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7 Best Books to Master the Art of Ethical Hacking

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Are you looking for an excellent book to acquaint yourself with powerful ethical hacking skills? Here are some great ones you can opt for to gain knowledge and accelerate your career in ethical hacking. 

As the digital world expands at a rapid rate, it brings along hundreds of unidentified risks that put the security of data- not only of common internet users but also those of all large organizations at stake.

Today, every piece of information you share online, be it- personal identities, bank information, and so on, can be misused if cybercriminals succeed in stealing it. But can they do so? By hacking or breaking into the systems or servers where this information resides. 


Hacking is getting access to confidential data that professionals have discreetly kept. When programmers make mistakes, the system becomes vulnerable, and hackers take advantage of these flaws to break into the system. Hacking is a serious offense carried out by black hat hackers who can use the data for several unethical activities.

To prevent such hacking attempts, organizations and government companies hire ethical hackers who leverage ethical hacking methods to identify loopholes in computer systems/networks and come up with countermeasures to strengthen these weaknesses.

This type of hacking is carried out to defend the network or websites from viruses and dangerous, unethical hacking practices.  

Professional, ethical hackers can restore a broken system’s security and find the culprit with their skills and knowledge. So ethical hacking, as you can infer, is quite a compelling career option.  

Importance of Ethical Hacking


Ethical hackers serve several purposes in organizations to help strengthen their security measures and prevent any situation of crisis. Ethical hacking is crucial in three ways:

  • It lets you identify every weak point in your network so you can patch it immediately before hackers or criminals exploit it. 
  • They implement robust security measures and develop tools to eliminate system vulnerabilities. 
  • Additionally, it aids in educating staff members on cybersecurity issues so they don’t fall victim to other types of attacks like phishing.

To put it another way, ethical hackers enter the system and ensure all of the company’s data is secure. As a result of this precautionary measure, firms can prevent themselves from exposing important data to hackers.

Ethical Hacking vs. Penetration Testing: What are the differences?

Penetration testing and ethical hacking are fundamentally different from one another. Some differences are as follows:

  • Most penetration testing is brief and time-limited. In contrast, ethical hackers are given more time to test and provide results.
  • Ethical hackers must sign legal documents before they can start testing. Penetration testers must complete a minimal amount of legal paperwork.
  • An ethical hacker needs significantly more knowledge than a pen tester, which must be familiar with the region they are conducting a pen test on.
  • A pen tester needs access only to the system on which they need to perform penetration testing. On the other hand, an ethical hacker needs access to the complete network to do their job.

Why Should One Learn Ethical Hacking?


 Ethical Hacking is an adventurous and lucrative career option out there. Here are some solid reasons why ethical hacking skills are a must-have. 

Recognize a hacker’s mindset

A black hat hacker is the main threat to an organization’s security, so understanding their methods of operation enables defenders to recognize prospective threats. In reality, a network cannot be completely free of attacks. However, with ethical hacking, cyber security professionals can diminish the impact of the possible threat and allocate constrained resources to lower the likelihood of an attack being successful.

Assists with the development and quality control

When developing a new product, developers typically forego security testing due to time restraints, leaving the program vulnerable to theft and hacking. But if an ethical hacker is on board, the security testing can be performed swiftly, effectively, and thoroughly using the best techniques available.

Pays Well 

The median wage for those working in cyber security is significantly higher than for those working in other IT fields. This is for the straightforward reason that the growth and longevity of the business depend on safeguarding online data against cyberattacks.

Bounty Programs

Several tech giants like Amazon and Meta have bounty programs where if any hacker around the world succeeds in identifying a bug or can hack the network, the company rewards them handsomely.  

If you are willing to gain knowledge about ethical hacking or are planning to make a career in the same field, here is a rundown of the best ethical hacking books that can offer valuable help.

But before we begin, let’s spare a moment to remind you that ethical hacking is performed only after the organization’s permission. Otherwise, it becomes unethical and sometimes can be a serious offense under cyber security laws. 

Hacking: The Art of Exploitation

In his book, Hacking: The Art of Exploitation, Jon Erikson intelligibly shares the art and science of hacking in such a way that everyone can understand it. 

The book discusses the fundamentals of C programming from a hacker’s perspective, along with the complete picture of machine architecture, network communications, and existing hacking techniques.

