What are the Best Laptops For Hacking (Cyber Security) – A Complete Guide

Preamble out the way. Let’s get down to business .

The best laptop for hacking?  This one.

Obviously it needs to look coo with a skull sticker on it and several antennas sticking out. Joking aside…

Why is Cyber Security on the title?

Because ” black hat / malicious / real hacking ” (exactly what you have in mind) is just a derivative of white hat / penetration testing (which is carried out by the people hired by companies to find and fix any vulnerabilities in their networks before hacks like you bring them down).

I obviously can’t write a post encouraging you to become a hacker and tell you everything you need to get started. 

I would get into trouble myself.

That is why I am putting Cyber Security/PenTesting in the title instead.

Either way you’ll also learn about hacking systems  here and the hardware for it.

Anti-hackers and hackers are pretty much the same thing.

What will you find in this post?

First of all.

I assume you haven’t been caught yet or you are not a real hacker. 

If you were, you’d know it’s more about knowledge and skills and not about hardware.

Real hackers can do some serious hacking even with a raspberry pie.

Yes, I know it sounds delicious but it’s actually a computer. 

It’s the tiniest PC/laptop for hacking.

So yeah it doesn’t matter what laptop you use.


However…

Hardware can help making hacking easier by speeding up several processes involved and that’s the kind of laptops you’ll find in this post.

Before we get out hands dirty let me say it one more time: 

This post is for informational purposes only .I am not encouraging you to become a hacker. You should use this info to tinkle around with YOUR systems, this is called “ethical hacking”.  Use your newly acquired hacking knowledge to work against malicious hackers through penn testing and cyber security later you’ll get an awesome salary and still be considered sort of a hacker too. 

 
HardWare Requirements ( Best Laptop Specs for Hacking )
 
Before we go through the exact hardware specs, it is good to know the kind of activities you will be doing (hacker or a pen-tester): 

All the details about these hacking activities and more about how hardware can help is fully explained at the end of this post.

So I’ll just summarize it here:

1. Running virtual machines (maybe even on top of Virtual Machines). This is the only thing that will require decent hardware. Just a multicore-CPU/8GB RAM really. Hackers don’t necessarily run VMs though.

2. Accessing all programming enviroments and languages. This is what hacking is all about and good hardware is not needed here. Even 200$ laptops will since you can always install Linux on them to make them run fast.   

3. Heavy data crunching (for cracking passwords). The simplest form of hacking. Though you can do  this with any laptop , a faster CPU and the inclusion of dedicated GPU will speed up the process tremendously.
 
Let’s get into specifics now:
 
RAM

For a virtual penetration testing lab with +5VMs running: 16-32GB. It isn’t likely you’ll need a lab so you will  be fine with just Kali Linux and Windows (2VMs) to get started, this means at least 8GB RAM.

CPU
Again a high end multi-core (6-8 cores) is a must to make a penn testing lab (+5VMs). However, since you’ll most likely be using 1-2 VMs(Windows+Kali Linux) and just run code inside each VM , you just need any modern processor (they all have 2-4 cores).  Ex: Core i3-111G54 / Ryzen 3 3200U and above.

GPU

For password cracking fast multicore processors help somewhat. However since most scripts used for password cracking primarily use “GPU Cores” as the processing entities, a dedicated GPU w/ lots of “GPU Cores” will make password cracking a thousand times faster…

By lots I mean ANY of the recent NVIDIA GPUs (9th and 10th gen GPUs). Ex: 940MX,1050Ti,2060RTX, 3060RTX,etc.

NetWork Adapter
A recent WiFi card  emplying the latest WireLess Protocol( super important for getting into WEP secured networks and testing WiFi connections for vulnerabilties).
You can use any protocol however the more recent ones (AC & AX 802.11) give you the advantage of being more compatible with the newest and oldest protocols(you’ll be able to run vulnerability tests across all protocols).
 

Mouse (Not Optional)

You need to find bugs fast and move across the OS even faster, doing so with a TrackPad is impossible. 

Storage(Optional)
You don’t really need to worry about storage. Hackers don’t need a lot of space. Unless you’re making scripts or hacking heavy AAA games even 64GB will be fine. 

