What’s the Best Laptop For Hacking 2023 (Cyber Security) – Tutorial & Tips

Intros out the way. Let’s get to the point .

The best laptop for hacking needs to look like this:

This is what a laptop for hacking looks like.

In fact, it needs to look cooler. It’s all about having them antennas sticking out and the skull stricker on the back cover.

Enough joking.

Why is this post titled Cyber Security?

Because black hat , malicious and criminal hacking  is pretty much the same thing as white hat hacking & penetration testing. The difference is the latter is used for people , hackers, hired by companies to find and fix security gaps within their networks to stop malicious hackers like you from taking them down. 

We cannot write a post encouraging you to learn malicious hacking.  That’s only asking for trouble.

This is why Cyber security is on the title. You can call it an excuse to talk about hacking and the hardware you need for it.

What else will you find in this post?


Assuming you are not a real hacker or even a newbie hacker yet. 

I’m going to make it as we go it’s all about knowledge and not so much about hardware. 

If you do become good at hacking (I’ll include some tips throughout the post), you can do some serious hacking even with a rasberry pie.

No, it’s not something you eat. It’s the name they use for a computer.

The the tiniest computer mostly used by those learning robotic engineering.

The point is…it doesn’t matter what computer or laptop you use.


That doesn’t mean good hardware does not make hacking easier and faster. It does of course! It can speed up some scripts and massively reduce the time it takes to hack into something.

Before we get to the details, let me clarify something:

Everything you find here is for informational purposes only. We do not encourage you to become a malicious hacker and we are not responsible for the repercussions

Use the information here to hack into computers that you’ve been given the green flag for. This is called ‘ethical hacking’. You can later on use all this knowledge to work against criminal hackers as a penn tester or as someone in the cyber security business which do get an awesome salary by the way. 

Best Laptop Specs for Hacking

Before we talk about the hardware, let me tell you the kind of ‘apps’ and ‘tasks’ you’ll be using and running as a hacker or penn-tester so you can understand why I favor some hardware specs and why I picked the laptops in this post.  You can find more details in the last section but here’s the summary:

1. Virtual machines: It’l be usually Windows + Kali Linux when you get started the move on to nested networks (virtual machines on top of virtual machines) or several VMs at once. This is the thing that will require you to spend a lot of money on RAM & CPU cores.

2.  Programming Languages: Virtually all laptops have the hardware to run code and learn programming. Since you have to move onto a Linux Distro at some point, it’s better to build a machine that can support Linux too.  

3. Data crunching (Ex: for cracking passwords): This is optional and this is the easiest form of hacking. I’m talking about running the scripts obviously not making them, that’s not easy at all. Anyways, the scripts will perform the job faster if you have more GPU cores or the fastest CPU you can afford. 

16-32GB: Enough for everything including virtual penetration testing labs with +10 VMs.
8GB: If getting started this much will be fine with this much (again Kali Linux + Windows = 2 virtual machines = 6GB RAM).

Again Kali Linux + Windows 11 doesn’t require a lot of power. Any recent Intel Core or Ryzen  CPU will do (most are quad core).
Advanced: For simulation of labs and networks, you’ll need as many corea as possible. 8 is a good number found on “H” High performance Intel and Ryzen CPUs (same ones used for gaming).

GPU (Optional)

All password cracking scripts make use of extra cores especially “GPU Cores”. These are found on dedicated graphics cards. The higher you go in the hierarchy, the faster the script will finish the job:

MX 550 < 1050Ti < 1650 GTX < 1660Ti < 2060RTX < 3060RTX < 3070 RTX < 3080 RTX < 3080Ti

You’re not limited to those (these are the latest) but any graphics card from NVIDIA will have lots (hundreds) of cores for password cracking.

