I've written a little about some of the key skills to become a professional hacker, including persistence and creativity. I want to add another CRITICAL skill to joining the ranks of the elite in this profession—problem solving.
Remember, the hacker isn't just following a cookbook approach of "do this, next this and that, then do this, and voilà—you have root." The hacker has no cookbook.
We are trying to make systems work in ways they were never intended to work. As a result, there is no user manual. You need to first understand how the systems work and then think creatively about how they can be made to work differently.
You try many approaches, and when one fails, you persist and try another. When that doesn't work, you need to put on your thinking cap and think analytically to solve the problem.
Many people ask me to show them a simply way to hack this or hack that. If hacking were that simple, then anyone could do it.
Everyone who's trying to pay big bucks for good hackers—including the military (every military on earth is employing hackers and I've trained many of them), espionage units such as in the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. (I've trained them too), cybercrime divisions, and others—would have more people than they could use.
Instead, these organizations are begging for professional hackers and are willing to pay excellent salaries, but they cannot get the people they need with the skills they want.
Hacking requires the ability to look at a problem and create multiple ways to solve it. This is probably the most critical skill of a hacker. If e you're not rewarded with instant success when doing any of the hacks contained here in Null Byte, you should be asking, "How can I do this differently to make it work?"
Stretch and exercise your analytical abilities. This is the ONLY way you can enter the elite of this profession.
Whenever a new hack is developed, the security industry and the software developers immediately begin to work to close the vulnerability. A hack that works today, likely won't work tomorrow. That's where your problem-solving skills come in.
There is ALWAYS a way, but you need to think creatively and analytically to find another approach.
If you are one of those people who requires a "do this, then do this, then do this" approach to get something done, this may not be the right profession for you. This isn't to say you don't have a future in IT—many people in IT work from a cookbook and are very successful—but hackers don't have that luxury.
When working through my tutorials, try to understand WHY they work. Only when you understand the why, can you successfully problem solve when it doesn't work.
To understand why a hack does or doesn't work, you need to understand the fundamentals of operating systems, networking, databases, scripting languages, IP addresses, SQL, Linux, etc. That doesn't come overnight.
You need to study and persist. Hacking is the skill of the future. That is why I have been putting together tutorials on these fundamental subjects. To give you the background necessary to be something other than a "script kiddy."
Script kiddies point and click. True hackers are problem solvers.