Just be sure to get either a eMMC or SSD storage drive, both make VMs run faster and unlike HDDs you won’t be waiting for its spinning drive to accomplish some hackery here and there. 

These laptops are just commodity machines you can find them at your local computer store or any online computer store, they are nothing special, they don’t have Linux on them nor do they have any of the hackery scripts/programming environments installed natively, you will have to install those on your own (check my last section for a few clues on how to do this). 

However…these laptops are the best deals (as 2022) for the hardware you’re getting from each.

Which you can use for programming/coding and several of these (laptops 2-4) have the best hardware to run several VMs which in turn should allow you to simulate networks and situations for you to hack into (different Operating systems w/ different layers of security). Laptop 5 is more of a gaming laptop with the best dGPU as of 2022 (with the highest number of CUDA cores) which you can use for ultra fast password cracking and write scripts to cheat on the current and most popular AAA games.

Hackers also get an external WiFi adapter for evidence purposes (more on the last section).


1. Acer Aspire 5

Cheap and Best Laptop for Hacking

  Intel Core i3-1115G4

  4GB DDR4

  ‎Intel UHD Graphics

  128GB SSD

  15” full HD IPS

  4.19lbs

  7 hours

    Wifi 6 802.11AX

This is  a basic laptop that can run any Linux Distro including Kali Linux on a VM alongside Windows or separately. If you want to learn all about making scripts , software and learning how to read code for hacking purposes, this is just as much hardware as you’re going to need. There’s no need to get a Core i7/Ryzen 7 extreme edition CPU for this nor the latest NVIDIA GTX either. Those things are optional for now. They do become somewhat way way down the line though. 

Buy Now


2. Lenovo Ideapad 3

Best Budget Laptop For Hacking

  AMD Ryzen 5 5600H

  8GB RAM DDR4

   GeForce GTX 1650 

  256 PCIe SSD

  15” FHD 1080p IPS

  4.96lbs

  5 hours

    Wifi 5 802.11AC

The only real difference between the first laptop and this one is the dedicated GPU.  They’re just not for gaming as  some scripts and applications find it super useful for “parallel computing”. This includes password cracking scripts or dictionary attacks in WPA2/PSA encryption.

Now you can use pretty much any dedicated GPU even older generation dGPUs to make those scripts run hundreds of times faster (the 940M and MX450 come to mind) which are a lot cheaper. However, a 1650GTX has almost 2x the amount of CUDA cores found on 940M/MX450 dGPU which is going to make dictionary attacks several several times faster.

As of 2022, 1650GTX laptops are actually just a bit more expensive than MX450/MX350 laptops (50-100$) so if you have the cash you might as well double the number of CUDA cores you have. 

Yes, there are gaming laptops with much more powerful dGPU (x5 CUDA cores) but for most purposes any laptop w/ a modern dGPU is a good starting point.

Buy Now


3. Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 2 

Best Lenovo Laptop For Hacking

  Ryzen 7 Pro 5850U Processor  8 Cores/16 Threads

  32GB RAM DDR4 (Up to 48GB)

  Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics

  1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

  14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, touchscreen

  3.37lbs

  8 hours

    Wifi 5 802.11AC

  Windows 10 Pro

The Lenovo ThinkPads are the most popular brand used for pen-testing, cyber security and hacking. The main reason is their hardware compatibility with pretty much every Linux Distro out there.   That means every piece of hardware will work once you install a Linux Distro, there will be no need to be scourging around drivers and trying out different distros. It will just work right out of the Box. In fact, if you go the official site you get to choose ThinkPads that will have Ubuntu natively installed though you don’t need to go that far, if you’re going to be a hacker the easiest thing to do is to install a Linux Distro on a brand new system.

Now you are not going to be doing any password cracking with a ThinkPad because it lacks a dGPU, you will use it to write scripts/execute them through VMs. In other words, doing real hackery and not running someone else’s scripts.

Tip: If you want to make a laptop cheaper, avoid fancy fingerprint readers, crazy resolutions and dGPUs. Besides all of that its going to make your laptop heat up even more when you’re running several VMs which you must do to simulate your hackery. 