NetWork Adapter
WiFi 6 or latest: helps because you will have compatibility with the most recent WiFi Protocols and also backward compatibility with the older protocols of your targets. I’m talking about hacking into your neighbor’s WEP secured network of course *cough* correction “testing for vulnerabilities”.
Mouse (Not Optional)

You need to be fast when tracking bugs and interacting with the OS (yours or your target) and trackpads are slow.  

 Hackers don’t need a lot of space even if you’re saving tons of hacker software and scripts, 128GB will last you a lifetime

Now be sure your storage is an SSD or any of its variants (eMMC, Flash) . Not only will it make Virtual Machines run faster but unlike the old fashioned hard drives, you won’t be waiting for the spinning needle to run your hacking scripts and finish your hackery. 

Top 5 Best Laptops For Hacking

All of these laptops are nothing special. You can find similar laptops at your local computer store. None of them have Linux installed natively, you’re going to have to do the installation on your own but they all have the hardware we discussed a few moments ago. 

What do makes these laptops different is their build quality & price: they’re good deals and are rock solid (hopefully last you a few years until you do become a real hacker).

They can all run all programming languages hackers use and run several Virtual Machines to practice your hackery on the very same computer (you’ll be simulating networks to hack into with different operating systems and different layers of security).

Laptop # 5 is special: not for hackery but it actually has too much hardware for hacking (probably unncessary) unless you want password cracking to be extremely fast or to write scripts for the latest AAA games and test them on that very same laptop (the latest AAA games require lots of GPU power too).

1. Acer Aspire 5

Cheap Laptop for Hacking

  Intel Core i3-1115G4

  8GB DDR4

  ‎Intel UHD Graphics

  128GB SSD

  15” full HD IPS

  3.64 lbs

  10 hours

    WiF 6 802.11AX

  Windows 11 S (Upgradeable to Windows 11 Home)

The most basic cheap and useful laptop for hacking.


Unlike last year’s version or several other models you’ll find under 350 dollars, this one has  RAM already upgraded to 8GB which is a MUST to run Windows 11 with zero lag , multitask with all IDEs you may use to learn programming and most importantly you will still have RAM left to run a virtual machine and host Kali Linux on it.

If you’re at some point going to develop your very own scripts and maybe even software to hack the systems you’re interested in, this is as much hardware you’re going to need. Remember the rule 8GB RAM + modern CPU + Latest WiFi Protocol.

GPU: Intel UHD

Do NOT spend money on dedicated graphics UNLESS you already have access to very good password cracking scripts because by the time you learn how to make your own, your laptop will die out (takes several years as a minimum to learn).

Acer Aspire 5
  • 8GB RAM out of the Box
  • Supports Kali Linux (VM)
  • Late gen 11th Core i3
  • Portable
  • Latest WiFi card
  • Long Battery
  • Free tookkit for upgrades
  • Bloatware
  • Long set up process (For Windows 11)
  • Short battery when running 3D apps

2. Lenovo Ideapad i3 

Budget Laptop For Hacking

  Intel Core i3 1215U 6 cores

  8GB DDR4 

  ‎Intel UHD Graphics

  512GB SSD 

  15” full HD IPS


  8 hours

  WiFi 6 

  Backlit + Fingerprint Scanner

  Windows 11 Home

Lenovo laptops are for the most part the most compatible laptops you’ll find for Linux Distros thus they are a better choice for penn-testing, cyber security and real hacking. The reason why it’s not listed first , it’s mostly down to price and the fact that the Acer Nitro works well already.

Linux: Hardware Compatibility 

I’d invest on this laptop if you see yourself advanced within the first few months because you’ll need better Linux Compatibility with several Distros (I list them in the last section) and every piece of hardware from Lenovo usually has drivers ready to go and function in most distros.

Of course, the most common distros like Kali and Ubuntu will work right out of the box. In fact, you can set up a dual-boot system (that means no virtual machines to host Linux but rather run it natively in the system) and it will still be compatible with every piece of hardware including the WiFi Card & most trackpads (which are usually the two pieces of hardware that do not work so well with Linux on Windows laptops). 

