Book Review: “Metasploit – The Penetration Tester’s Guide” by Mati Aharoni, Devon Kearns, Jim O’Gorman, David Kennedy; No Starch Press

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I'm an accomplished test automation/performance engineer, but one area of testing that I'm pretty green at is penetration testing. Luckily, I came across Metasploit: The Penetration Tester's Guide, which is a book about penetration testing using the opensource Metasploit Framework testing and is a great introduction to security testing in general.  Since I'm a complete novice when it comes to Metasploit, the book was great for getting me started with the basics of the framework. (A more experience Metasploit user, however, will probably want to read something a bit more advanced.)

What you need to know before reading

The book assumes the reader has zero experience, and begins with a brief history of Metasploit and how to install it. Although you don't need to be a programmer to read it, most of the examples are written in Ruby and Python. You should also be familiar with Linux and how to set up VMs.

What's in it?

Overall, the book is written with a hands-on, tutorial-like style that is great for people like me who prefer to learn by doing. The book is a progression, beginning by establishing the methodologies/phases and terminology of penetration testing and an intro to the utilities and functions within the Metasploit framework. The first few chapters are a great help in getting up to speed on what penetration testing is and provide a nice overview of the different phases of a penetration test. The author then walks you through how to identify different types of vulnerabilities and how to exploit them using the tool. I really liked the sections on how to attack MS SQL, Browser-Based & File exploits and Social Engineering attacks. Many different modules of the framework are covered, as well as how to create a module. The book ends with a realistic simulation of an actual penetration test.

Do no evil

The author states that the book is “designed to teach you everything from the fundamentals of the Framework to advanced techniques in exploitation,” and I believe the author excels in fulfilling that goal. After reading this book I was reminded of the old saying “with great knowledge comes great responsibility.” As the author states at the very beginning of the book under Ethics: “Don't be malicious and don't be stupid.”

Note: I received a free copy of this book as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review program. View O'Reilly Product Page


3 comments
Luke E. Babarinde - January 3, 2012

Great job reviewing this book, Joe. I too bought it to specifically gain deeper know how of Metasploit and while it seemed very basic at first, it is great read that goes beyond just hacking. I would have loved it to go further into Ruby-on-rails to step it into the advance zone. However, it still remains a great book.

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    Joe Colantonio - January 3, 2012

    Luke E. Babarinde » Thanks Luke! Metasploit was one of my favorite reads of 2011. Maybe the next addition will include more info on Ruby-on-rails. Cheers~Joe

    Reply
aric - March 6, 2012

Download Free SecurityTube Metasploit Framework Expert DVD FREE Enjoy :D
http://securitytube-training.com/certifications/securitytube-metasploit-framework-expert/?id=download

>>>> A non-exhaustive list of topics to be taught includes <<<<

* Metasploit Basics and Framework Organization

* Server and Client Side Exploitation

* Meterpreter – Extensions and Scripting

* Database Integration and Automated Exploitation

* Post Exploitation Kung-Fu – Exploring the system, Privilege escalation, Log deletion and AV / Firewall bypass

* Token stealing and impersonation, Backdoors and Rootkits, Pivoting and Port forwarding, Railgun and Custom Scripting, Backdoor an Executable

* Ruby Primer for Hackers

* Writing Metasploit Modules – Auxiliary and Exploit

* Exploit research with Metasploit- Buffer Overlows, SEH, DEP Bypass, Return Oriented Programming

* Social Engineering Toolkit (SET) and Armitage

* Scenario Based Hacking using Metasploit

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