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Basic Hacking Laptop Suggestions?


MrJaMilne
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Hi,

I am a complete noob to everything ever so just please bear with me.

I want to buy myself a basic laptop which will allow me to begin learning to hack - I have a strong knowledge of computers and want to learn Internet security and pentesting properly. I have a £450-£500 budget and I maybe can push it if needed. I want to be running Kali Linux on it and I will be partitioning a drive to get to that. I was hoping for a 15.6" screen, i5, 8gb RAM and a 1TB HDD with as much battery life as possible. I have seen normal laptops with this for £400 so I think I can get this. My real question is if there are any things I will NEED to get me started; for example I know certain wireless cards make pentesting much easier but I don't know which models or which laptops contain them (I was hoping not to buy an external one). I guess if need be I can change a wireless card but I would like to stay away from fiddling with internals.

Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

MrJaMilne

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Just some things to think about...

2 or more wireless NICs thaat support monitor mode and injection.

Decent cpu for doing stuffs

Bluetooth adapter

NFC adapter

RFID reader/writer

Edited by Sildaekar
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You say two or more wireless cards; why more than one? and do you have any specific cards or laptops with these cards in mind?

I have thought about the CPU and as I said I was hoping for an i5.

with a bluetooth adapter do you just mean a bluetooth 'card' as I'm pretty sure most stock laptops come with one

as for NFC and RFID - why would I need those?

Thanks,

MrJaMilne

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You say two or more wireless cards; why more than one?

Why does the wifi pineapple have more than one? It allows certain things, that if you want to learn, will be most helpful.

As for a laptop, an older Dell XPS can work well with a shot of ram in it, slightly newer one, say a Lenovo of some sort, thinkpad T400 or T500 should do also. Second hand they don't cost the earth and can take up to 8gigs of ram, if not more.

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Buy a used Thinkpad T420 for £130 up the RAM from the stock 4GB to 8GB, replace the HDD with a 1TB WD Blue mobile HDD, and buy two extended life batteries from China. Whole thing will cost you £250. I'd leave Windows 7 on it and then stick on VMware, and then drop some money on a cheap TPLink 2.4/5GHz card. Then save up a little to buy a bladeRF for £275.

Upping memory and replacing a hdd is very easy.

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I want to buy myself a basic laptop which will allow me to begin learning to hack - I have a strong knowledge of computers and want to learn Internet security and pentesting properly.

Okay, that... requires a computer but not necessarily a laptop. Hell, you could do this with 2 Raspberry Pi's.

When you buy a laptop, you do so because of its portability. For everything else it's playing second fiddle to a regular PC, particularly when it comes to bang for buck metrics which is one area where it seems you're struggling.

I want to be running Kali Linux on it

Why?

Because you are already familiar with it?

Because 'people' said that was what you should be doing?

and I will be partitioning a drive to get to that.

Bzzzzrt! Red flag.

The way you wrote this suggests you expect multiple harddisks in your device which makes laptops an even less likely option since they often lack the space for this.

Unless of course you never before bothered to install Linux during which you would've noticed that you always make multiple partitions for installation meaning you're a Linux noob aswell, which is fine in and of itself, but it means you shouldn't be running Kali just yet.

I was hoping for a 15.6" screen, i5, 8gb RAM and a 1TB HDD with as much battery life as possible.

Again, why?

Is there something you can't do with a smaller screen? You can't get laid with anything less than an i5? OpenSSH requires more than 4 GB to run? You can't do pentesting without your movie collection on stand-by?

any things I will NEED to get me started

What you NEED is to specify in excruciating detail just what it is you want to do and how you feel certain characteristics of your future machine will help you achieve that.

Example:

I want to learn all about penetration testing. That means I need 2 machines, 1 from which I'll do the attacking and 1 which will be the target. Since I'll be doing this from the safety of my own home and I want to learn rather than pop a box as quickly as possible because the cops are coming, I've decided to use virtualization software like VirtualBox so I can run both attacker and target on the same machine.

Because VirtualBox runs best with lots of memory to play with I'll need at least 8GB of ram in there but if more is possible that would be best.

While I'm in no hurry, I don't want to spend the rest of my life waiting for the screen to refresh, so I'm thinking a quad-core Intel CPU which would mean an i5 such as the 4460 which has the benefit of on-board graphics adapter so I won't have to buy that separately.

I'll need sufficient storage to run everything and assuming about 50 GB per virtual host and that again for the main host I want at least 500 GB so I can keep a number of installs around on stand-by. SSD would be nice but since I'm on a budget I'm guessing I should go for regular HDD.

I also want to test wireless attacks against machines. I understand this basically means I need 2 wifi adapters, 1 for the attacker and 1 for the target. That'll probably mean I'm best off with 2 USB adapters, but if people have recommendations on the chipset for these adapters, I'd be all ears. The devices will be attached to the same machine so range doesn't really matter. Attacking capability on one of the cards obviously does though.

Please try again.

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You say two or more wireless cards; why more than one? and do you have any specific cards or laptops with these cards in mind?

