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All information current as of 01:13:43 Pacific Time, Tuesday, 22 February 2005.

The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking

   by Ankit Fadia

    Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
    02 February, 2002


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Editorial description(s):

From Library Journal
"Ethical hacking" may seem like an oxymoron, but to 17-year-old Indian high school student Fadia, it's a way of life. This book extends his Hacking Truths site (, describing hackers as computer experts who do break into systems but refrain from causing damage. From password cracking to finding hacking utilities online, the ideas here will help intermediate to advanced readers protect their own systems and resolve situations ranging from lost passwords to viruses. While the writing is somewhat awkward, Fadia's voice and perspective shine through. Recommended for larger libraries.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Book News, Inc.
Offering a counterpoint to the common view of hackers as criminals, 16-year-old Fadia encourages a new wave of helpful hackers who break into systems purely for the scientific challenge, leaving files and systems unscathed and offering security pointers to system administrators. The results of Fadia's experiments are published here, with step-by-step hacks for Windows, Linux, and DOS, and information on firewalls, viruses and mail bombs for hackers, programmers, system administrators or anyone interested in making their computer system more (or less) secure. Though young, Fadia is a hacking authority and is founder of Hacking Truths web site.Copyright © 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Book Info
For anyone interested in finding out how your failsafe system was cracked and how you can better protect yourself, this book is a must-read. Contains helpful resources that you can reference to better protect your system from becoming the victim of attacks. Softcover.

About the Author
Ankit Fadia's Web site, "Hacking Truths," was created for a small circle of friends to whom Ankit would send out periodic hacking manuals. Today, it gets about 100,000 hits per day and his mailing list contains between 60,000-70,000 addresses. Ankit has written many tutorials on hacking and articles for several computer magazines and Web sites. He is the author of "The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking" (1931841721) from Premier Press and is co-author of "Tips and Tricks about Linux."

Excerpted from The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking by Ankit Fadia. Copyright © 2002. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
'Hacking' and 'Hackers' are terms that generally tend to have a negative effect on people. Most people straightway start associating 'Hackers' with computer criminals or people who cause harm to systems, release viruses, etc. And I do not blame them for holding such a negative opinion. You see, one tends to accept what is being fed to him. And nowadays the media has been wrongly and outrageously referring to computer criminals as 'Hackers'. They fail to recognize the fact that criminals and hackers are two totally distinct terms and are not associated with each other whatsoever. People have wrong notions and for reasons not justified at all, they have a negative attitude and utter dislike for 'Hackers' and persons associated with 'Hacking'.

The description of 'Hackers' provided by the media is nowhere near what hackers actually stand for. Hackers in reality are actually good, pleasant and extremely intelligent people, who by using their knowledge in a constructive manner help organizations to secure documents and company secrets, help the government to protect national documents of strategic importance and even sometimes help justice to meet its ends by ferreting out electronic evidence. Rather, these are the people who help to keep computer criminals on the run.

Mr. Malik works as a programmer in a Fortune 500 company. When I first presented the idea of writing a book on 'Hacking' and expressed my support towards ethical hackers, his reaction was one, of profound disbelief and resentment. He argued that teaching people to hack would only increase the incidence of computer crimes and bluntly stated that instead, more laws against hacking (well, actually cracking) should be introduced. He believed that I was crazy and said that he was against my site and book. Well, his strong and blunt opinions are petty much understandable as he was once cheated of his Internet hours, and since then his thoughts about hackers have been quite . . . well, let me put it lightly in a single word: 'Unpleasant'.

Since the time the ape shed his hair and stood upright, man has been utilizing those objects which could cause harm to other humans to protect him when the need arises. The invention of the nuclear bomb or weapons as simple as knives immediately come to mind when one thinks of typical examples.

One evening, I was watching a TV program on vaccines and how they have been such a boon to the human race. The discovery of vaccines has been the greatest thing that could have happened in the medical world. Vaccines have helped to save millions of lives. But what struck me most was the description on how they actually work. Vaccination is like fighting evil with evil for positive gains.

The biggest problem that NASA and its team of engineers faced in all its space missions is that of disposing human wastes and providing and storing pure drinking water for the crew aboard. A young biologist suggested, 'Human wastes be converted into pure drinking water by passing it through advanced chemical processes.' At first, his colleagues had been dismissive of this rather strange idea. However, later after some detailed and animated discussions, they concluded that using the negative non-useful elements to get something good and useful was their best bet.

History has shown that to eradicate or to protect against harmful elements, one needs to get some of these harmful elements onto his side and only then declare war. Let me assure you that history does and will repeat itself.

All the laws in the world cannot and will not discourage computer criminals. Crackers are getting real smart these days and it is becoming increasingly easier for them to break into a system, create havoc and escape without leaving any trace behind. Laws are absolutely useless w hen system administrators themselves are becoming ignorant of computer security and are dismissing all hackers as people belonging to the dark side of society. It has become absolutely necessary to teach people as to how crackers work, how cracking is executed and how to protect computer systems from crackers. If this is not done soon, then the crackers will get way ahead in the security race. And we really don't want this to happen, do we?