Buy Now


4. OEM Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Best Lenovo Laptop For Hacking

  Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 10th generation 

 8-32GB DDR4 RAM 

  Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics

  250GB-1TB SSD

  15.6″ FHD Anti-glare (1920×1080) IPS

  3.75 lbs

  10 hours

    Wifi 5 802.11AC

This is a less popular but much cheaper Lenovo ThinkPad (the first one was the T series , this one belongs to the E series). Unlike the T series, you can configure the E series to have the CPU/RAM and Storage you want. Again since you’re just getting started, you probably won’t be running more than 4 VMs for which 8-16GB RAM will do just fine and a Core i5 too. 

Once you get real acquianted with pen testing, you’ll be simulating much more complex networks on a computer and you will then need much more RAM/Storage than this base model I’m showing you. 

One thing I would advice you to avoid now that you’re getting started is the Core i7/Ryzen 7 models as they have way too much unnecessary power for a few VMs. You will do fine with any Core i5/Ryzen 5 model. Even the Core i3/Ryzen 3 models will do just fine as long as you get at least 8GB of RAM (you upgrade it to 16GB when you want to run even more VMs much later on and still be fine with any of these CPUs recommended).

Buy Now


5. GIGABYTE AORUS 17G 

Best Laptop Computer For Hacking

  Intel Core i7 11800H

  32GB DDR4 (Up to 64GB)

   NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 8GB

  512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

  17.3″ 1920×1080 IPS Anti-glare (300Hz)

  Very Heavy

  2 hours

    Wifi 5 802.11AC

Lastly one of the most powerful laptops released in 2022.

I know I’ve said that its not necessary to have a lot of computing power for hacking/penn testing.

However…

There’s still the advantage of running scripts , especially those that can be solved in parallel, once you get several cores in a CPU. Now, CPU cores on computer are limited to 10 cores for laptops and ~20 on desktops but you can get even more “cores” out of a dGPU to make password cracking faster and reduce hashing times to seconds.

The most powerful dGPU with the greatest amount of “GPU Cores” is not the M1 MacBook (it only has 8-16), it’s a 3080RTX which is found on high end gaming laptops.

Obviously an offline desktops w/ 2 CPUs (not cores), 128GB RAM and a RAID Storage set up and x2 3080RTX GPUs in the same system (yes TWO!) will literally make dictionary attacks and password cracking lighting fast, you’re not going to get that set up on a laptop, this is as a good as it’s going to get in laptopville: Core i9/Ryzen 9 + 3080RTX.

PS: Now those  laptops with a Core i9/Ryzen 9 and a RTX 3080RTX  are without question the most powerful machines in the market but I’ve decided to feature a Core i7/Ryzen 7 +3080RTX here because they’re much cheaper and dictionary attacks/parallel doesn’t improve massively from a better CPU as much as a better GPU (3080RTX laptops not come with anything lower than a Core i7/Ryzen 7 CPU so don’t try to look for cheaper options. This is as cheap as a 3080RTX laptop is going to get !).

Buy Now


Last words of advice:

Eventually, even if they’re anonymous,  all hackers GET CAUGHT. No matter how good of a hacker you think you’ll become. The only difference is if you’re really good and well informed..like Anonymous….you’ll last longer
 

Practice ethical hacking instead. You’ll still learn all the trickery hackers do but use that power for white hacking and penn testing. You can make TONS of money if you’re good at it (companies are always hiring white hackers, penn testers and they pay well).

A Brief Summary of Hacking: Software & Hardware

The information presented here has been gathered from those years I spent hacking as a hobby and attending hacking conferences (they were ethical hacking talks,you think real hackers would go out there and promote hackery at a public conference in front of some hotel in New York which is surrounded by police stations).

I am assuming people reading this are absolute beginners to hacking and barely know how to write a piece of code so to make it much easier to understand  I’ve divided this section easier to understand, I’ll divide this into three sections: software used by hackers, types of hackers (for fun) and then we’ll discuss the hardware that makes hacking possible.

Types of Hacking

True hackers understand how entire computer networks work: what’s a stack, what’s a heap? What are Architectures? What’s an assembler? How do network protocols work? What are their weakness/strenghts? And that’s why they are quick and prone to find vulnerabilities. 

