Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Black Hat Python

By Stephen Northcutt
Version 1.0

Black Hat Python by Justin Seitz

Another incredible python book. The reference operating system is Kali Linux, available from There were several highlights for me. One was a replacement for Netcat. NC is the Swiss army knife of penetration testing so a good number of system/network administrators remove it from their systems. But they will sometimes leave Python. Justin provides a fairly complex program to duplicate the basic functionality.

In order to exfiltrate info it might be wise to encrypt it to make keyword detection harder. SSH can be a good choice, but most Windows boxes do not have an SSH client, not even Putty. The author provides a fascinating discussion on how to build and use Paramiko. In a related topic, the book has a great section on SSH tunneling.

A section I found quite sobering was how to steal email credentials. That takes spear phishing to the next level.

There is an entire web server section with multiple scripts including an interesting discussion on Burp. And even a GitHub Trojan. As we say in Hawaii, this book will get you chicken skin.

I am going to stop here with details and jump to the bottom lines. One thing struck me was how timeless many of the programs are. With a minor tweak or two many of these programs will at least a ten year shelf life and that is rare for a security book. Obviously cyber operators and penetration testers can benefit from the book. If you are a security architect or senior system administrator you might want pick up a copy, it helps show you how an advanced attacker might be able to break in, remain undetected and exfiltrate information.