Wouldn't Mr. Malik have been able to protect his Internet account (and have a better opinion about hackers) if he had been more aware of how computer criminals work. If we were able to learn and understand how someone can break into our system, then wouldn't we have ensured that the security loophole is fixed even before the cracker strikes. Right? All I want to say is that instead of being resentful and afraid of fire, it would be much better, if we learn to live with fire and fight fire with fire itself.

Book Description
The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking is much more than a guide to hacking. For anyone interested in finding out how your fail-safe system was cracked and how you can better protect yourself, this book is a must-read. It contains helpful resources that you can reference to better protect your system from becoming the victim of attacks. It also includes discussion on the nature of file encryption, firewalls, and viruses and shows how users can make their systems more secure.

Reader review(s):

Very Impressive!, April 7, 2002
Even after spending 6 years in the security field this kid did not fail to leave an impact on me. I am thoroughly impressed by his effort and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the author for his work.

The Unofficial Guide to ethical hacking is a huge book consisting of 7 hundred pages. It starts off with the author clarifying the stand of hackers and crackers and goes onto the first thing that a person would see as soon as he switches his system on: The Operating System. This section describes and discusses the core of the system, changing the core of system, changing the entire OS to make it work your own, the Registry and hex editing the various system files etc etc. This chapter also has a very interesting section on various fun tips and tricks that one can play on others. The section that was of great use to me was the section on Privacy on the Internet, which explained how to remain anonymous on the net and not leave behind any tracks. Another main attraction of this first chapter is the Untold tips and tricks.

Next the author moves onto the various Protocols & small networking concepts like HTTP, POP, Telnet, Ports, coding your own sockets, port scanning, writing your own port scanner etc etc which are essential for every beginner to come onto the right track and also important for every expert to refresh his\her memory. This chapter also has very interesting sections like "Hacking into Routers", "Coding your own Keylogger", "Writing HTA Applications", How to study email headers to prevent spam, ping, traceroute etc etc.

The best chapter without any doubt is the chapter titled: Getting Past the Password. In this chapter the author has discussed in great detail, as to how one can bypass\crack all\any kind of passwords that they come across: Windows login Password, Internet connection Password, HTTP Password, UNIX Password file, \etc\passwd,ICQ Password, File Sharing Passwords, NT Password, Netzero Passwords,BIOS Passwords, Cisco Router Passwords, DES Algorithms and Screen Saver Passwords, and any other password that one comes across on a network. The chapter also has an exhaustive listings of around 1000 default passwords which work on varoius OS's and daemons. Other key sections include XOR Encryption, Cryptography, Number Systems etc. Lots of code has also been included.

Another favorite chapter of mine is the chapter on Networking. It discusses all of the following topics in amazingly simple but more importantly in an exhaustive manner: Port Scanning, IP Spoofing, DNS Spoofing, DOS Attacks, TCP\UDP, the TCP/IP Protocol Suite. Distributed DOS Attacks. It portrays networking in a very simplied easy to comprehend manner. Again lots of source code has been included. One can never not learn networking from this chapter.

Although I do not have much interest in Viruses, however in the later stages of the book the author has also covered in excrutiating detail about Viruses: How to Code them?, How to fight viruses and how they work. I liked the idea that one needs to know how a virus is coded and how it works to be able to fight them.

Another interesting feature of this book is that it covers the basics of C and Perl programing languages, which are indispensable for any computer guy.

Finally in the appendix list, the book talks about how to remove irritating banners from free web servers, killing operating systems, removing traces from log files and lots more.

However, one suggestion that I would like to give to the author is that he should cover a bit more on Networking, if he plans to release another edition or update to this book. I love Networking and I am sure that there are millions of other readers who love networking too and would like to learn more like me.

Athough I am not able to recall the other sections right now, but to recapitualte I would describe the book in just one word:


Official guide to waste your money!, April 26, 2004
This book is a waste of your hard earned money, because if you need scripts that don't work and doesn't help you at all in hacking or protecting yourself from a cracker, you can just get millions of those from the Internet for free. You don't have to pay a 14 year old kid to compile it and give it to you for US$49!

I bought this book because it had a very interesting title. I regret my decision of buying this book as there is nothing in it that can be used and it's taking up the space in my bookshelf. Maybe, I will throw this book or give it to someone (some people those who never say no to free things).

You don't have to pay US$ 49 for a book that has nothing but freely available scripts copied and pasted from the Internet.

As rightly mentioned in one of the reviews here, it's a waste of money, ink, paper, and time. You will end up throwing this book in a bin with learning only one thing how to be a bit smarter before buying a book that has an interesting title.


Already returned the book, April 4, 2002
This book is awful. There are typos everywhere and some of the paths in the registry that he refers to are incorrect. After reading the book for only one day, I have returned it. Most of the information is available on the Internet with little searching. Also, as Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 95, the author should look for a more current operating system. This book it is sloopily put together as well as dated.