However, they can do this just by looking at code and from there they simply know how the network traffic works and how the applications in it behave. You don’t need a super computer to look a code, like I said a standard laptop w/ 8GB RAM will do. 

In fact, as long as you install Linux in it, you can even use that cheap old laptop sitting at the basement since Linux distros are notirous for consuming little to no system resources which leaves plenty of resource for IDEs and terminals that need to display tons of code over short periods of time. 

As a matter of fact, hackers and pentesters use Unix based operating systems like Linux anyways. Not because their low budgets but due to the required tools and programming languages nativel installed on Linux based systems. Also, Windows and OSX being more easy to break into and spay. 

SCRIPT KIDDIE

If you’re still at the script kiddie hacker level you only need a machine that will run Kali or BackBox Linux, you are not going to do anything original you are not going to come up with anything new yourself. You’re just one of those script kiddies buying a script for 10 bucks off a hacking site. If you use anyone’s tools, you’re a script kiddie. If you write your own code, you are a hacker. 

This is the fastest way to get caught too.

If you don’t want to rely on someone else’s scripts/exploits.  Then you need to learn how to Unix, Linux, OSX and Windows operating systems work.  The next step is to learn networking, security layers. That should be enough for you to write your own scripts.

After that, you may want to check cryptography and pretty much every other topic taught in a computer science department.   

Advanced Programmer (Hacker)

If you’re an engineer, you will have all the skills we just mentioned. In fact, most hackers are engineers and the first thing they start with is developing new modules for metrasploits which qualifiers as hacking. 

Once you’re able to make your own metrasploits, you can do pretty much whatever you want: virus , worms, browser exploits, email client buffers, etc.  You will need an insane amount of programming knowledge across all programming languages though and for that you need a machine capable of hosting a very roburt development enviroment (IDE) which usually means a Core i5/Ryzen 5 CPU w/ at least 8-16GB RAM.

The next step is to simulate a local web server (the host) for you to test your malicious code. This is real hacking.

What does that mean for computer hardware? This means being able run the target OS in a virtual machines…which also implies a good amount of RAM (8GB). CPU and storage is not a concern.

Stealthy Real Rogue Hacker 

This is the real deal and this is what will get you to jail, these guys no longer toy around small networks but corporations and institutions even from the government. 

The first step for these guys is to enter the target unnoticed usually as an employee and then try to get  one of the typical laptop issued to working employees. Usually they will go after an used laptop too, this is to avoid having people coming up to them and trying to be helpful because he is a “new employee”. That and anything else that will help their camouflage. 

When that’s not possible, then they opt for their laptop to be thin and not bulky because these machines must be connected to the network an entire night trying to crack into it while hidden in a stack of papers.

When going into full attack mode on these places, they will run either Tails or Kali (both linux distros) for that simple reason that once they unplug or unmount the CD/USB (with the Distro on it) every trace/data/evidence will be completely gone from the computer used for hackery.

 

The best hackers in the world go as far as programming in a disposable hardware like a tiny USB/raspeberry Pi which they can have someone manually inject it into a network /server and then have all the data (and passwords) just flow into their rig back in the base. 

Software 

Opearting System: Not Windows!

I remember attending my first technical talk at a hacking conference. There was a problem with the project and the presenter asked the audience if anyone had a Windows Machine he could borrow to run the presentation. 

There was no one in that huge crowed running anything but Mac OSX or a Linux Distro. Many of us started commenting on how innapropiate was for this guy to ask such question and one of us even told him that he was spending way too much time with the layman and business people rather than penn-testers or hackers. 

He then proceded to clarif that he had Mac OSX, Linux OSX and Windows 7 rigs back home but he decided to bring this time his “two-goody” shoe Windows Machine to the conference for unknown purposes. 

The mora of the story is: No hacker in the world uses Windows unless they want to make it clear they are not hackers.

Why Linux?

It’s the only operating system that could be called flexible (you can do whatever you want with it) and the fact that it’s open source whi means you can tailor the Operating System to look and operate as you’d like. Like OSX, it’s also a hybrid OS, which basically means it has both a command line interface (terminal) and a graphical user interface, you can use either to fully operate the system to your liking. It also gives you full control of all the hardware in your computer.  