The Art of Exploitation book teaches how to: 

  • Program using C and shell scripts. 
  • Corrupt the system memory to run arbitrary code 
  • Inspect processor registers and system memory with a debugger 
  • Outsmart common security measures 
  • Gain access to a remote server
  • Modify server logging behavior to hide your presence
  • Redirect network traffic, conceal open ports, hijack TCP connections, and more.

Hacking and Penetration Testing

The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing by Patrick Engebretson includes step-by-step guidelines to carry out penetration testing and perform ethical hacking. This book providing useful information to security consultants, amateur InfoSec professionals, and students,

The book offers a crystal clear explanation of how the students can deploy contemporary hacking tools to complete the penetration testing and interpret their results.

The four-step methodology to carry out penetration testing helps students comprehend the technical know-how required to jump-start their careers in ethical hacking and gain better insights into offensive security. The book covers tools like Backtrack Linux, Google reconnaissance, MetaGooFil, dig, Nmap, Nessus, and Metasploit, amongst many others. 

Ethical Hacking: Introduction

Ethical Hacking by Daniel G. Graham is a detailed guide on how to hack computer systems that help grasp modern hacking techniques, such as how to capture traffic, create or deploy trojans, execute commands remotely, and so on.

Based on the feedback given by the students, the book addresses those aspects of ethical hacking that are not often covered in other books. 

The advanced chapters of the book provide lessons on how to discover new vulnerabilities, craft trojans and rootkits, exploit websites with SQL injection, and escalate your privileges to extract credentials. The book is a sort of crash course for students aspiring to be penetration testers, security researchers, or malware analysts.

The Art of Invisibility

In his book The Art of Invisibility, Kevin Mitnick, one of the world’s famous hackers, provides real-life hacks such as easy clocking techniques, countermeasures, etc., for imparting valuable lessons to common internet users to keep themselves and their family members protected online.

Kevin throws light on how your online information is vulnerable and how it is being exploited without your knowledge or permission.

The inexpensive tactics he discusses, if properly implemented, help maximize the online privacy that you deserve in the era of the internet, where your every activity is tracked and stored, and your personal identity is at stake. 

Hands-on Hacking

Hands-on Hacking, written by Matthew Hickey, an experienced ethical hacking professional, provides a quick and practical introduction to hacking techniques that help readers comprehend real-life risks lurking in the virtual world that pose threats to your data. 

Readers will gain knowledge about the art of cyber attacks from the author’s extensive knowledge based on his experience in the hacking field and computer networks. The book takes you on an interesting journey from the hacker’s perspective that focuses mainly on the system infrastructure of the target company and explains how you can access the servers and data.

Apart from this, the book also explores topics like breaching a network from an external network parameter, finding vulnerabilities, and hacking internal enterprise systems. 

Hacking: Beginners Guide

You can study the Hacking for Beginners guide, written by Josh Thompsons, to get a better understanding of the day-to-day job of professional hackers and level up your hacking skills.

The book discusses topics like how to hack a computer, different spoofing methods, hacking mobiles and smartphones, website penetration, and other similar ones essential to step into the secretive world of ethical hacking. 

You can get familiar with the proven hacking strategies and learn to write actual code to get your hands on ethical hacking or start your career in the same field.

Apart from teaching you the fundamental hacking methodologies, the book also enlightens you to protect your identity and personal data from the prying eyes of cyberpunks. 

Learn Ethical Hacking from Scratch

Learn Ethical Hacking, written by Zaid Sabih, makes you familiar with the working of a computer system and its vulnerable aspects.

Secondly, it guides you on how to hack into the computer systems by exploiting these weaknesses, with the intent of determining the security aspects of the machines. And, not to forget, the book provides solid tips to stick by to secure your systems from potential attacks by hackers. 

It explains the elementary ethical hacking techniques and guides you on how to perform hacking safely and legally. The book also lets you explore network hacking concepts; it explains how to test the security of wired and wireless networks, crack the password of Wi-Fi networks, and spy on connected devices. 

Wrapping Up

That was a brief overview of some of the eminent books on the intriguing topic of ethical hacking. Ethical Hacking is indeed a vast topic, and the books listed above will provide enough material to broaden your intellect and give you the much-needed push required to ace the art of ethical hacking. 

You may also explore some ethical hacking courses to become a security expert.

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