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Best Ethical Hacking Books for 2024 [Beginners to Advanced]

26th Dec, 2023
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    Best Ethical Hacking Books for 2024 [Beginners to Advanced]

    Technology is rapidly growing and has plenty to offer. There are countless software tools and applications that we all use in our daily lives. Moreover, even industries and organizations rely on technology for their operations, better performance, and increased revenue. The only concern in technological advancements is intruder attacks to corrupt the network or data theft. Thus, there is a need to identify these risks and take counter-measures to avoid them entirely. Ethical hacking is one such field that helps identify the potential threats and suggests ways to fail the attempt of intruders.

    What is Ethical Hacking?

    The technique of breaking into networks or computer systems to search for threats or vulnerabilities that a hostile attacker might uncover and use to steal data, inflict financial loss, or cause another major harm is known as penetration testing. It is also referred to as ethical hacking.

    Ethical hackers are allowed to use the same methods and resources as harmful hackers to improve security and defend systems from attacks by malicious users, but only with permission from the relevant authority.

    Additionally, hacking is a talent that requires art to master. If you want to hack into a system or server, you must be more skilled and effective than the server's developer. You can opt for classes for Cyber Security to gain expertise in ethical hacking.

    The Certified Ethical Hacker, or CEH, credential is available to anyone interested in becoming an ethical hacker. The International Council of EC-Council is the organization that issued this certification (E-Commerce Consultants). You must be familiar with computer security topics and issues before enrolling in a CEH course or taking an exam, along with incorporating the CEH v 11 certified hacker study guide or certified ethical hacker v 11 books.

    Reading the best ethical hacking books and learning from them might appear archaic in today's technologically advanced world. Numerous ethical hacking books are available to help you get started. The top ethical hacking books, which can take you from a basic beginner level to an advanced one, are listed below in this article.

    10 Best Ethical Hacking Books [Beginner to Advanced] 

    Here, we have listed the best ethical hacking books for beginners from 2024 to advanced.

    1. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation - by Jon Erickson

    • Year of release and version: 2003, first edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.35/5
    • Publisher Info:  No Starch Press
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  This book is suitable for both beginners and advanced readers.

    "Hacking: The Art of Exploitation" by Jon Erickson is a comprehensive guide that delves into the world of hacking and computer security. It provides readers with practical knowledge and hands-on techniques to understand vulnerabilities, exploit systems, and strengthen their understanding of how computers and networks can be manipulated and secured.


    This comprehensive book will teach you a little about programming, exploitation, networking, shellcode, countermeasures, and cryptology. Others include_

    • Comprehensive coverage of hacking techniques, including programming, network protocols, and exploit development. 
    • Hands-on approach with practical examples and exercises. 
    • Explores software vulnerabilities and reverse engineering. 
    • Provides insights into ethical hacking and penetration testing. 
    • Offers valuable knowledge for understanding and defending against cyber threats.
    • Emphasizes the art and creativity behind hacking techniques. 
    • Helps readers develop a deep understanding of how systems can be compromised. 
    • Includes real-world examples and case studies.

    2. Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking - by Georgia Weidman 

    • Year of release and version: 2014, first edition 
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.26/5 
    • Publisher Info:  No Starch Press 
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Beginners. 

    "Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking" by Georgia Weidman is a comprehensive guide that provides a practical introduction to the world of ethical hacking and penetration testing. The book covers essential topics such as reconnaissance, scanning, exploitation, and post-exploitation techniques. It includes real-world scenarios and hands-on exercises to help readers develop the necessary skills to identify and secure vulnerabilities in computer systems. 


    You'll learn how to crack passwords, breach online application security, brute-force wireless networks using wordlists, defeat antivirus software, and take control of a virtual machine to compromise the network. Here are a few more -

    • Comprehensive guide to penetration testing, covering various concepts and techniques.
    • Hands-on approach with practical exercises for real-world learning.
    • Step-by-step instructions for conducting penetration tests.
    • Real-world examples and case studies for practical understanding.
    • Focus on ethical hacking and responsible approaches.
    • Updated content to stay current with industry trends.
    • Career opportunities in cybersecurity and ethical hacking

    3. Hands-On Ethical Hacking & Network Defense - By James Corley, Kent Backman, & Michael Simpson 

    • Year of release and version: 2016, Third edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.06/5
    • Publisher Info:  Cengage learning
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Beginners and Intermediate

    This is a great fundamental book for new hackers, particularly freshmen with no prior knowledge of networking, security, hacking, etc. The author thoroughly explains the main underlying principles while using clear, basic language.


    • It is simple to read and doesn't delve too far into implementations or technical specifics.
    • After each chapter, there are numerous case studies and questions.
    • Numerous terms and concepts are introduced in the book, and if you want to learn more about any of them, you can use other resources or books to enrich your knowledge.

