Overview & Schedule


We will cover as few concepts as possible to make you dangerous enough to start down a systems hacking journey. I will usually use external tutorials embedded in this one to get ideas, skills, or setups done quickly. This handbook acts as duct tape for all those tutorials.

As seen in the table of contents on the left, we go through 5 major topics:

  • Operating Systems
    • ASU Equiv: CSE330,365. Overviews what makes something an operating system, how we can virtualize them, and how we use them in hacking. Includes a set up for containers and VMs.
  • Programming Languages
    • ASU Equiv: CSE340,240. Overviews what makes something a programming language, then covers a interpreted and compiled language that are commonly used for hacking. This includes how to use them efficiently.
  • Computer Organization
    • ASU Equiv: CSE230. Overviews the internals of computing and how we organize them, including memory layout, assembly (x86), and the types of executable file types you will find in the wild.
  • Processes & Debugging
    • ASU Equiv: CSE330,240. Overviews how processes work in Linux and generally. Includes learning how to trace, debug, and understand running process. Also has a small intro to using Python to mess with running processes.
  • Security Concepts
    • ASU Equiv: CSE365. Does a small dive into some common security concepts that will help new hackers think about problems in different ways. Highly inspired by Adam Doupe's CSE365.

How use this handbook

To efficiently use this handbook you should be prepared to follow various links across the web that I've curated with time. Most links I use are often for things that are more copy-paste-and-follow like. As an example, in the next section, I'll have you install a Virtual Machine. In that section I use an external link to have you install it so I don't duplicate work that is already one well. Other things like using more complex stuff will usually be covered in the handbook.

Another thing to note is the use of the Dinkus within this text:

* * *

Whenever you see this symbol it means there is link you will need to follow between the text above and below it. That link will take more than 15 minutes to complete. As an example, in the next section's introduction I place a link to "What is Linux." I estimate that you will take around 15 minutes or more of time to read that link before progressing onto the next section. Take your time with the reading, its the absolute minimum you need to read to get that chapters topic.

Lastly, at the end each section, excluding this one, you can find a practice challenge-set that will test your knowledge on that chapter. It is highly recommended that you complete all the challenges the chapter asks for before you move on to the next chapter. Most of our challenges currently can be found on dojo.pwn.college

Work in Progress

The following sections are still being worked on:


  • Programming Languages (50% complete)
  • Processes & Debugging (25% complete)
  • Security Concepts (0% complete)