You don’t need to go as far as making your own Linux Distro though (although advanded hackers do this all the time), there are several readily available Linux Distros tailored hacking and penn testing in mind. These also come with preinstalled software for these purposes. 

Here’s a run down of the most popular “hacking” Linux Distros:

Kali Linux

This is the most popular distro for pen-testing. It was developed by Offensive Security as a re-write of BackTrack many many many years ago and it still tops the list of all operating systems used for (ethical) hacking. 

It’s definitely not the best distro if you’re a newbie. It is very likely to put you on risk as you’ll be be among a group of very skilled hackers so unless you know what you’re doing and know your way in and out of the OS, it will backfire on you and make you super vulnerable to attack vectors.

Someone who knows what’s up with Kali Linux will obliterate someone just starting within a few seconds.

Tails
For illegal tools like NMAP , most hackers install a Distro like Tails. This is because Tails has best degree of anonymity especially when going in Live Mode. 

Cybor Hawk
This is a great alternative to Kali Linux. It’s mainly used for penn testing but because it has an amazing GUI , it makes configuring any rig much much easier so it’s highly recommended for newbies as an alternative to Kali Linux. 

Parrot OS

This is a Debian-based OS developed by Frozen Box’s team. Likewise it is especially designed for ethical hacking, pen testing, computer forensics, cryptography, etc.

BackBox

Likewise, BackBox is an Ubuntu-based Linux Distro mainly used for security assessment and penetration testing.

Samurai Web Testing Framework

Samurai Web Testing Framework is basically a live Linux environment which comes pre-configured for penn testing work especially web based penn testing. 

Other popular distros with very strong points in their own right are:

  • Pentoo Linux
  • DEFT Linux
  • Caine Linux

Ethical hackers and hackers alike will mostly use a laptop that can dual boot Windows and a Linux Distro. Obviously, a penn testing Linux like Para Sec, Ubuntu with Katoolin and those mentioned before
 

What about the software specifically designed for hacking facebook accounts, cracking WEP Wifi Passwords and so on?

I can’t link any malicious software here because I will get into trouble myself. Even if I don’t get into trouble by posting links to malicious software, I will get into trouble after you get caught. 

There’s nothing so special about these software though. They are just scripts, basically lots of code that have a sequence of steps to activate/control a wide variety of computer process happening in the operating system.  These go by the name of:

  • Virus/worms. Do not click the link unless you have an antivirus. 
  • Browser Exploits: Don’t click the link unless you want your entire browsing history published on facebook/reddit. Jk.
  • Email client buffer exploits: Don’t click here if you want everything on your email exposed to the web. :’) 

Hardware for Hacking

There are many options for a hacking computer. 

1. If you are going to hack into computer networks/systems using the internet. 

Whatever hardware you get on a system should be able to support a hacking/pen testing Linux distro (like Kali Linux). This means a computer that has a BIOS to let you boot your own Operating system through an external driver and driver support for integrated devices. This pretty much means any laptop that’s been able to support a Windows System. MacBooks also work but it’s a bit more painstaking to install Linux on them. However, this means you can’t buy ChromeBooks or any other device where a full blown operating system like Windows is unsupported. Don’t forget this device must also support an external wireless card (virtuall all laptops – except those with Chrome OS, will).

2.  If you are just going to write code and program ( M A K E scripts)….

Then a Chrome OS/Mac OSX system will work just as good as any other laptop. In fact, these two laptops will  work best because you can have Chrouton ( Linux Distro for Chrome OS ) on a ChromeBook which should let you have a full blown Linux environment(the best for programming purposes) and well OSX is just a linux variant so you get the same programming environment.

3. If you want to simluate networks to hack into, you need to run several virtual machines. 

This means having a windows system with as much RAM as you can affod and a CPU with as many cores as you can get (8 core CPUs are good for 16 VMs which should be plenty).

4. If you want to develop or rum scripts for password cracking/dictionary attacks.

You want the latest gaming rig with one of the latest gaming GPU onboard.  The more CUDA cores the GPU has, the faster the cracking.