GPU: Intel Xe Graphics 64 EU

This laptop has the latest of the latest Intel Core CPUs (12th generation) and that means it also boasts the best integrated graphics and the latest ones actually do have some extra ‘CORES’ for parallel processing like password cracking. This isn’t going to make password cracking as fast as say a 3060RTX (~4500 CUDA Cores) because it only has 64 EU (something like cores) but it’ll definitely act as extra cores (on top of the 12 cores given by the 12th generation Intel Core CPU) to speed up parallel processing tasks (like data analysis scripts basically )  & password cracking scripts better than laptops with CPUs from previous generations.

Also the E-cores within the CPU will let you run at least 3 virtual machines with no lag (as long as they remain iddle) if you up the RAM to 12GB or 16GB.

Lenovo Ideapad i3
  • Latest 12th gen Intel Core i3
  • Supports 32GB RAM
  • Supports more Virtual Machines
  • Latest integrated graphics
  • Large storage capacity
  • Better Linux Compatibility
  • Somewhat expensive
  • Moderately Heavy
  • Average Battery

3. Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 

Best Lenovo Laptop For Hacking

   12th Gen Intel i7-1260P

  32GB RAM DDR5 (Upgradeable to 48GB)

  Intel Iris Xe Graphics


  14” FHD IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits


  10 hours

  Windows 11 Pro

  WiFi 6

Linux: Best Compatibility

The most compatible machines ( by this I mean very specific models) with Linux are two: the Dell XPS series & the Lenovo ThinkPads. Sure, the lenovo we went over it’s going to be more compatible with all Linux Distros used for hacking than any of the laptops around the price range but the Lenovo ThinkPads are going to be compatible with virtually ALL Linux Distros and is one the few that will give you ZERO hardware issues with Ubuntu.

Hardware Customization

The cool thing about the ThinkPads is that there are tons of models and series to choose from, thus you can choose a model based on your budget and based on how much RAM & CPU power you’re going to need.

Unless you are at a point where you are already doing some penn testing (to simulate complex networks through VMs), you probably won’t need more than 16GB RAM. If you are SIGNED UP for a course in penn-testing and you have the budget, then you want to choose the ThinkPad with the largest amount of RAM (this model supports 40-48GB) and as much as SSD storage space you can fit into. 

The CPU becomes important too, you want to pick the CPU with the highest number of cores too. More Cores = more complex networks = better simulations for hacking.

Lenovo Thinkpad T14 Gen 3
  • Most powerful mobile CPU
  • 12 core CPU (16 Threads)
  • Supports 48GB RAM
  • Extremely portable & Lightweight
  • Expensive
  • RAM is soldered

4. Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 4

Best Laptop For Hacking

  Core i5 1235U

  16 DDR4 RAM 

  Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics


mdi-icon name=”monitor” size=”2x” color=”black”] 15.6″ FHD 

  3.8 lbs

  10 hours

    Wifi 6 802.11AX

Cannot afford a high-end ThinkPad but still want to toy around with all Linux Distros for hacking with zero hardware issues? Then I recommend buying the E-series (much cheaper) over the T-series (most popular and expensive).

The E-Series come at least with 8GB RAM so if you choose a model with just 8GB RAM that’ll decrease the price significantly and that’s pretty much how much RAM you need to get started.

They can support though up to 40GB RAM so you can do the upgrade later as you see the need to (when the time comes to run several virtual machines simultaneously). However, what you can’t upgrade here is the CPU , so chose the ThinkPad with the best CPU you can afford.

Now the CPU is not going to help with dictionary attacks or breaking WPA2/PSA encrypted data but it will speed up your workflow when you launch your small (or large) penn-testing labs.

Note: The model featured here is just used an example. You can go ahead and grab older models to save up.

