Ok, since a lot of newbies are asking general questions like always I'm gonna try to make a list of things everybody should know as a foundation to becoming a hacker. jon did a good job of this already, I'm jus gonna try to go into more detail about the basic knowledge you should have. Consider it to be somethin like elementary school. Hacking 101. whatever you wanna call it. I challenge every newbie here to read up on this stuff by themselves and then ask specific question about things if they don't understand. You can use this kinda of like "teach yourself hacking in 4 weeks" take each topic and learn about it for a week, don't wander of the trail to something else. If you do this you could be very well on your way to becoming a hacker in a month. Just use the time you spend playing Counter Strike or whatever it is you are playing and read about some of this shit.

The 4 Categories:
When I started out I devided everything I have to learn in categories and got information on each one of them. This is the stage where you will learn the most and knowing this stuff is a must.

1. Operating Systems.

Learn the different operating systems out there. These can further be divided into smaller categories. You should at least know your way around in each one of them.

---1.1 Windows/NT: all of you should be familiar with this one. Learn windows and learn NT and how it works and it's strenght and weaknesses. Get a book on NT, even a "dummies guide to" book. Then, after you learn the OS, go into the security acpect a little more. A good document everybody should read is "The NT warcod" by neonsurge and the Rhino9 team.

---1.2 Unix/Linux: There's a lot to learn here. Again, I suggest to get a book to start you of like the dummies guide to linux. The best would be to buy a linux distribution like mandrake which is easy to install and try things out yourself. I think linux is a must for every self respecting hacker.


2. Networking/ TCP/IP: If you want to know how to take over network and hack computers over the internet you must first understand how networks work. TCP/IP is a very big topic, too big for most newbies to learn all at one time. A really good book for this is "TCP/IP Illustrated". Just learn the basic, so you know what you are dealing with. You will add on to your knowledge over time. Some specific topics you should know about include the physical makeup of networks (the hardware), the protocols used to transter data, what packets are, how one computer find another one on the internet, Local area networks, and there are many more. Once you get into it you will figure out what you have to know for yourself.

3. Security Concepts: Now that you know a little about how computers work and how the internet and other networks operate you can dip into the whole security aspects of it. I say security and not hacking because in order to crack a server you must first understand the mechanisms that are put in place to prevent you from doing this. Read books and articles about passwords, firewalls, Intrusion detection systems, etc. A good read for newbies would be "Hacking Exposed". It will show you a lot of vulnerabilities of various systems and how to fix them. This is the point in which you can start going to sites like securityfocus.com, secuiteam.com, and packetstormsecuriy.org and start reading about exploits and vulnerabilites.

4. Programming: I don't expect you to learn a programming language rite away but you have to be aware of the main concepts. Learn about some of the different languages and learn how to use compilers and interpreters. It would be optimal if you learn to at least read a programming language so you can begin to understand where all these vulnerabilities come from and how you can use them to your advantage. This is a topic that you can learn for years and once you start programming even spend your life on. Let me tell you one thing though, there is nothing more rewarding then finding that last bug in ur code after hours of work and finally compiling that program you create and seeing it work. It's just something beautiful.

where you go from here is your own choice. Some people will realize that there is too much learning involved and jus forget about this whole thing. But once you get a taste for computers it is very hard to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Go along my newbie, on your journey to knowledge. May the force be with you, and may be force put a foot up your ass for asking questions that you can easily figure out yourselves.

-dak

note: I hope that maybe one of the mods can sticky this to reduce the amount of questions and inprove the quality of the board and it's members. thats all for me, peace.
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I KNOW EVERYTHING. ASK ME.