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Unix Dweeb

First step to becoming a cybersecurity pro: Linux

Jan 12, 20194 mins

If you're gearing up to be a cybersecurity pro, you must have Linux skills. Linux Basics for Hackers will quickly get you up to speed.

linux basics for hackers
Credit: No Starch Press

If you’re contemplating a career in cybersecurity and haven’t come up to speed on Linux, now’s the time to get ramped up and here’s one easy way to do it. This new book from No Starch Press was written with people like you in mind. Authored by OccupyTheWeb, Linux Basics for Hackers: Getting Started with Networking, Scripting, and Security in Kali provides everything from basic Linux command-line skills through to scripting, manipulating logging, network scanning, using and abusing system services, and remaining stealthy in the process.

Why Linux is important to security

Because Linux is open source, tool developers (and you) have a level of access that is unsurpassed. Linux is transparent, and that means you can learn to manipulate it in ways that are not possible with most OSes. In addition (and undoubtedly for the reason just mentioned), most cybersecurity tools are written to run on Linux.

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a special Linux distribution that is built for penetration testing and ethical hacking. It’s a derivation of Debian and was designed specifically for digital forensics and penetration testing.

The number and variety of tools for information gathering, vulnerability analysis, exploitation, forensics, and more in Kali is quite mind-boggling. Check out this tools listing page, and be sure to scroll down to view all the types of tools available.

Who is OccupyTheWeb?

OccupyTheWeb, the force behind Hackers-Arise, is an information security consultant, as well as a forensic investigator. He has worked with numerous federal and military organizations and is highly skilled. And he wants to help motivated individuals acquire the skills required for this extremely important field. 

Getting started

The first thing you should do is install Kali Linux. You will need it to work through the exercises at the end of the chapters. Kali comes with all the tools you will need. The book will walk you through the installation process, as well as what is required to install VirtualBox and then install Kali as a virtual system.

What Linux Basics for Hackers covers

As you can see from the table of contents shown below, this book starts with basic command-line commands (pwd, whoami, more and less, head and tail, locate, whereis, etc.). It then covers creating files and directories, managing network settings, installing packages, managing permissions and processes, and setting up the user environment.

The book also introduces scripting, using compression tools, managing file systems and devices, and both using and circumventing logging. It provides details on setting up and using Apache, OpenSSH, the Raspberry Spi Pi, and MySQL. The book also helps you understand what is required to work anonymously.

You will also learn how to work with kernel modules, schedule tasks and start-up processes, and write scripts using Python.

The exercises at the end of each chapter are crafted to provide critical insights and to help you to develop the skills needed to become a top-notch security professional.

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


If you’re a seasoned security professional or a Linux sysadmin with a lot of experience, a lot of the material in the book will likely be wasted on you. If you’re just getting started or working your way to expert level, getting a copy of this book might be one of the best things you can do to develop your cybersecurity skills.

Unix Dweeb

Sandra Henry-Stocker has been administering Unix systems for more than 30 years. She describes herself as "USL" (Unix as a second language) but remembers enough English to write books and buy groceries. She lives in the mountains in Virginia where, when not working with or writing about Unix, she's chasing the bears away from her bird feeders.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Sandra Henry-Stocker and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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