Lenovo Thinkpad E15 Gen 4
  • Latest 12th gen Intel CPU
  • More affordable 
  • Supports 40GB RAM
  • Extremely portable & Lightweight
  • Ideal for several VMs
  • Efficient battery
  • Expensive
  • 8GB Soldered (Must add aditional 32GB = 40GB)

5. Asus Rog Strix Scar 15 

Best Laptop Computer For Hacking

  Intel Core i9 12900H

  16GB DDR5 (Up to 48GB)

   NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti 8GB vRAM


  15.6″ FHD IPS


  2 hours

    Wifi 6 802.11AX

3070RTX GPU: 5888 CUDA Cores

This is probably something you want if you’d like to have fun as you learn how to hack and no it’s not because you get a gaming GPU to play games. It’s because the graphics card here has literally THOUSANDs of CUDA cores (~5000) and those are what you need to run and study password cracking scripts from the web. 
If you do want to develop scripts that are processed in parallel (parallel computing), this is what you want too.

The maximum amount of cores you can get out of the best 12th gen Intel Core CPU or 6th gen Ryzen CPU pales in comparison to how many you can get from NVIDIA GPUs.

If you want to get down to numbers, a GPU with 5000 CUDA cores will run password cracking scripts to hack WPA & PSA networks (5000 GPU Cores / 20 CPU Cores ) approximately ~ 2500 faster.

That’s not all though, gaming laptops (or workstation laptops) like this  ALSO support lots of RAM & Raid Storage, if you pair that with a Core i9 or a Ryzen 9, you’re pretty much maxed out in terms of hardware for penn testing labs and nested networks (for hacking).

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
  • Latest 12th gen Intel CPU
  • Latest 3070Ti GPU
  • 5888 CUDA Cores for parallel processing tasks
  • Portable gaming laptop
  • Latest RAM tech (DDR5)
  • RAM Upgradeable 48GB)
  • Well designed cooling system
  • No camera (actually a good thing)
  • Very Low Battery
  • Very expensive

Warning: Read Before Checking Next Section

Eventually, even if you’re anonymous,  you will GET CAUGHT. No matter how good of a hacker you think are. The only difference is the good ones last longer… Anonymous

Get into ethical hacking instead. You’ll learn all the tricks and schemes hackers but you will use that knowledge for penn testing which is a very very well paid job .

 Hacking: Software & Hardware – Complete Tutorial

The information presented here has been gathered from those years I spent hacking as a hobby and attending hacking conferences. These conferences were ethical hacking talks. You think real hackers gather and promote hackery at a public conference in front of some hotel in New York close to a police station?

I assume you are an absolute beginner to hacking or you barely know how to write a piece of code so to make it much easier to understand I’ll divide this section in three parts:

  • Software used by hackers
  • Types of hackers
  • Hardware for hacking

1. Types of Hackers

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 in a network and hack it. 

They don’t need fancy software for this.

They can do this just by looking at code and just from the code they can tell how the network traffic works and how the applications in it work too.

You don’t need a super computer to look a code. We all know a cheap laptop with 8GB RAM will let you write, edit and see code. 

Linux: A must for all hackers

Chances are,  even that cheap old laptop sitting in your grandmas basement will work just as good as Link’s computers.

That is, if you install Linux on it, which you have to learn at some point anyways:

  • Linux is known to be the lightest OS system and some of the distros are even designed to run fast and well on very very old cheap hardware.
  • That’s not the reason why Linux is used though. It’s basically down to all the programming languages natively installed on Linux and all the packages, resources and the terminal being ready to go and use on Linux systems.
  • Lastly, Linux is provides way better control over your hardware and network ports. Thus if you know what you’re doing, it is very very very difficult for your system to be hacked.



Wikipedia definition of Script Kiddie, the lowest form of hacking.

If you’re still at the script kiddie level you only need a machine that will run Kali or BackBox Linux, which is pretty much any machine.