Of course before buying any of the laptops above, you should get started with whatever you got right now. Even if it’s an old dusty rig sitting on a basement, install Linux on it, make it fly and learn all about the basics ,especially how to code/program and how to read applications/networks based on code.   

There’s no point in trying to increase your toolkit without even knowing how to use the one and only screw driver you have 

Let’s talk more about hardware in detail:

CPU

Writing hacks(Programming):

CPU should be the least of your concerns. Most of the software written for hacking by hackers can run on a raspberry pie.

So if you want to get started with ethical hacking and you don’t know how to program yet then just get any modern CPU.

Virtually every modern CPU will have at least 2 cores and more clock speed than you’ll ever need.

I’d recommend at least a modern 8th-12th gen Core i3 CPU or any Ryzen CPU. You don’t have to go for these CPUs but if you want to run a virtual machine (at least one) or if you want to run Windows 10 Home/Windows 11 you’re going to need this much CPU power as it will support 8GB RAM. Celeron Pentium Atoms and any other weaker CPU will do fine if you just want to run Linux on your laptop

Hacking Networks(or Pen-Testing):

Here you are simulating networks through virtual machines, you might go as far as simulating “nested” networks, that is, having a VM inside a VM. 

What you want here is the most powerful CPU you can afford (after maxing out on RAM) and by powerful I’m not talking about speed but rather “number of cores”.

So opt for the highest number of cores you can afford. If you’ve got anywhere 500$, you should be getting at least 4 cores, 700$ 6 cores and 900$ at least 8 cores. Clockspeed isn’t nearly as important these days because most laptops have way too much clock speed for hacking and programing purposes.

Brute Force Password cracking:

Both CPU and GPUs play a role in making dicitonary attacks/password cracking “years faster”. The more cores you have, be it GPU cores or CPU cores, the faster the attacks are. 

The best CPUs and GPUs are found on desktops. In the laptop market, the CPUs w/ the highest number of cores are the Core i9/Ryzen 9 chips and the most powerful GPUs are from the RTX NVIDIA series: RTX 3060, 3070 and 3080
 

*Note however GPUs have a bigger impact on password cracking perfomance as explained in the next section.

GPU

GPU in hacking only comes in handy for cracking passwords (mostly WiFi) with WPA2/PSA like encryptions and parallel processing scripts (dictionary attacks).

If you want the fastest speed for cracking poasswords and dictionary attacks, then get the most recent (or latest) dedicated NVDIA GPUs.

Higher GPUs will have more Cores and faster “clock speeds”. Yes they are designed for applications that require highi graphics processing HOWEVER because they operate with the same idea behind processors (they have “cores” and “clock speeds”), they can act as extra “CPUs” to make computations like brute force password cracking much much faster. 

That doesn’t just apply to brute force password cracking scripts but basically any “highly parallel task”. Basically algorithms/programs that run computations “in parallel”, that is, calculations that do not have to be solved in a step by step manner but rather in “parallel”. As a basic example, think of painting a wall, the more painters you have the faster they’ll finish the job. A step by step process on the other hand is like building a ladder, you have to finish something before you can move to the next step.  

Hackers rarely use password cracking software though…

It’s their last resort. So don’t put too much emphasis on it . You are not going to learn anything about real hacking by cracking passwords either.

However..

When hackers do use cracking password software they will SSH (remote access another computer) into a very powerful desktop with a top of the line GPU (or a stack of GPUs). 

In most cases, they offload all password cracking to cloud-based Linux GPU instances. No single laptop GPU or a stack of GPUs installed on a desktop could ever compete with that.

  • Intel GPUs will have better compatibility with password cracking software available. If the software you have isn’t working, it will probably work if you switch out of your NVIDIA GPU and force the BIOS to use the Intel GPU. Obviously, Intel GPUs are much much weaker however they still make password cracking several times faster than just using a CPU.

RAM

8GB

Hackers are happy with just 8GB RAM. Ethical hackers can do wonders with just 8GB as well. Mainly because 8GB is enough RAM to run at least ONE VM to tinkle with. Remember you need a Linux Distro + Windows Instance.

4GB

If you have a windows based machine, 4GB is just enough to run the Operating System and have a IDE to write code on. Nothing else and that’s actually all you need to become a real hacker. However,  the moment you try to do something else you will lag. 