    4. The Basics of Hacking & Penetration Testing - Patrick Engebretson 

    • Year of release and version: 2013, Second edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  3.81/5
    • Publisher Info:  Syngress
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Beginners

    This is one of the best ethical hacking and penetration testing guides, including several different programs, like Backtrack and Kall Linux, Nmap, the Social-Engineer Toolkit, Netcat, and many others.


    • You must read this book if you don't know where to start with ethical hacking.
    • Instead of just discussing what is being done, the author pays close attention to detail and explains why something is being done in a certain manner.
    • The author stays with the fundamentals and doesn't overburden you with complex ideas or excessive technical information.

    5. Exploiting Software: How to Break Code by Greg Hoglund and Gary R. McGraw 

    • Year of release and version: 2004, First edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.18/5
    • Publisher Info:  Addison-Wesley Professional
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    The book is extremely technical and is written in an informed and instructive manner. It is intended for people who are somewhat familiar with reverse engineering and exploitation but wish to delve deeply into researching black hat methods for taking advantage of software flaws.


    • You'll discover how to create your cracking software (the book assumes you have a basic understanding of x86 processor).
    • Stack overflow, string format overflow, URL encoding, and other attack types are covered in great detail in numerous chapters, along with solutions using examples from C++ and Java.

    6. The Tangled Web by Michal Zalewski 


    • Year of release and version: 2011, First edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.23/5
    • Publisher Info: No Starch Press
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    This complete and comprehensive handbook is also presented in an interesting and captivating style. You can identify with many of the events described in the book as a reader because we all use the internet for different purposes. It is a sobering realization of how susceptible our data is and what vulnerabilities allow for the widespread attack. It is indeed one of the best books to learn hacking from scratch.


    • Security engineering cheat sheets are included in each chapter and provide quick fixes for the most frequent issues.
    • Uses contemporary security measures to safeguard the network and its users, covering a wide range of fundamental and sophisticated functions like URL parsing, creating mashups, and embedding gadgets.

    7. Black Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Pentesters - by Justin Seitz


    • Year of release and version: 2014, First edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.1/5
    • Publisher Info: No Starch Press
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    For individuals who have some programming knowledge but no hacking experience, this book is fantastic. Python is simple to learn. Therefore, you can master both languages simultaneously using this book. Most of the book's attention is on using Python 2 to create powerful hacking tools.


    • The author provides several intriguing tips and techniques for basic Python hacking.
    • The book encourages you to expand on the established methods to produce your own escapades and experiment with the ideas.
    • The book also discusses GitHub and how to create a Trojan that is Git-Hub aware.

    8. Gray Hat Hacking: The Ethical Hacker's Handbook, Fifth Edition 5th Edition -by Allen Harper, Daniel Regalado, & Ryan Linn 


    • Year of release and version: 2018, Fifth edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  No rating
    • Publisher Info: McGraw Hill
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    The book goes through all the fundamentals before moving on to some more advanced ideas. Therefore, this book will be helpful to you whether or not you are a fresher. This book is nicely written and entertaining, with a tidy, uncluttered style.


    The book is broken up into five sections: Part I discusses hacking in general and steps to take before hacking, such as learning the programming language C and using gdb; Part II begins with the fundamentals of hacking and penetration testing; Part III examines how to exploit systems from every angle, and Part IV discusses some advanced topics, & IoT hackability is covered in Part V.

    9. Advanced Penetration Testing: Hacking the world's most Secure Networks - by Will Allsopp 


    • Year of release and version: 2017, Second edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.22
    • Publisher Info: John Wiley & Sons
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    It is one of the best Pentesting books that discuss several challenging situations and how to deal with them. This is for professionals who wish to undertake pen-testing on extremely secure networks and think like professional hackers. The book contains numerous examples that make use of C, Java, JavaScript, VBA, Windows Scripting Host, Flash, etc.


    • A very interesting book that is similar to reading a storybook but with scientific content.
    • Very relevant situations serve as a real eye-opener to how exposed we are online.
    • Despite being complex, the book guides you through the process of writing bespoke code and explains the value of pen-testing tools.

    10. The Web Application Hacker's Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws - by Dafydd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto 


    • Year of release and version: 2011, Second edition
    • Good Reads Rating:  4.2
    • Publisher Info: John Wiley & Sons
    • This book is for Beginners/Advanced:  Advanced

    This is one of the most well-known and successful hacking books. It employs a productive methodology. The book provides in-depth information about website security and is useful as a reference. The author makes every effort to get you to think rather than just spoon-feeding you information. There are many real-world examples and excellent practices in the book.


    • There are parts that guide you through writing your own code and provide C++, ASP.Net, and Java examples.
    • The author recommends the usage of their own product, Burp Suite while introducing readers to a variety of other technologies.
    • Both beginning and intermediate readers should pick up this book.