You are not going to do anything original and you are not going to come up with anything new yourself so you probably don’t need to worry about a high resolution display or keyboard quality, you’ll just be running code you bought  for 10 bucks off a hacking site.

Note: 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.  

If you want to become a hacker, then I would just focus on display, portability and keyboard quality since you’ll be spending most of the time typing, reading and taking your laptop with you everywhere.

Advanced Programmer (Almost Hacker)

The TechLead is someone who could very well be a hacker if he wanted…or maybe he is.

If you’re an engineer, you already have most of the skills you need.

In fact, most hackers are engineers who quit their jobs and usually the first step they take 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 need a good grasp of most of the programming languages out there (it’s easy to learn the rest once you learn one or two).  Again, you don’t need a superb machine to learn all those programming languages. You only need to run an IDE and any IDE will be happy with 8GB RAM.

After you learn how to do your exploits, your next step is to simulate a local web server (the host) to test your malicious code. 

You need to run a couple of virtual machines here (unless you have another computer) to simulate a target OS. A virtual machine can be run on any laptop with 8GB RAM as most CPUs are multi-threaded.

If succesful, I would stop right after the ‘testing part’ because you are one step away from criminal hacking. 

Stealthy Real Rogue Hacker 

This is the real deal.

These guys no longer target small networks but rather large corporations and institutions and even dare to target servers from the government. 

If you want to spot these types of hackers within your company, know the following:

They usually disguise themselves as employees.

This is the easiest way for these hackers to hack a company. They try to get  one of the typical laptop issued to employees. They will go after an used laptop to avoid people coming up to them trying to be helpful because he is the “new employee”. That and anything else that will help their camouflage. 

But they also bring their own laptop which is most of the time thin (not bulky not heavy)  because these machines must be connected to the network overnight to try and hack it while being hidden inside a stack of papers.

When going into full attack mode, they will run either Tails or Kali . These distros can run out of a USB drive which once unplugged deletes every trace/data/evidence from the computer that was used for hackery.

The best hackers in the world can even use a tiny USB computer  or raspeberry Pi which is manually injected into a network or server and then have all the data (and passwords) just flow into their rig back in their base. 

Anonymous doesn’t need to do that though he has to resort to more ‘safe’ schemes which is basically remote accessing their targets through code.


Operating System: Not Windows!

During the first hacking conference I attended. There was a problem with the projector and the presenter asked the audience if anyone had a Windows laptop 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 people started commenting on how innappropiate was for someone like him (supposedly an ex-hacker) to ask such question. One person even stood up and called him out saying he was obviously spending way too much time with the layman and business people rather than penn-testers or hackers. 

He then proceded to clarify that he had Mac OSX, Linux OSX and Windows 7 rigs back home but he decided to bring this time his two-goody shoes Windows laptop to the conference for obvious reasons.

Everyone laughed!

Here’s the lesson: No hacker in the world uses Windows unless they want to make it clear they are not hackers.

Why Linux?

It basically comes down to being a very flexible operating system.

In other words, you can do whatever you want with it and the fact that it’s open source means you can tailor the Operating System to look and operate as you’d like.

Like OSX (mac) , it’s also a hybrid OS, which basically means it has both a command line interface (terminal) and a graphical user interface for you run code.

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.  

Now hackers will usually make their own Linux Distro (anonymous) but you don’t need to do this . There are HUNDERDS of readily to install Linux Distros with hacking and penn testing in mind. They even have preinstalled software and languages for these purposes. 

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

Kali Linux

The most popular distro for pen-testing. 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. 

Not the best distro if you’re a newbie.

The community is filled with advanced hackers so you’ll be vulnerable to attacks. Unless you know what you’re doing and know your way in and out of the OS, it will backfire on you eventually and even attack vector will succesfully hack your system.

Someone who knows how to use Kali Linux will easily hack someone who only has a few months using it. 

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

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

Parrot OS

This is a Debian-based distro developed by Frozen Box’s team. It’s popular for  pen testing, computer forensics, cryptography. In other words, ethical hacking.


