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10 Best Ethical Hacking Books 2022

Ethical hacking refers to finding the weaknesses of a computer system or network and coming up with effective measures to protect the weaknesses. Here is a list of the 10 best ethical hacking books that are a must-have for every beginner and professional ethical hacker.

Introduction

The digital world is growing and developing faster, and it is very important to secure data in every stage of the business process. Since we share all our personal information, bank details, and other sensitive information online, we need to secure them at every stage. Many cybercriminals are finding ways to hack and steal confidential data that might be a conflict of interest, a threat to national security, and more.

However, we can prevent data from getting stolen or used with the help of ethical hacking. The main aim of an ethical hacker is to safeguard business and government networks from cyberattacks.

The five different types of ethical hacking are:

10 Best Ethical Hacking Books (Beginners & Advanced)

Ethical hackers are the first line of defense against a cyber attack. They identify and rectify vulnerabilities in the system to safeguard your sensitive data from attackers.

Each type of ethical hacking requires a different set of skills and specialization. If you wish to learn about ethical hacking, a good book might be the best way to start. We have compiled the top 10 best ethical hacking books that anyone with any level of knowledge will find helpful.

1. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation

Hacking The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson

Author: Jon Erickson
Last Edition: 1 February 2008 (2nd Edition)
Publisher: No Starch Press
Level: Intermediate

Hacking: The Art Of Exploitation explores various topics, including debugging code, overflowing buffers, hijacking network communications, bypassing protections, exploiting cryptographic weaknesses, and more. This book explains ethical hacking with the help of Python, C language, and Linux. So it is advised to have a basic understanding of Python, C, and Linux before buying it.

The book doesn’t focus on rote learning the concepts. Instead, it tries to develop a hacking mindset. You receive a CD for Linux with the book, which will help you practice whatever you read. This book is a global bestseller. However, some even go as far as calling it the best book on hacking.

2. Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defense

Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defense

Author: Michael T. Simpson, Nicholas Antil
Last Edition: 19 October 2005
Publisher: Course Technology Inc
Level: Beginner

Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defense is a great resource to build your foundation for ethical hacking. This book is very easy to read and does not bombard the reader with the practical implementation of techniques.

The Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defense deal with theoretical explanations of the concepts, with limited practical application. The book walks you through several key concepts like mobile security, security testing, and penetration testing techniques. Linux and Backtracks Linux are also discussed. The diversity of topics makes it one of the best ethical hacking books. Also, if you do make up your mind to get this book, make sure to get the latest edition.

3. The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws

The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws by [Dafydd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto]

Author: Daffyd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto
Last Edition: 13 August 2011 (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley
Level: Beginner

The name says it all. The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook details step-by-step techniques for attacking and defending web applications. Web applications are the entry point to almost all organizations. When attackers target them, organizations lose their pertinent information and transaction history. Considering its 480 pages, the book is enormous yet beginner-friendly. So, anyone with any beginner to intermediate level of knowledge can make the most of this book.

The second edition of The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook is available. Ensure you buy the latest edition, as it introduces several new concepts that were missing in the previous edition.

4. The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing

The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing

Author: Patrick Engebretson
Last Edition: 12 September 2013 (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Syngress
Level: Beginner

The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing is one of the best books for learning penetration testing from scratch. In a step-by-step manner, it details all the tools required to complete penetration testing. The examples and exercises at the end of each chapter would help you learn how to interpret results. More importantly, the tools covered include BackTrack and Kali Linux, Nmap, Social-Engineer Toolkit, netcat, and many more.

5. Black Hat Python

Black Hat PythonAuthor: Justin Seitz
Last Edition: 30 December 2014 (1st Edition)
Publisher: O′Reilly
Level: Beginner

Black Hat Python book explores the darker side of Python. This book is a successor to Gray Hat Hacking by the same author. To extract the most out of this book, you require a basic knowledge of Python. Moreover, the concepts discussed include manipulating packets, writing network sniffers, infecting virtual machines, creating stealthy Trojans, and more.

The book focuses on how to write practical hacking tools using Python 2. You will also learn how to create a Trojan command using GitHub. Most importantly, the author uses an easy-to-understand approach to hacking.

The major drawback is that it’s a bit outdated. Several Kali Linux and Python updates have come out since the book was written. However, the book still is a valuable resource for beginners.

