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Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali

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This practical, tutorial-style book uses the Kali Linux distribution to teach Linux basics with a focus on how hackers would use them. Topics include Linux command line basics, filesystems, networking, BASH basics, package management, logging, and the Linux kernel and drivers.

If you're getting started along the exciting path of hacking, cybersecurity, and pentesting, Linux Basics for Hackers is an excellent first step. Using Kali Linux, an advanced penetration testing distribution of Linux, you'll learn the basics of using the Linux operating system and acquire the tools and techniques you'll need to take control of a Linux environment.

First, you'll learn how to install Kali on a virtual machine and get an introduction to basic Linux concepts. Next, you'll tackle broader Linux topics like manipulating text, controlling file and directory permissions, and managing user environment variables. You'll then focus in on foundational hacking concepts like security and anonymity and learn scripting skills with bash and Python. Practical tutorials and exercises throughout will reinforce and test your skills as you learn how

- Cover your tracks by changing your network information and manipulating the rsyslog logging utility
- Write a tool to scan for network connections, and connect and listen to wireless networks
- Keep your internet activity stealthy using Tor, proxy servers, VPNs, and encrypted email
- Write a bash script to scan open ports for potential targets
- Use and abuse services like MySQL, Apache web server, and OpenSSH
- Build your own hacking tools, such as a remote video spy camera and a password cracker

Hacking is complex, and there is no single way in. Why not start at the beginning with Linux Basics for Hackers ?

248 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2018

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5 stars
130 (40%)
4 stars
129 (39%)
3 stars
37 (11%)
2 stars
22 (6%)
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7 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Blair.
143 reviews
December 30, 2021
According to the book, I'm not the target audience (experienced Linux admin), but I picked it up as a way to learn about Kali Linux and the tools it has.

Things that strike me as suspect: First, the author has a tutorial to install Kali Linux on a virtual machine instance, but later chapters demonstrate wireless tools that require direct wireless access on your computer. That isn't going to happen in a virtual machine. Second, the author jumps right into networking, but doesn't mention how to turn networking on. Kali Linux defaults to networking off. For a book for non-experienced Linux folks, this is kind of a big deal. Third, the book's coverage is scant for someone aspiring to use Linux.

Overall, this feels like many of the hacking materials that floated around on the internet circa-2000; just enough substance to look useful and helpful, but missing enough to be frustrating. But don't worry, follow the links in the book to the author's site, and you can sign up for a class!

Frankly, I'm surprised that No Starch Press published this, and that it passed the technical review, as the book has large holes that will let new folks down. I'm sad that my library paid money for this book.

If you're new to Linux, I'd recommend starting with the following books:

A Practical Guide to Linux
The Linux Command Line
How Linux Works

They're not hacking texts, so if that's your thing (or you want it to be your thing), you'll need to research that content on your own. But those books will give you a fairly solid foundation to start.
Profile Image for Scott.
685 reviews81 followers
October 1, 2019
I am not an aspiring hacker, but I work with an Oracle database that lives in a Linux environment, and this ebook was part of a Humble Bundle I got a while back for some light Python reading, so I figured "What the hell, maybe I'll learn something."

And I did, but I found this took shallow dives into too many deep topics. I'm not really sure who it's for. It would have been better off going deeper into Linux without needing to graze so many areas, or going into far more depth on security, encryption, etc. without being bound by the novice-level O/S knowledge requirement.

There were also times when the Kali shell it has you set up is not capable of replicating the examples in their environment, so thanks Stack Overflow for helping with that. Just could've used more editing.

It also assumed I have a Raspberry Pi sitting around. I do, but I wasn't wiping out my collection of Looney Tunes and Barbie NES games for this.

So yeah, for a super surface-level intro to some fun topics, it's fine. It does an okay job of pointing you in the direction of further study. I, not needing to be a hacker, will pass. Though I have to admit I contemplated stashing a spycam in my upstairs neighbor's apartment to see what the hell he's stomping around doing at 5:30 every morning. I'm pretty sure I could get into his place...
Profile Image for Daniel Blazquez.
56 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2019
As the title indicates, the audience is users with little to now knowledge of Linux. In this sense, the book does a great job covering the basics -regardless of the "hacking" subtitle. However, it is helpful in the sense that it covers Kali, an offensive security Linux distribution preferred in cybersecurity circles, and each chapter includes a few general guidelines on computer offensive security. A fun and quick read!
Profile Image for Michael Gaudet.
102 reviews3 followers
June 25, 2021
I think the title of this book is a little aggressive— it could just as easily have been titled “A basic introduction to Linux”. Not that that’s a bad thing.

