Updated by Ryan Dube on June 19, 2017.
You might be surprised to learn just how many people want to learn how to hack. The stereotype is that of the young college guy – a computer science major for sure – who spends his evenings and weekends writing up intricate hacking scripts to break into whatever computer system he can get his hands on.
The truth is that what was once a male-dominated community is fast changing into one that includes folks – men and women – from many walks of life, from many countries and with many backgrounds.
This is the natural evolution of such communities – but when searching for places to go online to learn how to hack, it’s important to remember that because demographics and the world itself is changing, what you’ll find at most of the hacker websites are also changing significantly as well. Platforms in use are shifting from computer-based to more mobile and tablet hacking efforts, there’s much greater emphasis on social networks and the many hacks that are possible there, and all of the other new technologies and hacker tools available. The sites that keep up with these changing times will survive, while those that are stuck in the decades-old mentality of hackerdom-gone-by are doomed to fail.
Where You Can Go To Learn How To Hack Like a Pro
There’s a caveat that I have to share before diving into these sites. Hacking isn’t a single subject that anyone can pick up overnight. In the title of this article, I mention hacking like a pro. This can not be accomplished after reading one article and visiting a few of these sites – the phrase is used to imply that in time and with lots of practice, you can in fact learn to hack like a pro.
For our many readers that are already at that expert-hacker level, a few of these sites may not be for you. They may feel too simple and basic – for “script-kiddies” as some might say. The truth is, we all had to start somewhere, and these websites are offered as a starting point for those people just embarking down the wrote toward hackerdom.
Your intention for learning how to hack is completely your own. I do not judge. However, it should be noted that there are two forms of hacking – “white hat” and “black hat”. White hat hackers call themselves “ethical hackers”, in that they find vulnerabilities simply to make systems and applications more secure for everyone. However, there’s a whole other community of hackers – the black hats – who find vulnerabilities only to exploit them as much as possible. Now that you know what sort of community you may be entering, let’s get on with the list of top sites where you can learn to hack.
Sometimes, perfect English isn’t everything. Hacking Tutorial is an example of when the writing skill of the author doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality of his or her technical knowledge. This is actually the case over at Hacking Tutorial, where the author offers articles like “Client Side Attack Using Adobe PDF Escape EXE Social Engineering”, “Exploiting MS11_003 Internet Explorer Vulnerability”, and “Hacking Using BeeF XSS Framework”.
The articles are usually short, but actually offer highly technical, step-by-step instructions on how to do the task at hand, and the tricks and tweets absolutely work, unless the exploit has been patched. It’s a small blog, but it’s a good one for the volume of technical tricks that you’ll find there.
While the name, EvilZone, isn’t exactly the most inviting – it is easily one of the largest forum communities that you’ll find on the subject of hacking. With over 13,042 members and over 50,000 posts (and counting), this community likely has the skills and knowledge to answer any programming question you could possibly have. Just be careful about coming across as a “noob” – these guys don’t handle newcomers with kid gloves, so be careful.
You’d definitely be best off working through the programming and encyclopedia sections first, where you’ll find areas with projects, tutorials and a lot more that will help you become educated and well-versed in hacking techniques and terminology.
While I certainly don’t want to offer a nod to any blogs that may be considered competition, you really have to give credit where credit is due when it comes to a particular niche like hacking – and Hack a Day definitely offers an amazing library of information for anyone looking for specific categories like cellphones, GPS or digital cameras. Over the years, Hack A Day has transformed the site into a fairly popular blog.
More than any other site, this particular “hacking” site is very much hardware based, and they redefine the meaning of the word hacking by helping you learn how to hack up electronic devices like a Gameboy or a digital camera and completely modifying it, or building electronics for the sole purpose of hacking other commercial devices. You’ll also find a popular and busy forum section as well – a high point of the site.
While I personally don’t find the articles themselves very detailed (as an EE, I like schematics and elaborate descriptions), the site makes up for it with video demonstrations throughout.
Hack In The Box has really change significantly through the years. It is rebranded as HITB, and the site is completely transformed into what looks like a WordPressed-based platform. Still, today Hack In The Box remains focused on security and ethical hacking. However, it has obviously shifted gears at some point and changed to a more content-focused approach with a greater volume of news, and fewer in-depth articles with detailed hacks.
This transition makes it less of a place to go for actually technical hacking tips, and more of a daily spot to get your latest fix of hacking news. The site is updated frequently, and of course you can also go for the print version of the HITB-branded magazine if you want.
Clearly, HITB has gone very commercialized, but it is a great resource for news for anyone interested in the latest gossip throughout the hacking community.
As always, saving the best for last – I’d like to introduce Hack This Site! This website is one of the coolest, free programmer training sites where you can learn how to hack accepting one of the challenges along the left navigation pane of the main page.
The site designers offer various “missions,” where you need to figure out the vulnerability of a site and then attempt to use your new-found hacking skills (you’ve carefully studied all of the articles on the site, right?) to hack the web page. Missions include Basic, Realistic, Application, Programming and many others.
If you’re able to figure out how to properly hack any of the most difficult missions on this site, then you’ve definitely earned the title of professional hacker.
Have you ever tried any of the tips offered at any of these websites and do they work? Do you have any good resources of your own for readers to learn how to hack like the pros?
Share your insight in the comments section below.