This book should never have been published..., April 3, 2002
I was amazed when I finished scanning this book today. Quite frankly, I can't imagine why it was ever published! Aside from the fact that it was published this year (2002), and aside from the fact that the author appears to have used a Windows 95 machine to do his tinkering (I won't even give the author the respect of using the word "hacking"), this book is riddled with misinformation, inconsistencies, and uncommented source code (which incidentally only compiles, according to the author, on a version of *nix that very few people use). Any hobbyist with more than one year of experience knows AT LEAST what's covered in this book, and they probably don't even realize it! This book doesn't cover ANY of the new operating systems, doesn't take into account ANY basic security precautions that have been in use for a couple years now, and does the reader a disservice by trying to explain (poorly) what "hacker" and "cracker" means (clearly the author was trying to impress his friends with his knowledge of jargon). There are MANY more useful tomes on the market; don't waste your money on this book! The single most useful piece of information this book contains is a single page where the URLs to SART and (I believe) CERT can be found!

Junk, April 2, 2002
This book is basically a word for word copy from freely avaliable online documents and other books. The author fails to mention the documents that he uses as sources for his factual information. The worst part is, some of the sources the author used were unreliable themselves. Talking about libnet like it is a program just shows how inexperienced the author is in the subject he is writing about. How could one possibly write a technical book about something they don't know much about. As for the ethical part, there is hardly anything ethical about breaking into other systems. If you want to know how the hackers really get in, get hacking exposed. Hacking Exposed pulls no punches on describing how it is actually done. Spend your money on better things.

Appalling, March 30, 2002
This book is appalling. I have the Indian version and it is sloopily put together as well as dated. In addition, it is hardly ethical in any sense of the word when the author suggests that you use your ISP to hack.

In addition, I have found script references in the book that are not written by the author and yet he doesn't identify this fact. He leaves them as if he wrote them. Further some chapters are nothing more than just a cut and paste from existing websites that are not the author's work.

If I was the publisher, I would be looking more deeply into this author's credibility. If you are serious about security, get a book like ... If you just want to be a script kiddie, this will do you fine.

Theory of Relativity For Hacking, January 10, 2003
Individuals who hack are subject to the same societal roadblocks as other aspects of life. There is always somebody who is smarter, stronger, more experienced, or with more resources.
While I can understand where those who have professional training and experience in computer security might be inclined to dismiss this book, clearly it's subjective to the reader's
personal curiosity into the subject of hacking. Furthermore, the reader level for the book is indicated on the cover as beginner to intermediate.
Anyone who knows the keywords and specific subjects of hacking may be able to access all this information and more through search engines, however, it is unlikely that most novices would want to spend the time seeking out all this information (especially if limited by internet access time).
Mr.Fadia gives a systematic explanation of various tools that hackers use and how they work. This presentation allows the reader to understand what is involved in hacking instead of just receiving instructions. (as so many hacking and security books do). He also offers other sources of information on various topics throughout the book to further enlighten the reader.
On a subject that is constantly evolving on almost a daily basis, no book could possibly offer everything to everyone, (that's why there are so many on this subject) but this book is as good an introduction as most into this subject.

Man that was dissapointing, June 5, 2002
I read a couple of other hacking books, like Hacking Exposed and Hackers Guide. When reading this book I noticed it looks a whole lot like the guides to harmless hacking, which are available on the web for free. ...Don't be surprised when you're reading a chapter and suddenly the author gives you some "sample code" which turns out to be a program of about 12 pages, what was he thinking? That people are gonna retype it all? Why not just distribute the source over the internet. It also contains lots of typo's and technical mistakes.
But most important, the information in this book doesn't take you an inch further if you've read a couple of texts on the web, unless you really want to know how you can change your windows startup logo.
Also what bothers me, the books should be about ethical hacking, but the author discusses all kinds of destructive things, things that can only be used to create havoc, at his website he even has a tutorial on how to deface websites (not that it would help anyone because it is hopelessly outdated)
If you really want to learn how to check a website's security, and don't care about changing the way your windows 95 looks, maybe you should read Hacking Exposed instead. The Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking isn't worth the money by far, just get some texts of the web for free and you'll have the same information, 90% of the time even better written.

Recommended, April 4, 2002
This is book is a mixture of good and bad points. First the good points:

1. it is great book for beginners and the author uses great language to teach the readers.
2. great coverage on password cracking, networking and virii. (Although a bit unethical, but still very interesting)
3. Excellent Windows inside registry tips and tricks.
4. Comprehensive and fairly easy to comprehend.
5. A Whooping 750 pages of must read stuff.

Negative Aspects:

1.Is strictly meant for beginners and medium level readers. (Heard that author is planning a sequel, maybe that is for advanced users like me...hehehe)
2. Cryptography not discussed in detail.

Overall, I do think that this book deserves a reading: Recommended!!!

Official guide to Unethical copy and paste (plagarism), March 24, 2004
How can anybody turn up pure garbage like this in the form of a book, and claim to be any sort of security expert. Just as the book, this guy is a sham. The only positive reviews on this site would be those doctored by the author himself.

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