This book gives a great high level overview of basic Linux functionality and concepts without going too deep on any one topic, and in a pretty comfortable 200 pages. It’s really sort of a guidebook. It introduced briefly the major commands and topics needed to work with a Linux system, and serves as a jumping-off point for those topics.

Heck, the book explicitly uses Kali, but very little of Kali functionality is used here. It could have just as easily been written for Ubuntu… or Raspbian, for that matter. I guess they’re selling to a target audience.

All in all, the material is solid. There are lots of examples, there is little to no fluff, and it’s written in a very cohesive and understandable way. It would be a great book for kids or a Windows user just dipping their toes in the Linux world. It starts off with the basics, but not the really low level “what is a computer?”, “for dummies”- type basics.

No actual hacking is demonstrated in this book, not even at a beginner level. Again, that’s not what this is about. But it does introduce some of the tools and concepts that are fundamental to working with pentest tools and the like.
44 reviews1 follower
November 4, 2019
The title of the book could also be "Linux Basics...for Anyone Starting Out in Linux". Apart from a couple of scanning scripts and the names of some of the preloaded utilities in Kali, the book isn't a guide to hacking. As the title says, it's about the basics that someone would need to know about Linux if they were going to perform hacking/pentesting using Kali. The mention of Kali is a bit misleading as well. Though the book's examples are all Debian-based, there are few instructions that can't just as easily apply to any other Debian distro. Having said that, though, the book does deliver what it promises (if you don't read too much into the title...and the picture on the cover). It's a very clear introduction to basic Linux skills and would be a great first book for anyone brand new to Linux and wanting to use it for any purpose.
36 reviews1 follower
January 6, 2022
Way too shallow to be helpful. Has nothing to do with "hacking". The only thing this book provides is a way to give your lab instructor a headache.
1 review
January 24, 2022
Get book for absolute beginners, not the best for people that have already been through other tutorials although it does teach you some cool methods for some tools it’s nothing you couldn’t learn with a few google searches. The content is really nothing crazy and even for beginners this all has been written and documents in various YouTube videos and blog articles based on using Linux and setting up a VM. It also confused me when then first task on setting up a Kali VM was so outdated since virtual box’s interface has changed so much it might be a challenge to find the specific buttons to press. It would be very quick for the author to rewrite and upload those pages due to technology updating so frequently it would be best for the book to stay on the same page as what it’s trying to educate its users on.
April 7, 2023
Great introduction to a broad range of topics but is inherently limited by the scope. It covers a lot without being incredibly in depth which is definitely part of the appeal to a beginner. I'm glad I read, would recommend for people getting their toes wet, but overall does not provide as much utility as I would have liked. Not to say it hasn't been useful, I can directly credit this for improving my job. I just wish it was more than what the author was going for. The end of chapter challenges could have been a little more different than what is taught in the chapter.

I think I had too much base knowledge going into this to make it as exciting as I would have liked, but I did pick up some new information along the way. Much better for someone with little to no knowledge going in. Love the author and can't wait to check out more of his work!
April 21, 2023
I recently fell victim to Bitcoin trading scams with 3 different companies and one company I was trying to get a loan from. It is about $90,000USD in total that I have invested with these companies. I reported the issue to the authorities, but they could not do anything since scam reports are often ignored. One of the officers who seemed to be really moved by my situation gave me an email spyware(at)cybergal.com and told me that someone who had previously fallen into a crypto scam managed to get their investments through the help of the contact. I emailed them immediately and provided all the contact numbers, email addresses, and websites that they use as also the emails with the BTC Transaction details. After what seemed like the longest three days of my life, I had the location details of all three scammers and my money in full. I should share for anyone else in need.
Profile Image for Leo.
15 reviews1 follower
January 17, 2020
It's a good book for Linux beginners, however it might be viewed from another angle:

The author tried to attract readers by using too many "hackings" "spy" "hackers", etc., but always says "how to do .... is beyond the scope of this book". So, he gave all the Linux basics in the name of a hacker. But what the author really wrote had almost nothing to do with hacking itself. So, the title was fancy but not "real".

Well, on the other hand if you think from the author's point of view, no one will buy another book about "Linux Basics for beginners", right?
1 review1 follower
April 17, 2020
First of all, I would like to point out that the book is not for experts.
When I compare it with other hackers books I have read, I cannot say that there are differences in terms of the subject in the first parts, but especially the last 4-5 chapters showed why the book is important. These sections gone deep into Linux and showed detailed applications (for example, browser and password cracker to monitor TCP / IP connections). In summary, the topics mentioned in the book are written carefully and with the thought of how the other side can better understand.
Profile Image for Sam.
46 reviews28 followers
August 5, 2020
If there's ever been a book that one should "get introduced to penetration testing " with, I have a feeling it should be this one.

