- loss of insurance
- mergers
- current events
- academic achievements

After reading the Ninja hacking book, one will come to the conclusion that human's ability to use techniques to accomplish a stated objective is limitless. One must never assume and rely on pre-conceived notions about individuals, locations, and organizations. The methods are not new. Social Engineering is the process of using technology as vehicle to revive and enhancing old tactics.

Mario Camilien, CISSP
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Format: Paperback
Ninja Hacking is not a typical digital security book. When I saw the title I expected the use of "Ninja" to be a reference to a style of digital attack. While this is true to a certain extent, Ninja Hacking is about actual Ninja concepts applied to the digital world. The book is an introduction to Ninja history and techniques, applied to the modern digital security context. That was not at all what I expected, but I found the result intriguing.

Ninja Hacking is well-written and coherent, with real effort made to thoroughly apply Ninja tenets to digital problems. Unusual for a book of this sort, Ninja Hacking is well-sourced (using endnotes) and surprisingly well integrated into other Syngress titles. Rather than rehash or summarize material published elsewhere, the Ninja Hacking authors are comfortable directing readers to previous works for more information on topics like managing a penetration test. This approach kept Ninja Hacking focused and relevant.

My primary critique of the book is that some of the comparison between Ninja and modern digital intruders seems forced. For example, p 20 says "black hats simply do not have the financial backing that white hats have." The authors state this to maintain their perceived similarity between Ninjas and black hats. However, that financial outlook is not true for many black hats. Multiple teams of black hats are exceptionally well-funded compared to the 1-person or no-person security operations at the hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium businesses exploited each year. Some well-resourced black hats work for organized crime groups, while others are state-sponsored. Thankfully, this one aspect of the authors' philosophy doesn't really impact the book's core message.
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