The best online hacking game to learn programming.
There is a certain romantic appeal to hacking. The idea of typing in the light of a monitor and accessing secrets that only a few know is popular with many people, but hacking in real life is not the same as in movies. In the real world, hacking is a crime, but it's also an in-demand skill set.
Companies pay professional (or "white") hackers to check their security. If you find the job interesting, try your hand at these online hacking games to learn the programming and hacking skills you need to get started.
Hack the Box is not so much a game as a puzzle. To even access the platform, you must have some basic knowledge of web development. It requires you to hack into the site just to get the invite code, although along the way it gives you a few clues to help you solve the puzzle.
Once inside, Hack the Box is a great place to chat with other penetration testers. It has over 30 different machines that you can remotely connect to and hack into. If you provide proof of your hack, you can earn points and climb the leaderboard. There are also standalone puzzles in steganography, cryptography, and more.
If you consider yourself an intermediate hacker and want to hone your skills, Hack the Box is a good place to start.
HackThisSite is a completely free website that has tests and courses on hacking. It starts by offering users missions that they can work with, from minimal knowledge to more complex methods. The website also has a variety of articles that teach you many of the skills you need, as well as forums to discuss solutions and puzzles.
If you are just getting started with hacking, try the "basic missions". They will gradually increase in difficulty and teach you what you need to know before moving on. There are also realistic missions that are much more difficult.
Like Hack the Box, HackThisSite has a high score system. There is also a “Hall of Fame” section, where the site lists vulnerabilities found by users and points to these users. HackThisSite encourages users to look for security holes, but asks them to submit a bug report rather than take destructive action.
HackThisSite is a great training ground and gathering place for potential hackers, especially if you're just getting started with the skills you need.
Many people think that hacking is purely coding, but there is much more to it than just knowing Java syntax. You must be able to think creatively and know how to solve the various problems that a hacker might face. PicoCTF is intended for a younger audience (middle to high school) but can be used by anyone.
PicoCTF is developed by computer security experts at Carnegie Mellon University. Players work through a complex storyline filled with educational content and cybersecurity puzzles. According to the website, players must "reverse engineer, hack, hack, decipher, and think creatively and critically to solve problems."
Even though it's about hacking, think of PicoCTF as a training game for your brain. When you know how to think about hacking, it will be much easier to hack your code. There are even competitions that users can take part in if you are age appropriate.
PicoCTF is a great tool for young people who are interested in hacking. It will teach a solid foundation of basic skills that will further help someone transition to more advanced courses.
Hacksplaining is an interactive learning site that guides users step by step through various security vulnerabilities. Its platform allows users to see what's going on behind the scenes when using something like SQL injection, clickjacking, and other hacking techniques.
While this is not the best hacking game, the interactive elements help it demonstrate lessons in a way that is not possible with just reading the material. It consists of a series of courses that move naturally from one to the next. For example, when you finish the SQL Injection tutorial, it will move on to a lesson on how to protect yourself from SQL injection.
Many lessons are available without registration, but you can join for free for even more information. Due to the abundance of information on the site and its user-friendly format, Hacksplaining is a good place to get basic knowledge of security vulnerabilities.
Although hacking is a romanticized industry, remember that gaining access to information that you are not allowed to access is a crime and, like any crime, it can result in severe fines and jail time. White hat hacking can be a lucrative skill set, but you are often required to have a clean criminal record in order to get the necessary clearances to work in the field.
If you want to become a white hat hacker, make sure you don't overuse the skills you've learned. It can also help you get various certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker certification from the EU Council or the Cybersecurity Certification Roadmap.