The book covers a broad swath of the basics of Linux systems without sacrificing essentials while making penetration testing really fun. It luls the reader unconsciously into the culture that resides within hacking overall.

Was sadly using a VM and as such didnt have some tutorials pan out for me the way they should have. Irregardless, it was quite the hands on read.

Off To The Next One!
32 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2022
This book is a pretty decent introduction to linux for someone just beginning to use it, even though it's in the context of hacking. The scripting intro towards the end was also a cool way to add a little icing to the cake.

Peronsally, I didn't get a ton out of it as I am already a pretty heavy user of linux in my day to day. So I'd expect the same for anyone else who has more than a little experience using the OS.
8 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2019
This book really covers a broad variety of information but didn't quite touch on some of the things I wished. As the author stated it really is intended for the beginning Linux user. The book was well written and I only wished I had looked at something like this when I started programming 10 years ago.
Profile Image for Mick Petzold.
24 reviews
December 7, 2020
Discusses use of Kali Linux, a pen testing Linux distribution. Instead of being written from the perspective of the System Administrator, it is written from the perspective of a hacker. Two sides of the same coin, really. Good use of geek humor. Learned quite a bit about covering tracks and keeping anonymity as much as possible in today's cyber world.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Dill.
226 reviews2 followers
May 26, 2021
Definitely very introductory, so anyone who's already moderately familiar with Linux or the terminal on any *nix system may feel like it's a bit too basic. But it does have "Basics" right in the title so it's hard to fault it for that.

Overall, it's a great little introduction to some basic pentesting tools.
September 28, 2022
I wouldn't recommend this book, and suggest you don't waste your time. I wasn't able to start chapter 2 since installing the program needed was too difficult for a complete beginner like me. I gave up after 12 hours of trying different solutions. In the book it isn't suppose to be an issue but it has become outdated since that option for installation isn't available anymore.
Profile Image for Mark Lacanilao.
15 reviews
January 27, 2023
A bit repetitive if you've already read How Linux Works and The Linux Command Line. However, there are some great exercises with Kali Linux if you have minimal experience with Virtual Machines. You can't fault the author for going over Linux basics they are prerequisites for completing the exercises in this book.
Profile Image for Roger.
16 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2023
Pretty good intro to Linux from a hacking perspective, I think even advanced Linux users will find something in here that they did not know or at the very least were unfamiliar with. However like most tech books there are a few places where the commands used no longer work or are depreciated and you will have to do some googling if you want to follow along.
Profile Image for Tech Ninja.
181 reviews3 followers
May 7, 2019
Rating of 4.5/5 An amazing book that any future cybersecurity or IT person should read to get more into making their company/business more efficient and just learning ins and outs of Kali and Linux OS
1 review2 followers
July 28, 2020
a very useful book that was written in an excellent way with covering for all topics that lead the beginner to more practical way! i really recommend this book cause it combines networking, programming, and cybersecurity
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 2 books19 followers
January 2, 2021
Very solid for people with little to no Linux experience. If you have some already you can breeze through it quickly and pick up some things you might have missed. There were a few typos in commands "services" vs "service" and a few others that I wish they went a touch deeper in.
Profile Image for TIEMOKO.
1 review
June 27, 2021
Great introduction to ethical hacking

I recommend this book to anyone starting a career in cyber security or simply learning Linux commands. Great simplified content in an easy to read and understand text format
Profile Image for Ben Rogers.
2,300 reviews143 followers
April 5, 2022
This was an excellent book on hacking with Linux.

I found it very interesting.

An excellent resource for protecting your company or yourself by learning tactics and strategies that may be used.

I want to get more OccupyTheWeb books!

Profile Image for Jeffrey.
7 reviews
May 6, 2022
Does what it claims. Provides basic linux commands to get around. How to install and update. How to load scripting modules. Quick into or refresher to bash, python scripting. Using sql. Examples and useful programs that could be used for basic level data gathering.
3 reviews
October 11, 2022
This book is mostly about "Linux Basics" and barely touches upon computer security. It's a sloppy book, the code examples contain many syntax errors. I don't understand why No Starch Press published this book, its quality is very low compared to their other books.
Profile Image for J.J Flores.
234 reviews
March 16, 2023
Great book for anyone starting on hacking/pentesting, it covers pretty much basic usage of Linux and it also covers some hacker basics like scripts and programming. As some people say, the "Hacker" seems kind of unnecessary, but this doesn't mean it's a great read.
Profile Image for Aann While.
19 reviews12 followers
February 25, 2019
It's a great starting point to linux. All the important basics are covered. Fast and easy book. Would recommend to linux-hacking-newcomers.
1 review
March 11, 2019
Basics covered

As the name suggests pretty basic stuff and they are covered well. Nothing new. For advanced users try something else.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews

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