Dear Friend, as discussed in the HaXeZ part 1 Hack To Learn video, there are many laws associated with computer misuse that will ensure you’re punished were you violate them. This means you’re not allowed to explore the internet hacking everything you see. So how do hackers hack without getting in trouble? Well there are a number of online communities that provide digital playgrounds for hackers to level up their hacking skills. These playgrounds offer a wide variety of hacking challenges including web applications, coding challenges, forensic challenges, steganography challenges and general machine challenges.
Hack This Site
The first community that I would like to talk about is Hack This Site. Hack This Site is a website that offers a number of challenges including basic and realistic web applications. Although Hack This Site has been around for a long time, there is still a lot of valuable information to be learned. The realistic web application challenges are a lot of fun as the themes and stories surrounding them are immersive.
Hack The Box
This is by far my favourite community. Hack The Box offers a lot of challenges ranging from single machines to entire networks that can explore and compromise. There are also other challenges like on Hack This Site that include programming and other challenges. Furthermore, it has a great community, the forums are full of people nudging you on your path to success. It also has a great Discord community. Hack The Box has also launched an academy where you can get to grips with the basics before diving in. Before the academy was released I did feel that Hack The Box had one of the steepest learning curves.
VulnHub is slightly different from the previous two websites. While it does offer great machines for you to hack. It requires you to download and run the virtual machines locally rather than spinning them up in their own cloud. With that said, there are a lot of Virtual Machine that will teach you something different about hacking. Whether a vulnerability or a misconfigured service, VulnHub will have a Virtual Machine that you can attack to simulate a real world encounter.
Try Hack Me
Try Hack Me is the one that I have spent the least amount of time on. I’m hoping to change that going forward as I’ve heard great things from colleagues and friends. It too has an academy which provides a number of learning paths starting from beginner to an elite ethical hacker. From what I know, it appears to be cloud based too, you don’t need a powerful computer to get started. Simply sign up and start following a learning path.
There are many other sites out there like Over The Wire which have great challenges. However, the four I’ve listed above are in my opinion, the best learning resources for aspiring hackers. These sites will have you hacking websites, popping shells on servers and owning active directory in no time. Some of them will be difficult at first, especially if you don’t have any prior knowledge. However, there are lots of guides and forum posts out there to help you on your way. Just be prepared to read a lot, fiddle with your syntax. Then give up for an hour only to then realise that your single quotation mark was in the wrong place. Hacking the scoped targets on this hacker playgrounds is legal and encourage.
You don’t need to worry about the long arm of the law when practising your skills on these battlefields. So give them a go, I’m sure you will enjoy them.