Many people with training in technology or an interest in cyberpunk had thought about hacking. Maybe the RP site you used to love turned out to be ran by racists, or a popular social media goes out of its way to censor queer people while promoting Nazis, and you really wanna hit them where it hurts; or maybe you just want to get a few quick bucks by robbing the rich digitally, because they have all the money; or you just think it’d be fun!
The good news is, those Hollyshit hackers who hack the Pentagon for kicks since they’re teenagers? While they do exist, they’re a minority; most hackers are average people with two important qualities: the willingness to think outside the box to find as-yet unknown vulnerabilities, and the determination to keep trying until they make their exploit work, and neither of these are things you can learn from schools, no matter how fancy they’re.
The bad new is, it’s still a hell lot of work. You’d need some coding skills eventually; being a script kiddie can only get you that far. You would also need to have a good grasp of the fundamental infrastructure of the things you wanna be hacking. Then you need to spend a huge amount of time researching yourtarget, months or even maybe years, looking for vulnerabilities and trying exploits to see if they could give you a way into the target.
If you’re down for all of that, here are some ideas of what you can use to get started:
The Computer Itself: Doesn’t actually need to be very fancy. Processing power mostly only matters in brute-force attacks – where you try every possible combination of a string of characters to find one that the target accepts as valid – and even then you’re more likely to be limited with the bandwidth of your network service and the target. A good Internet connection is more important unless you have physical access.
Operating System: You want a Linux. Windows and Mac come with too many default limitations on customization that getting them to do all the unorthodox things you’d want is a hack in and of itself. Kali Linux, formerly known as Backtrack, is a Linux distribution that comes pre-packaged with a full suite of hacking utilities and can be booted from an encrypted USB disk if desired, so it’s a good place to start practicing.
Web Browser: You want a web browser that can help you look into the underlying structure of a website if that’s your target. The developer edition of your favorite browser is a good option. OWASP Mantra is a web browsers specifically developed for hacking: like Kali Linux, it comes pre-packaged with a suite of hacking utilities, and many useful websites in the bookmarks, though many of the links are now dead.
Stay Hidden: Everything you do online can and usually is tracked, and the tech lords in SillyCon Valley won’t hesitate to sell your data. US government can and do abuse its influence to go after hackers across borders, especially those engaged in activism against Fascism. A proxy is a must; if you can, use several, and also consider using things like Tor. The best way is of course to use someone else’s computer and/or network entirely.