    11. Hacking: Computer Hacking, Security Testing, Penetration Testing, and Basic Security – by Gary Hall 

    This book covers the fundamental concepts and intricate techniques related to the hacking field. The language the author has used is simple and easily understandable. It means aspiring hackers at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels can use it without a doubt! It is a recommended certified ethical hacker book pdf which even the professional trainers suggest referring to. Some of the highlights of the book are:

    • It is apt for a hacker at every level of expertise.
    • Language is crisp and easy to understand, making it fruitful for everyone, irrespective of their level of understanding.
    • It covers all the hacking aspects, security, penetration testing, network security, and more.

    Best Ethical Hacking Books Comparison 

    It can be difficult to get started in the field of ethical hacking. One of the finest ways to get the knowledge you need is to read books on the subject.

    These books are a great place to start learning more about ethical hacking if you want to.

    Book TitleAuthor NameLatest EditionPublisherRatings
    Hacking - the art of exploitationJon Erickson2nd EditionNo starch press4.6
    The Basics of Hacking & Penetration TestingPatrick Engebretson2nd EditionSyngress4.5
    The Hacker Playbook 2Peter Kim1st EditionIndependently published4.7
    Penetration TestingGeorgia Weidman1st EditionNo starch press4.5
    The Web Application Hacker’s HandbookDafydd Stuttard2nd EditionWiley4.3
    HackingGary Hall1st EditionIndependently published3.8
    Computer Hacking Beginners GuideAlan T. Norman1st EditionIndependently published4.1
    Hackers & PaintersPaul Graham1st Edition0’Reilly4.5

    Tips to Choose the Proper Book 

    Choosing the best book to learn hacking for beginners can be really challenging. You must select a book that is pertinent to the certifications you want to get. When selecting the best book to learn hacking from scratch, keep the following points in mind:

    1. Get the most recent version 

    Because of the nature of hacking, the area is constantly evolving. Thus, you need to make sure your knowledge is up to date.

    2. Choose a book that has exercises 

    The best CEH books include practical activities and lab work to improve the educational process. So, choose a book with lots of practical exercises.

    3. Research the authors 

    Professional hackers have produced books to share their expertise and experience. They have actual hacking experience, which gives them a distinct advantage.

    4. Pick a format that suits your needs 

    Some books are shorter than others and often function as references. Professional hackers and security experts can benefit from such books, but you might want a more thorough manual. So, pick a book that works for you.

    Looking to level up your IT skills? Join our ITIL v4 training and unlock new opportunities in the tech industry. Gain valuable knowledge and stay ahead of the game. Don't miss out, sign up today!

    Ethical Hacking Courses

    Ethical hacking techniques assist organizations in determining the weaknesses of their networks and systems and in developing remedies to protect against data breaches. The best Ethical Hacking course provides students with essential skills for conducting successful penetration tests and determining how vulnerable organizations are to hackers.

    Heath Adams, also known as The Cyber Mentor, is a famous author of the Ethical Hacking Courses.

    Other excellent programmes include: 

    • Heath Adams' The Practical Ethical Hacking Course.
    • Brent Eskridge's Linux 101
    • Heath Adams' Windows Privilege Escalation
    • Heath Adams's Linux Privilege Escalation


    This article lists some of the best ethical hacking books for beginners. These books will offer the groundwork you need to become a great ethical hacker, whether you're just starting or looking to advance your skills. Also, you can also enhance your cybersecurity career in the same way by enrolling in KnowledgeHut’s Cyber Security classes. Start your ethical hacking career now.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is there any book for ethical hacking?

    There are countless books on ethical hacking. You can refer to any of the books listed above or ask your trainer to suggest a book according to your grasping power and career goals. However, if there is still confusion, you can always refer to multiple books to get a better perspective. 

    2Which is the best book for ethical hacking for beginners?

    Beginners need to understand things from scratch. So, they need books having everything, from basic concepts to elaborate ones. Some of the recommended books would be Hands-on Ethical Hacking and Network Defence, the basics of ethical hacking and penetration testing by Patrick Engebretson, and there are countless options available.  

    3Which certification is best for ethical hacking?

    There are many certification courses available in the field of ethical hacking. However, one should choose a globally recognized certification that starts the training from basic concepts. One of the best and most recommended ethical hacking certifications is the one by Knowledge Hut. 

    4Is ethical hacking easy?

    It is not complicated, but it is not fair to call it easy. To be a proficient hacker, you need professional training, apt study material, and continuous practice. However, once you have productive guidance, things do become simple.

    5What is an ethical hacker's salary?

    The salary of an ethical hacker depends on multiple factors, including the organization they work in, the experience they have, and the expertise they carry. However, the average salary of a certified ethical hacker is around 6 LPA.


    Preethiga Narasimman

    Blog Author

    Due to her interest in Search Engine Optimization, she started her career as an SEO Intern and have contributed to the healthy digital presence for multiple brands with her mastery over web and YT search algorithms. In her free time, she plays with her Persian cat, and she loves fishkeeping. She is also good at making craftworks, painting, and cooking. 

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