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Hacking: The Art of Exploitation

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,938 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Hacking is the art of creative problem solving, whether that means finding an unconventional solution to a difficult problem or exploiting holes in sloppy programming. Many people call themselves hackers, but few have the strong technical foundation needed to really push the envelope.

Rather than merely showing how to run existing exploits, author Jon Erickson explains how

Paperback, 488 pages
Published (first published 2003)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,938 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Todd N
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
My son swells with pride whenever I call him my little hacker. His main goal is to find a way to play Minecraft or watch Minecraft videos on YouTube. He has guessed the iPad and AppleTV passwords to achieve these goals. Once he took my phone and texted this to my wife: "This is Todd. What is the iPad password?" (I was laughing too hard to scold him for that, though we did have a talk about social engineering afterwards.)

Anyway, this book describes much more sophisticated techniques starting with
Stuart Woolf
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a long time to get through, longer than I care to admit, but I felt this journey paid mega-dividends many times over. I cannot think of a more intellectually-enriching book I have read in the past five or six years.

I read this book with the aim to learn more about assembly language and (broadly speaking) the hardware / software interface. I learned more than I ever cared to know about either of these things and so much more. It should be said, prior to purchasing this book, my
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good introductory in the subject for mainly two reasons. One is the fact that the book is clearly written and builds up gradually so you're not required to have too much information about the subject before starting to read. Second being the Livecd you can download and which works as a testing platform when you're learning the basics of programming or studying different kinds of exploits.

I enjoyed reading and practicing while reading and my only beef with this book is that in my
Mike O'Brien
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, let me say that if you have a 64-bit computer here is what you need to know: The liveCD that comes with the book ONLY works on 32-bit computers. Luckily, I have a pentesting machine that I have Kali Linux running on. The website for the book has all of the source code, so I just downloaded it and run in on Kali and it was perfect for me. I think the only extra thing I needed to download was Perl (type: "sudo apt-get install perl" without the quotes into the command line for those ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. Mostly about C and overflow-based attacks, which can be kind of confusing if you were looking for a more high-level book...
Mike Polsky
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: programming
Hugh Smalley
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

While other books merely show how to run existing exploits, Hacking: The Art of Exploitation broke ground as the first book to explain how hacking and software exploits work and how readers could develop and implement their own. In the extensively updated and expanded second edition, author Jon Erickson again uses practical examples to illustrate the most common computer security issues in three related fields: programming, networking and cryptography. Includes a live CD, which provides a Linux

Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hacking
This book primarily focuses on teaching buffer overflow exploits under Linux.
the techniques shown in the book will not work on most modern Linux distributions without crippling the security features that are baked into them (ASLR, stack canaries, DEP, etc)
the book focuses on teaching you the concepts without having you worry about turning off security features on Linux. While most of these techniques are outdated
The book does not cover Windows exploitation at all
after all i enjoyed reading it
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
I had read part of this book at university, years ago. While it is no longer up to date and maybe most of the exploits and techniques described have been patched for years, the concepts and general strategies still apply.

If you're looking for a general overview of security (buffer overflows, encryption, passwords, wireless networks, network-enabled apps...), I think this is still a great resource.
Brian Powell
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far from comprehensive, and not a "how to" book for burgeoning hackers. Excellent coverage of buffer overflows, including sample code in C to bring it to life. Some interesting discussion of SSH man-in-the-middle and WEP attacks. The remainder of the book is standard (but good) coverage of programming, networking, and crypto.
Mar 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: techno-books
this is a very good book on the subject of hacking. it covers all of the fundamentals in great detail with plenty of diagrams and code examples that make the text easy to follow. Topics covered include buffer overflows, writing shellcode, and even some wireless hacking.
Hands down this is one of the best technical books I've read so far.
The only missing part I think is:
- no integer overflow exploitation
- no details about recent techniques to bypass ASLR
- some chapters are not about exploits or memory corruptions
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the sections on buffer overflows (NOP sled, overwriting the stack return pointer) and network scans/DoS attacks. This book afforded me some cool techniques I didn't learn in my Computational Science degree. The author thoroughly conveys the hacker mentality.
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: security, reference
Really great introduction to the subject.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fundamentals approach to hacking, diving deep into C and assembly code to give you a thorough understanding of how hacks work on the most basic level. I really liked how it selves into the source code of common tools like nmap so you understand how they work, rather than using them blindly. At the same time, I expect to revisit this book at a later stage; it ramps up quickly and the reader would benefit from a familiarity with shellcode and so on.
Ben Oliver
Spends too much time on one topic then runs out of time to get truly creative. However it’s still worth a read if you are interested in creating exploits, particularly for Linux.

Erickson also takes you through the ‘history’ of an exploit, with step by step guides that build on each other. It’s fascinating to see how ‘small’ ideas turn into really powerful tools.

Not a life changing masterpiece but a good insight into the ‘hacker’ mindset, without skimping on the technical information.

Elwin Kline
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a beginner level book.

It starts off gentle, doing the typical street analogy with avenues, streets, cars, houses, and homeowners... but then it quickly picks up pace to a point where I feel that unless you have some experience in programming (preferably C) than you will get lost quick.

I was actually stuck in an Airport on a layover for something like 10 hours and I had this book in my bag. I was able to really dive into it in that time and it really kept me busy all the way even on the
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I begin to think that I'm maybe sort of intelligent, I read a book like this and am pleasantly reminded that I'm an incompetent moron when it comes to most topics, lol. Also, this is actually pretty basic stuff for hacking, apparently (?!).

Noah Nadeau
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the most difficult books I've ever read, but only because it's packed full of deep level information. Definitely a must for anyone interested in learning Assembly or C coding, if only to avoid common pitfalls. Supplement this book with "A Bug Hunter's Diary" by Tobias Klein.
Roger Pelayo
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read Highly educational and practical.
Brett Vandyke
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The real deal. Teaches C exploits that have been around since the beginning.
Dora solano
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No.1 book for hacking
Trim Kadriu
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book! It gives a very clear explanation on the fundamental concepts of exploitation.
want to know more about cyber security
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best book to start learning hacking!!!!
Oct 03, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The art
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology
Better utilized as a reference book to cherry pick topics than a deep dive from cover to cover.
Jason Judd
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read maybe a dozen manuals on systems security, and this one is the last you should read. It's on top.
Dave Jones
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to, technology, ebooks
I got this book during a one-day Amazon deal for $6.99. This is the first Kindle book that I read entirely using the desktop app. This is pretty much necessary in order to derive the full value of its content. The book contains a DVD (or an equivalent .ISO image file if you have an ebook).

[Speaking of the .ISO file, it was quite a little trick for me to be able to access the content. If you have a physical book, you would just pop the DVD into your computer. (Although fewer computers have
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“The essence of hacking is finding unintended or overlooked uses for the laws and properties of a given situation and then applying them in new and inventive ways to solve a problem — whatever it may be.” 1 likes
“proved that technical problems can have artistic solutions,” 0 likes
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