On the other hand, if you reset the whole system and install Linux instead. 4GB will be plenty to launch several other programs at the same time and even an additional VM (though an extra Linux VM isn’t going to be helpful since most people use Windows).  This is because Linux consumes little resources which leaves a lot of extra RAM roaring free for use.

How is a VM useful for hacking?

Not just for target-simulation purposes but also because they add a good layer of anonymosity and are much much easier to restore.

16GB RAM and More: Pen-Testing

Lastly, for penn-testing purposes, more specifically to run security testing on a entire simulated network, you will need to run several virtual machines for which extra RAM is a must. If you’re running 4-5VMs , 16GB RAM should be plenty. As you get closer to 10-15 VMs, you will need at least 32GB.  This is as much as most laptops will support. However, there are gaming and workstation laptops that can accomodate 64GB though you probably don’t need that much unless you want to run even more VMs.

NetWork Card


If you really want to learn all there is to know about ethical hacking and what hackers do, you will need to buy an external wifi receiver (or adapter) that can support packet injection (this is a big part of hacking).  You’re going to use this to run code that use the adapter to “hack into” other Wifi networks (hopefully your own).

Now,  dual band/tri band AC network cards or the latest WiFi AX (WiFi 6) are the best for getting into WEP secured networks as fast as possible. However, you’re not going to find WEP networks these days. Even your nextdoor neighbor will have his Wifi network using WPA2 encryption. So nothing is going to be cracked quickly.

Design

Hackers usually buy something that’s very portable and easy to destroy. They like laptops that can support an additional hard drive that can be easily removed and then destroyed (for evidence purposes). They will usually NOT install anything on the M.2 Drive which is attached to the motherboard. 

It should also let you switch from one MAC address to another (this is much easier to accomplish with more than one network connection at your disposal). 


Desktop + Laptop

The vast majority of hackers however get a cheap 300$ laptop with tons of battery life like a refurbished MacBook Air (this was the most popular laptop on every convention I have attended, nearly 75% of the auditorium had a MacBook, the other 25% either had a Dell/Lenovo ThinkPad).

Why?

Because they just SSH into their more powerful rigs back home to access virtual machines and have access to different operating systems. Their desktop rigs are equipped with top of the line GPU and CPUs to do all the cracking/run injection packets and every other type of attack that requires a lot of processing power. They use their cheap 300$ MacBook to simply write all the scripts/code they will run back home.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a MacBook,Lenovo or Dell though…

It’s much easier to find good deals on laptops and with modern laptops packing the same good hardware found on the average desktop sold at a computer store. All you really need is a CPU similar in performance to a Core i3/Ryzen 3, a case, an ok PSU (

Plus it’s much easier to get high specs on a laptop than with a laptop. All you need is a Core i3, a case, an ok Laptop Power supply (you don’t want to burn your house going cheap here as it will probably happen with a laptop that’s running code while you’re away), a recent integrated GPU and the rest can be spent on extra RAM (this is the cheapest hardware to upgrade – 15$ bucks will get you an extra 4GB RAM). 

Once a laptop is chosen, they install a Distro like Kali Linux (or any of the other distros mentioned before , they will all have more or less the same pre-installed software you will use).

Now that’s for ETHICAL HACKERS.

On the other hand, criminals use whatever device they can get their hands on because they have to trash it later for evidence purposes. 

In fact, real hackers, actually build their own. They have to design them with enough power to do all the stuff they have in mind and yet cheap enough as they will be destroyed sooner or later. 

Last Comments

For more specialized tasks, you will find yourself looking at    FPGA boards or software defined radios, but don’t worry about those things until you deep dive into this field.

Anyways, this info is all over the web, not necessarily on the first page of the search engines but it’s still there. If you don’t find the info you want through search engines.

Just look up “Ethical Hacking” and even udemy will have tons of courses for it. They’re usually courses taught by guys who got caught and eventually went to jail but worked out a plea deal with the Feds (kind of like the movie “Catch me if you can” ), so they’re definitely teaching all the good stuff.

The same goes to you : unless you’re really good, or really lucky, you will eventually get caught.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.