Wikipedia tells us that a “computer hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem.” The all knowing one goes on to note that the term has been linked in popular parlance with the made up Wikipedia word “security hacker.” Such an individuals “uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems.”
OccupyTheWeb is a forensic investigator who runs the Hackers-Arise site, and trains government agents in information security and hacking. She seems to view hacking first sense according to Teh Wiki, as a level of skill, but as such, specific skills oriented towards controlling computer processes, access, networks, and so on. Or, at least, this is the focus of the recently published Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali by OccupTheWeb.
Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali suggests the Kali distribution and assumes you’ve installed it on your computer or in an emulator (and provides instructions for doing so) but my careful examination of the book says you will get pretty much everything out of it as you will need using any reasonable distribution. You may have to install some software as you go along, but that’s easy for a hacker like you.
But there is a reason for Kali. You probably know that Linux is a computer operating system (the most widely used in the world) and Linux comes in a wide range of “distributions” each with their own unique characteristics. The truth is that the various distributions differ very little and are mostly interchangeable, but each will be designed to be good at some set of things, or cater to some particular need, out of the box. Kali is a “penetration testing” distro, designed for hackers who are trying to be crackers. Not that kind of cracker, the other kind of cracker.
Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali serves two specific parallel purposes, and you can actually use this book for either or both. One is obviously to provide a basic introduction to the Linux tools used in hacking, and the underlying workings of the Linux operating system you would need to know to hack it. But it turns out that for the most part, these are the same things you need to know if you want to get into using Linux at any level below the GUI that sits on top of most of the distribution. After a very brief glance at the graphical desktop that comes with Kali Linux (which looks like a version of Gnome 3.5 or thereabouts) OccupyTheWeb takes you right to the command line and you stay there throughout the book. That is actually a very handy way to put together a book.
If you are using Linux and have not explored the guts of the operating system, but don’t want to spend a huge amount of time learning it, this book is an excellent introduction. If you are starting out in Computer Science and want to get up to speed quickly on Linux and Unix like operating systems, working through this book will put you well ahead of your fellow students, and quickly. Either way I recommend it. To give you an idea of what is in the book, I give you the table of contents:
Chapter 1: Getting Started with the Basics
Chapter 2: Text Manipulation
Chapter 3: Analyzing and Managing Networks
Chapter 4: Adding and Removing Software
Chapter 5: Controlling File and Directory Permissions
Chapter 6: Process Management
Chapter 7: Managing User Environment Variables
Chapter 8: Bash Scripting
Chapter 9: Compressing and Archiving
Chapter 10: Filesystem and Storage Device Management
Chapter 11: The Logging System
Chapter 12: Using and Abusing Services
Chapter 13: Security and Anonymity
Chapter 14: Wireless Networking
Chapter 15: Linux Kernel and Drivers
Chapter 16: Startup Scripts
Chapter 17: Python Scripting Basics