I have thought about the CPU and as I said I was hoping for an i5.

with a bluetooth adapter do you just mean a bluetooth 'card' as I'm pretty sure most stock laptops come with one

as for NFC and RFID - why would I need those?

Thanks,

MrJaMilne

All of the things I suggested is because if you want to learn then (depending on what attack vectors you plan on focusing on) you will need them.

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Any laptop that runs linux will work really. You don't need anything fancy. Most wireless will work now, though if you need injection you might need a usb adapter for that. Take a look at Ubuntu's known good hardware lists for laptops that work. If Ubuntu will run, Kali will run.

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Hi again,

I couldn't message as there is a limit for newbies (2 per day). I am sorry for not specifying yesterday - as I said please cut me some slack!

I want to buy myself a laptop as I already have a gaming desktop however it runs on windows 8.1 and I would like to keep it that way: I have heard that windows 8.1 is a pain to hack on especially for learning but I may use it for bruteforcing if needed as it is a beast. I will be using this computer as a victim for various tests along with my neighbours who has kindly allowed me to use his windows 7 laptop when I need to - it is on another network so that will come into play later. I do also want portability in this new computer i'm getting - maybe to use it for work related things. I want to be running Kali Linux on it as 'people' did say it is easiest to use when learning pentesting - if you have any other suggestions feel free to share. When I said I will be partitioning a drive I mainly stick by that - with a 1TB HDD I don't see any problems but I may even just install only Linux. I was hoping for 15.6" screen and all the rest as I wanted it to be a nice all round computer as well as being able to hack. Once again; are there any special things I will NEED such as a funky wireless card? After some research I think this would be a great option: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-G50-15-6-inch-Laptop-Black/dp/B00LLE6QS4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1433620224&sr=8-3&keywords=i5+laptop and I may even be able to get a good deal as I have a mate who is high up in Lenovo. I realise that maybe the wifi card wont do so I am happy to replace it with a better internal one which has support for airodump-ng and so on if I am sure I won't run into driver issues and whatnot. If anyone has any suggestions on what card/laptop combo I should get or if there are any cards which will fit that laptop nicely I would love to hear. I would also like to know if having a stock computer with a custom wifi card will allow me to learn pentesing.

Thanks,

MrJaMilne

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00PITY1MG/ref=dp_olp_refurbished?ie=UTF8&condition=refurbished would be a better option.

Lenovo ThinkPad T510, Core i7, Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, 8GB DDR3 Memory, 240GB SSD = £384.00

Only good Lenovo are the Thinkpads, nearly everything else they do is bottem feeder consumer trash, built to a very low standard.

Edited by metatron
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Okay - Would I need to upgrade the Wireless card on that or would it be fine stock? If so then how could I upgrade it; could it be an internal upgrade or would I have to get a USB wifi card?

Thanks

Go with usb. Some laptops won't boot with a third party wifi card.

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Since you mention brute forcing I'd say make sure the graphics card is supported by the cracking programs, not sure but don't think they all are, especially cheaper ones. Using the gpu can really speed up cracking.

For the rest I don't think you need a beast of a machine to learn.

You can't get laid with anything less than an i5?

you can!??

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I have a high end Nvidia card which im pretty sure will be supported; I am hoping to buy the thinkpad T510 ASAP (thanks for the suggestion). My only question now is which USB wireless card should I get? an Alfa? Wifi Pineapple?

Thanks

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you can!??

My personal experience is that you can get laid with a 486DX2-66 with 8MB of ram and a staggering 1gigabyte harddrive (running the very latest Windows 95 no less)!

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Since you mention brute forcing I'd say make sure the graphics card is supported by the cracking programs, not sure but don't think they all are, especially cheaper ones. Using the gpu can really speed up cracking.

For the rest I don't think you need a beast of a machine to learn.

you can!??

It's a good way to catch your laptop on fire.

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When you review this thread you'll notice multiple brands being suggested as well as more generic advice about what your future laptop would preferably be equipped with to make it better suited to your needs. I think you should now research those suggestions, make a shortlist from the options available that are still within your budget and either pick from that yourself directly, or ask us an opinion on each of the specific devices on that shortlist (and in that case do mention for each why you think that one works well for you, so we understand your reasoning).

In the end it's going to be your money, spent by you for a product you're probably going to have to make work for you for the next year or 2 (3...4...). I for one would greatly appreciate it if you showed a little more involvement in the process.

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Lets get our school on ;)

You have a budget, are you studying or is this a side hobby?

Are you dedicated? How much time have you spent playing thus far or following the scene? What was the motivator to jump in and buy some kit?

All good questions to ask yourself.

You mentioned you are interested in https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PITY1KI/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_8i-Dvb9GCWQSK ?

how about sharing with us why this one appeals to you? what do You think its strengths weakness's may be?

At the end of the day we can all suggest kit but its not the tool its the tradesman.

Me personally, I have a shitty old dell 2 core something laptop and an optiplex 780 desktop in the lab that work a charm, maybe id need more power if working with decryption or something but for now its sufficient and keeps the i5 free for Kerbal Space program !;)

All the best mate

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