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

Samurai Web Testing Framework

A live Linux environment 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

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.

If you google long enough you can find LOTS.

For study purposes, you should look at them as scripts instead of software. Basically try to see them as nothing more than lots of lines of codes that outline a sequence of steps that activate and/or control a wide variety of computer processes to hack a target. Download them, open the files in an IDE or notepad and try to understand the code and go back to it as you learn more and more about programming and hacking.

They 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 basically four types of hacking or practice hacking:

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

You need a system that can support a hacking or pen testing Linux distro (Kali Linux).

It’s proably better even if find a system that lets you access the BIOS to let you boot your own Operating system through an external drive (USB or CD) and supports drivers for integrated devices.

This means virtually every laptop that supports the home or professional version of Windows. You will have issues with all other operating systems natively found on new laptops.

MacBooks are also good after you go through the painstaking process of installing Linux on them. ChromeBooks are tricky, they may or may not support external devices where you can mount an operating system on it or devices like external wireless cards

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

This can be done even on a Chromebook. So any operating system works here. This means that pretty much any laptop is good!

In fact, Chromebooks might be the better choice here as they support Chrouton ( Linux Distro for Chrome OS ) which should let you have a full blown Linux environment (the best for programming purposes).

OSX (Mac) is also a better alternatie than Windows because it is a linux variant so you get the same programming environment and access to a terminal just like you would on a Linux system.

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 afford and a CPU depending on how many virtual machines you want to run. I’d say any modern CPU should let you run at least 4 VMs with no issues.

4. If you want to write and run scripts for password cracking & dictionary attacks.

You want a laptop with a GAMING graphics card on it.  The more CUDA cores the GPU has, the faster the cracking. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.

Again if you are a newbie just get started with whatever you can get right now even if its a laptop you already have. Even an old cheap laptop with the screen falling off is a good start, once you install Linux on it, it wil lfly and you’ll be able to learn all the basics. for hacking

No point increasing the size of your toolkit if you can’t even use the only screw driver you have 


Writing hacks (Coding):

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

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 or Windows 11 you’re going to need a modern CPU that can support  8GB RAM and up to 16GB 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 WILL want to buy in the future for this (not now!) is the most powerful CPU you can afford (after you max out on RAM).

By powerful I mean first FOCUS on  “number of cores” (actually threads) after you’ve chosen a list of CPUs with the same # of threads, you can focus on clock speed.

If you’ve got anywhere 500 dollars, you get 4 cores, 700$ ~ 6 cores and 900$ at least 8 cores. Clockspeed isn’t that important these days because most laptops have way too much clock speed for hacking and programing purposes.

*Update* 12th generation Intel Core CPUs do seem to have the same number of cores than all other CPUs but a lot of these cores cannot support multithreading thus limiting your ability to run more virtual machines. In summary, they’re just as good as 11th gen or Ryzen CPUs if we are talking about # of Threads for virtual machines*


Brute Force Password cracking:

Cores found on the CPU and the GPUs play a role in making dicitonary attacks/password cracking a lot faster. The more cores you have, the faster the attacks are, the faster the attacks, the faster you’ll get access into your target or get the password.

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

Now since the GPUs can have up to 5000 cores and the CPU only has 16 at the most (for password cracking purposes), it is not smart to invest on CPU cores for password cracking but rather GPU cores!

Ex: GPU cores will assist in cracking passwords (mostly WiFi) with WPA2/PSA like encryptions and also run parallel processing scripts (dictionary attacks) much faster.

The more cores you get out of a GPU, the faster the process will be

How is it that the GPU can have so many cores (5000) and the CPU only up to 16?

Easy. CPU cores are built to handle much much complex and a wide variety of data (including graphics). However, GPU cores are designed mainly to run ‘simple’ calculations and graphics data. The point is, you can fit in way more cores in a GPU that can run simple processess.

