The Basics of Web Hacking

Tools and Techniques to Attack the Web

The Basics of Web Hacking introduces you to a tool-driven process to identify the most widespread vulnerabilities in Web applications. No prior experience is needed. Web apps are a "path of least resistance" that can be exploited to cause the most damage to a system, with the lowest hurdles to overcome. This is a perfect storm for beginning hackers. The process set forth in this book introduces not only the theory and practical information related to these vulnerabilities, but also the detailed configuration and usage of widely available tools necessary to exploit these vulnerabilities.

The Basics of Web Hacking provides a simple and clean explanation of how to utilize tools such as Burp Suite, sqlmap, and Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), as well as basic network scanning tools such as nmap, Nikto, Nessus, Metasploit, John the Ripper, web shells, netcat, and more. Dr. Josh Pauli teaches software security at Dakota State University and has presented on this topic to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, BlackHat Briefings, and Defcon. He will lead you through a focused, three-part approach to Web security, including hacking the server, hacking the Web app, and hacking the Web user.

With Dr. Pauli’s approach, you will fully understand the what/where/why/how of the most widespread Web vulnerabilities and how easily they can be exploited with the correct tools. You will learn how to set up a safe environment to conduct these attacks, including an attacker Virtual Machine (VM) with all necessary tools and several known-vulnerable Web application VMs that are widely available and maintained for this very purpose. Once you complete the entire process, not only will you be prepared to test for the most damaging Web exploits, you will also be prepared to conduct more advanced Web hacks that mandate a strong base of knowledge.

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Beginning Information Security professionals, systems administrators, information technology leaders, network administrators, and an academic audience among information security majors.


Book information

  • Published: July 2013
  • Imprint: SYNGRESS
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-416600-4


"This is a book about techniques one can use to break into web servers, browsers, and applications. Its intended audience is not criminals or spies, however, but ‘white hat’ hackers who attempt to break into their own organization's IT resources with permission and the goal of securing those resources against just these kind of attacks when they are made with hostile intent…"--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
"…this first work shows the love of an eager first-time author who has an obvious passion about the subject matter.…it is a good starting point for someone who has little or no exposure to web attacks. Anyone who wants a gentle introduction with a low bar to entry that bridges the gap between his knowledge and more advanced texts, will likely find this book useful."--The Ethical Hacker Network online, October 10, 2013

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Basics of Web Hacking
  3. Web Server Hacking
  4. Web App Recon and Scanning
  5. Web App Exploitation with Code Injection
  6. Web App Exploitation with Broken Authentication and Path Traversal
  7. Web User Hacking
  8. Fixes
  9. Next Steps