The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing

Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Made Easy


  • Patrick Engebretson, Dr. Patrick Engebretson obtained his Doctor of Science degree with a specialization in Information Security from Dakota State University. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Information Assurance and also works as a Senior Penetration Tester for security firm in the Midwest. His research interests include penetration testing, hacking, intrusion detection, exploitation, honey pots, and malware. In the past several years he has published many peer reviewed journal and conference papers in these areas. Dr. Engebretson has been invited by the Department of Homeland Security to share his research at the Software Assurance Forum in Washington, DC and has also spoken at Black Hat in Las Vegas. He regularly attends advanced exploitation and penetration testing trainings from industry recognized professionals and holds several certifications. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in penetration testing, wireless security, and intrusion detection, and advanced exploitation.

The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing serves as an introduction to the steps required to complete a penetration test or perform an ethical hack. You learn how to properly utilize and interpret the results of modern day hacking tools; which are required to complete a penetration test. Tool coverage will include, Backtrack Linux, Google, Whois, Nmap, Nessus, Metasploit, Netcat, Netbus, and more. A simple and clean explanation of how to utilize these tools will allow you  to gain a solid understanding of each of the four phases and prepare them to take on more in-depth texts and topics. This book includes the use of a single example (pen test target) all the way through the book which allows you to clearly see how the tools and phases relate.
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Security Consultants, beginning InfoSec professionals, Students


Book information

  • Published: July 2011
  • Imprint: SYNGRESS
  • ISBN: 978-1-59749-655-1


"Although this book is ideal for beginners, most security professionals will have been involved with penetration testing during some point in their career. This book is thus an excellent refresher for those of us who fondly recall Nmap, Nessus and Netcat as being the tools of choice for both whitehat and blackhat hackers, but have long-since forgotten the full command-line syntax and would benefit from a refresh. Patrick Engebretson gets the reader involved in the art of hacking from page one and makes this book a fascinating and productive read."--Best Hacking and Pen Testing Books in InfoSecReviews Book Awards

"Have you heard of penetration testing but have no idea what it entails? This is the perfect book to get you started, easy to read, does not assume prior knowledge, and is up-to-date. I strongly recommend Pat’s latest work."--Jared DeMott, Principle Security Researcher, Crucial Security, Inc.

"If you are searching for a book to get you started with penetration testing, ‘The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing’ is the right one. It assumes little and gives a lot, and doesn't require huge amounts of technical knowledge in order to be read or understood. As complex the subject may sound to novices, the author does a great job explaining it. He eschews techno-babble and when he repeatedly returns to some issues, it's because he has more to say about them, not because he can't think about what to right next."--Help Net Security

"This book offers a broad overview of basic concepts of hacking and penetration testing for readers with no previous background. It outlines a four-phase model of conducting a penetration test, or an 'ethical hack,' and shows how to use such hacking tools as Backtrack Linux, Hacker Defender, and MetGooFil. A sequential example throughout the book demonstrates how the tools and phases work together. The book includes chapter introductions and summaries, b&w screenshots, examples and exercises, and recommended resources."--SciTech Book News

"If you are an information security beginner with some experience in computer technology, especially networking, I would recommend this book. If you are an intermediate level pen tester or an advanced tester, you might not find this book as useful. That being said, it never hurts to browse through the book and see if any new tools or technology are mentioned here that warrant a closer look. As mentioned earlier, penetration testing is an ever growing field and it is quite possible that as an expert, you might have missed something new. This book introduces you to just enough tools and technology to get your feet wet. If this kind of testing gives you a thrill, then you might want to look into more advanced topics and resources. If this is the only resource you used to escalate your interest in pen testing, then you have no one else but the author to thank for it."--PenTest Extra Magazine Vol. 2, No. 3, June

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What is Penetration Testing?
Introduction to Backtrack Linux: Tools. Lots of Tools
Working with Backtrack: Starting the Engine
The Use and Creation of a Hacking Lab
Phases of a Penetration Test
Chapter Review

Chapter 2: Reconnaissance
HTTrack: Website Copier
Google Directives - Practicing your Google-Fu
The Harvester: Discovering and Leveraging Email Addresses
Extracting Information From DNS
Extracting Information from Email Servers
Social Engineering
Sifting through the Intel to Finding Attackable Targets
How Do I Practice This Step?
Where Do I Go From Here?

Chapter 3: Scanning
Pings and Ping Sweeps
Port Scanning
Vulnerability Scanning
How Do I Practice This Step?
Where Do I Go From Here?

Chapter 4: Exploitation
Gaining Access to Remote Services with Medusa
Metasploit: Hacking, Hugh Jackman Style!
John the Ripper: King of the Password Crackers
Password Resetting: Kind of Like Driving a Bulldozer through the Side a Building
Sniffing Network Traffic
Macof: Making Chicken Salad Out of Chicken Sh*t
Fast-Track Autopwn: Breaking Out the M-60
How Do I Practice This Step?
Where Do I Go From Here?

Chapter 5: Web Based Exploitation
Interrogating Web Servers: Nikto
Websecurify: Automated Web Vulnerability Scanning
Spidering: Crawling Your Target’s Website
Intercepting Requests with Web Scarab
Code Injection Attacks
Cross Site Scripting: Browsers that Trust Sites
How Do I Practice this Step?
Where Do I Go From Here?

Chapter 6: Maintaining Access with Backdoors and Rootkits
Netcat: The Swiss Army Knife
Netcat’s Cryptic Cousin: Cryptcat
Detecting and Defending Against Rootkits
How Do I Practice This Step?
Where Do I Go From Here?

Chapter 7: Wrapping Up the Penetration Test
Writing the Penetration Testing Report
You Don’t Have to Go Home but You Can’t Stay Here
Where Do I Go From Here?
Wrap up
The Circle of Life