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