For example, network hacking, operating system hacking, website hacking, malware deployment.

Pardon my inexperience, but these seem like they require very specific skill-sets and labelling them all as 'Hacking' feels too broad.

Are there standard subfields of computer hacking? (I don't mean the white/grey/black hat types of hackers themselves). If so, what are the details of each?

  • 3
    If you replace "hacking" with "security" it becomes apparent that every "sub-field" of technology has a security aspect to it. For any technology there are people who "hack" it.
    – Arminius
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 1:17
  • This questions is way too broad and subject to debate. But here, check out this answer and this /r/netsec wiki post
    – Azteca
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 6:13
  • I think you have an incorrect understanding of what 'hacking' means. Any system that exists can be 'hacked', so every system becomes a 'sub-field'.
    – schroeder
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


Most security Capture the Flag competitions ('hacking competitions' if you will), assign challenges a few different categories:

  • Forensics
  • Exploitation
  • Reverse engineering
  • Network
  • Cryptography
  • Misc / Programming

If you're looking for a broad overview I'd recommend reading Hacking: The Art of Exploitation which covers each of the above and provides practical exercises.

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