Their usefulness is not limited to password cracking but any programming task or data ‘crunching task that CAN make use of GPU cores. This is called ‘parallel processing’ and the field behind is referred to as parallel programming.

Hackers rarely use their laptop for password cracking purposes though…

It is their last resort. Because it are very risky.

They will instead  do the password cracking through SSH . This means remotely using a very powerful desktop with a stack of GPUs.

Most of the time, however, they will offload all password cracking tasks to cloud-based Linux GPU instances which is way way way faster than a desktop or a laptop with a stack of GPUs.

Note: Intel GPUs will have better compatibility with password cracking software you’ll find online.

If the software you are using does not work, it probably has to do with the dedicated GPU (NVIDIA) being used by default. The solution is to go to the BIOS and force the BIOS to use the iGPU or just go to the display settings and force the app you’re running to use the iGPU.

Although Intel (integrated) GPUs are several times less powerful than a mid-range dGPU, they will still crack passwords way faster than just relying on the CPU



Hackers are happy with just 8GB RAM. Ethical hackers can do wonders with just 8GB as well.

Mainly because 8GB is enough to run at least ONE VM to run Linux with. Remember you need a Linux Distro, whether it’s through a virtual machine or a virtual machine.


If you have a windows system (home or professional), 4GB is barely enough RAM to run a windows operating system (10 or 11) and an IDE. 

Although that’s all you need to get started with hacking. The moment you try to do something else like running a VM for Linux, you will lag. 

If you can only afford a system with 4GB RAM, just delete what’s already in the system and install Linux instead. 4GB is plenty RAM to run an additional VM on Linux and an IDE and a few more programs.

How is a VM useful for hacking?

They’re not only useful for home labs (target simulations) but also because they add a layer of anonymosity and are much much easier to restore (you can save them on a USB drive and restore all your data on another computer).

16GB RAM and More: Only for Pen-Testing

Lastly, for penn-testing purposes, to run security testing on a entire simulated network, you will need to run several virtual machines .

If you’re running 4-5VMs , 16GB RAM should be plenty. As you get closer to 10-15 VMs, you will need at least 32-40GB. 

High-end 17 inch gaming and workstation laptops can accomodate 64GB but it is unlikely you’ll ever need this much. 

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 which will use this adapter to “attack” other WiFi networks. 

Dual band or tri band AC network cards (like the latest WiFi AX or WiFi 6) are the best for getting into WEP secured networks quickly but you’re not going to find WEP networks these days. Even your neighbors will use a WiFi network with WPA2 encryption. So nothing is going to be cracked quickly.


Hackers buy something that’s very portable and easy to destroy. They like laptops that can support an additional hard drive and make it easy to remove (to be destroyed later for evidence purposes).

They will NOT install anything on the M.2 Drive (built-in) which is attached to the motherboard for obvious reasons.

They will also switch from one MAC address to another (super easy if you have more than one network connection). 

Desktop + Laptop

The vast majority of hackers get a cheap 300 dollar laptop with a lot of battery life like a refurbished MacBook. In fact, the MacBook 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.


Because they can 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….

All you need is a Core i3, 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).

Then 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 or those learning how to become a hacker.

Criminals hackers use whatever device they can get their hands on because they have to trash it later for evidence purposes. 

Some even go as far as building their own. They design them with enough hardware to do all the stuff they have in mind and make it cheap enough at the same time so that they can be destroyed later for evidence purposes. 

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 after a year or two.

Anyways, this info is all over the web, not necessarily on the first page of the search engines but it’s still there (you may have to go through the last pages of google).

If you need more info, just look up “Ethical Hacking”.

Even udemy will have a lot of free courses about it.

What you’ll find on youtube though are usually lectures given 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. Study hacking for penn testing purposes instead, lots of money and you can call yourself a hacker too!

Author Profile

Miguel Salas
Miguel Salas
I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.

Miguel Salas

I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons