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Hacking For Dummies Paperback – Apr 30 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (April 30 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076455784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764557842
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,689,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


“…a good read…a price well-worth paying, because such works are invaluable…” (InfoSecurity News Magazine, August 2004)

“…an excellent aide…” (PC Home, August 2004)

“…should be of interest to both ethical and malicious hackers…” (Publishing News, 22nd March 2004)

From the Back Cover

Find out if your system is vulnerable to hack attacks!

"The coverage of security topics in this book can help you avoid a hack attack."
— Stuart McClure

"To catch a thief, think like a thief." Here’s the guide that will help you do just that! It shows you how to become a "white hat hacker," exploring your own system for vulnerabilities the unscrupulous hacker could exploit. And it’s loaded with tips, suggestions, and recommendations to help you plug any holes you find.

The Dummies Way

  • Explanations in plain English
  • "Get in, get out" information
  • Icons and other navigational aids
  • Tear-out cheat sheet
  • Top ten lists
  • A dash of humor and fun

Discover how to:

  • Recognize and counter common hack attacks
  • Gain support for your security plan
  • Test the security of Windows®, Linux®, NetWare®, and more
  • Report your finds to upper management
  • Protect your network infrastructure

See all Product Description

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I thought this book did a good job of explaining how hackers operate and what I can do to stop them. I also thought the case studies were very interesting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb2545990) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb3738a98) out of 5 stars Good Place to Get Started Jan. 29 2005
By John Matlock - Published on
Format: Paperback
I used to wonder why anyone would want to break into my computer, there's not much there of any interest. Even I don't find it all that interesting. Then one day I was puzzled when my ISP asked why my machine was putting out millions of bytes of stuff to the point where it was bogging down their T1 line. I didn't know. We unpluged the machine from the network and it stopped sending. We plugged it back in and it wasn't sending. But the next day it was.

It wasn't until we got an e-mail telling us to stop sending out copyrighted movies that we realized what had happened. It wasn't anything in my computer they wanted, it was the bandwidth. Knowing what to look for it wasn't all that hard to stop. Google quickly provided links on this problem.

This book is aimed at people just like me. It gives an overall, if fairly light, view of the overall security problem. Like the other For Dummies books it has a writing style that doesn't (quite) put you to sleep. It has enough humor to enable you to get through it. It won't make you an expert, but it will point out the problem areas so that you can go deeper into those that are important to you. It's a good introduction.
56 of 67 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb6df8a50) out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to hacking for beginners Sept. 3 2004
By Ben Rothke - Published on
Format: Paperback
The media often mistakenly characterize hackers as bored technical geniuses. In truth, most hackers, as the media use the term, are not geniuses; they are simply adept at downloading hacking tools that do all of the dirty work for them. These so-called script kiddies often do not know what they are doing until the damage is done.

From the perspective of the victimized company, however, it's not really important who is doing the attacking; all that matters is how organizations can protect themselves from myriad attacks and tools. Hacking for Dummies is written on the premise that to catch a hacker, you have to think and behave like one. This is a well-written and engrossing book that helps the reader understand how hackers compromise computer systems and networks. Its clear, easy-to-read style won't intimidate readers unfamiliar with abstruse security terms and concepts.

The 19 chapters progress from the basics of security to the hardening of an operating system and the hacking of Web applications. While the reader is not expected to have a deep technical background, the book does go into some detail, as it must to provide a hands-on approach. For a high-level theoretical approach to network defense, look elsewhere. This is a down-and-dirty tool for ensuring that the organization's systems and network are secure.
96 of 118 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb308b21c) out of 5 stars Very Limited Jan. 5 2005
By Alan Mead - Published on
Format: Paperback
Update (11/2008): My review below is based on the first (2004) edition. In a comment, the author calls the second, 2006 edition substantially different. So, I reviewed the 2006 edition table of contents, except, and index available on amazon. The excerpt and table of contents did not seem substantially different to me. The primary substantive change in the excerpt (Chapter 1) are the bits about the "rogue insider"; much of the writing is word-for-word identical to the 2004 edition. Maybe the other chapters are "substantially" reworked (the index suggests many changes) but the chapters' titles, order and lengths are not much different in the 2006 edition.

This book should be titled "penetration testing" with the subtitle "without any actual information on how to go about penetration testing, per se".

There are two schools of thought about disseminating detailed information on exploiting security vulnerabilities (that "it's a necessary evil" and "it's immoral"). So, the author is in good company to be in the later group.

Only, why then WRITE A BOOK entitled "Hacking"? The title seems close to fraudulent to me. Anyone hoping to find out how to crack from this book is going to be sorely disappointed. For example, while password cracking is passably well-covered, there isn't even a mention of how crackers get their hands on password files. The author spends only two paragraphs and a few bullets on rootkits--treating them like viruses or worms--despite the fact that they are critical cracker tools. There is a lot of discussion of portscanning without any discussion of how to penetrate the systems you've scanned.

So, you say, "Who cares about would-be criminals!?" Ok, but this book is not going to provide much real value to would-be white-hats either. You will find very little concrete advice on penetrating client systems from this book. However, the book does have quite a bit of advice and a number of tips about setting-up the gig (e.g., "Agree in writing"), general issues (e.g., "Don't test production systems during business hours."), and how to write the report (e.g., "prioritize vulnerabilities").

Actual admins will find very, very little of value. The "Plugging security holes" chapter is only five pages long! The tips sprinkled around are often poor or abstract (or common sense). The book provides little information on how attacks will occur. And it's quite marginal in describing the hacker psyche.

The book is full of links to software. But then so is Google and this book won't help much in choosing between most of them (i.e., my favorite tools were barely mentioned :).

I did (finally) identify a group who might benefit from this book: people who HIRE penetration testers--by educating you about how the process works. (Without giving away any of the trade secrets that might allow you to be self-sufficient!) It might also be a broad (shallow) introduction for the complete novice to security in abstract.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2a63f54) out of 5 stars A great easy to read introduction to ehical hacking Sept. 10 2011
By Mike Tremblay, CISSP, GCIH - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I actually got to read this book for free online via work. However, I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy so that I could try some of the tools out on my home network. (Word of warning: Be careful if you use these tools even on your home network, I use a separate set of computers that are isolated from the internet and that I don't mind reloading from scratch if things go wrong.) I have liked most of the Dummies series of books that I've read as they're extremely easy reading and lay a good foundation on the subject most of the time and this one was no different. You're not going to become a hacking expert reading this and it doesn't really cover programming or get very technical. What it does is give you a great overview of hacking methodologies and introduce you to a lot of the basic tools used such as nmap, superscan, metasploit, netcat, etc. It covers a lot of the major subjects such as social engineering, physical security, OS vulnerabilites, wireless vulnerabilities, and different types of attacks as well as basic countermeasures that can be taken to help protect your networks. There's also a section on how to get the all important management buy in, if you're tasked with implementing any type of security at work then this is very important. At the back is a great appendix of tools and resources which is another reason I bought this book, it can serve as a great reference.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb23f8c18) out of 5 stars Great easy-to-understand quick references July 9 2006
By Rebecca - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a great, easy to read and use reference for both non-technical business leaders as well as IT professionals. It is also a great resource for home computer users, and small- to medium-sized businesses who often do not have the resources to hire dedicated security staff. The book covers the entire spectrum of ways in which computer systems can be compromised and attacked, an easy-to-understand description of how the exploits are executed, and, usually lacking in other reference books on this topic, step-by-step instructions for not only how to identify when the hacks occur, but also how to defend against them. Kevin Beaver also includes some very important warnings you need to keep in mind when performing your own vulnerability and hacking tests against your own network and systems to discover your own technical weaknesses.