6. Penetration Testing

Penetration Testing

Author: Georgia Weidman
Last Edition: 14 June 2014 (1st edition)
Publisher: No Starch Press
Level: Intermediate to expert

The book is all about pen-testing. If you’re looking to make a career as a pentester, this book is a must-read.  It introduces the reader to the core skills required to be a successful pen tester. The book carries invaluable information on multiple but relevant topics. This includes cracking passwords, testing web applications for vulnerabilities, automating social engineering attacks, and bypassing antivirus software.

Penetration Testing by Georgia Weidman sheds some light on how to use tools like Metasploit, Nessus, Maltego, Aircrack-ng, and many more. The hands-on approach employed by the author is also admirable. While some of the concepts in the book might feel a bit outdated, this book is still one of the best introductions to Penetration Testing. That’s why it makes it to our list of the best ethical hacking books out there.

7. The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications

The Tangled WebAuthor: Michal Zalewski
Last Edition:
 15 November 2011 (1st edition)
Publisher: 
No Starch Press
Level:
Intermediate

The Tangled Web is a fascinating read. It walks you through basic concepts, such as how the Internet works, vulnerable data, and how hacking exploits it. It is an excellent overview of the mess that modern browser security is. The author also offers solutions to all the security issues.

Zalewski uses an informal and, at times, humorous tone, which makes it a fun read. You wouldn’t even realize you are reading something so technical. Some of the topics discussed in the book include Strict Transport Security, Content Security Policy, and Cross-Origin Resource Sharing. Security Engineering Cheat Sheets provided at the end of each chapter offer readymade solutions to some of the most likely questions.

8. Exploiting Software: How to Break Code

Exploiting Software: How to Break Code

Author: Greg Hoglund, Gary McGraw
Last Edition:
 11 March 2004 (1st edition)
Publisher: 
Addison-Wesley
Level:
Intermediate

Exploiting Software is an intermediate-level book. You must possess a basic understanding of the software to understand the content discussed in the book. The book reveals why software issues are a significant concern for cybersecurity. One of the distinguishing features of the book is its emphasis on ‘attack patterns’.

It is also an excellent reference for reverse engineering for coders with a basic understanding of reverse engineering. The focus is raising awareness on how ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ hackers think. This is similar to a police personnel learning how a criminal mind works.

9. Advanced Penetration Testing

Advanced Penetration Testing

Author: Wil Allsopp
Last Edition:
14 April 2017 (1st edition)
Publisher: 
Wiley
Level:
Expert

The book Advanced Penetration Testing helps to build a better defense against professional attacks. Beginners would find the book mostly irrelevant, as it is strictly for programmers looking to up their hacking skills. The author explains different ways to get to desired targets using various attack patterns. The book is full of code examples for better understanding.

Get ready to explore an array of scanning tools and standard library applications in C, Java, JavaScript, etc. The author also goes well beyond Kali Linux and Metasploit to provide a complex, highly realistic attack simulation.

10. Hacking the Hacker: Learn from the Experts Who Take Down Hackers

Hacking the Hacker: Learn From The Experts Who Take Down Hackers

Author: Roger A. Grimes
Last Edition:
7 July 2017 (1st edition)
Publisher: 
Wiley
Level: 
Beginner

Hacking the Hacker compiles the experiences of 26 of the world’s best white hat hackers, writers, and readers. Ethical Hackers protect organizations from cyber threats. This book is designed as an introduction to the world of hacking, making it ideal for starters.

The book isn’t heavy on technical jargon, which makes it easy to read. It rather tries to intrigue the reader into the world of hacking. That’s another reason why we ranked it among the leading ethical hacking books currently on the market.

Buy the Best Ethical Hacking Book

S.No Best Ethical Hacking Books Buy Now
1 Hacking: The Art of Exploitation Details
2 Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defense Details
3 The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws Details
4 The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing Details
5 Black Hat Python Details
6 Penetration Testing Details
7 The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications Details
8 Exploiting Software: How to Break Code Details
9 Advanced Penetration Testing Details
10 Hacking the Hacker: Learn From The Experts Who Take Down Hackers Details

Conclusion

As a field, cybersecurity is large and multi-faceted. Opportunities in this field are endless for a qualified professional. If you are looking to join this industry, finding the best ethical hacking books is advisable. This list provides some of the best books written on the subject, and you can find something useful even if you already have an intermediate knowledge of the subject.

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