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Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play: Part 1

Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play Part 1

Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play: Part 1


Every aspiring hacker should delve into the world of hacking simulation games, these games aren’t just a way to kill time and avoid study, but often an excellent way to sharpen your hacking skills. There are a wide variety of hacking games out there, but all good ones use the principles of hacking and often a lot of hacking skill and technique, meaning you can put your skills to practice.


The main complaint about hacking simulation games in the industry is that many of them have little to do with hacking, instead using the word “hacking” to inspire sentiments of mystery and intrigue rather than providing legitimate practice and principles. In this list we’ll look at the top hacking simulator games currently available so you can pick those that best suit your experience or goals.


  1. Hack the Box

In number one spot we have Hack the Box. The online platform (not really a game) is focused around testing your penetration testing skills and also gives you a platform to share advice and ideas with other hackers. Hack the Box contains several realistic challenges, some of them based on real world scenarios, that are frequently updated.


When you start , several machines are available to hack, you hack machines to gain points to improve your rank. The hackable machines range from easy to hard so there’s something for hackers of all levels, and always new challenges to keep you busy.

If you’re interested in starting the game, you need to solve an entry-level challenge where you hack the invite code. The idea behind this is that if you can’t hack the invite code, you won’t be able to progress much in the game.

Very professional platform, a lot of fun to work on the machines, labs, challenges and endgame, definitely recommended 10/10.


  1. NITE Team 4

The game’s Training Boot Camp incorporates real life cybersecurity techniques such as information gathering, port scanning, fingerprinting, exploit research attack strategy, digital forensics and even more. There are 25 certificates to earn in the final game. The academy is designed to be fun but also accessible even if you have never used a terminal in your life.

In the game you take the role of a hacker hired by a particular government and join war theaters where you complete tasks to help the government. There is a mission hub where you can pick the missions that interest you and check your progress. You can even join teams with other players in order to solve the game’s complex puzzles.

The game is offers something for everyone, people who prefer single player, multiplayer and hackers of different skill levels. There is a strong community aspect of the game, for example you collect files through your missions that have difficult puzzles to solve hidden within them. These puzzles are intricate and may require internet searches or help from the community, giving the sense that you’re all working together.

As well as probing and jacking computers remotely, hackers will get to send out a military unit for field work, which is an intriguing combination.


  1. Hackmud 

Hackmud is a text-based multiplayer hacking simulator for intel-compatible PCs. In the game you journey through puzzles to solve and protected systems to crack as you explore the abandoned internet of the future. One key aspect of the game is protecting your winnings from other players through code, since your winnings can be stolen by other players.

You aren’t thrown straight into the deep-end, the game involves a single player tutorial so you can get to grips with the decaying internet and the cracking and coding required. After you complete the tutorial, you are thrown into the multiplayer sandbox. Explore scripts created by other players and create your own. Build tools and forge alliances, or lay traps and break bonds.

If you likes games like Uplink and Hacknet then you should definitely try this game.

It begins with a 3-4 hour single player tutorial which is really well done and teaches you the ropes in a clear way – while still being entertaining – before throwing you into an imposing, and initially impenetrable, multiplayer version.

Without guidance this monster of a game would be impossible to comprehend, especially for someone like me whose only experience with hacking is watching WarGames with Mathew Broderick when I was a kid. Fortunately, hackmud has an amazing community.”


  1. Uplink

In this hacking strategy game, you play an agent and it’s your job to make a living by performing jobs for major corporations. This involves various professional hacker feats such as hacking into rival company systems, stealing high value research data, sabotaging other companies, erasing evidence, laundering money or framing innocent people.

As you move through the espionage and sabotage tasks you earn money, which you can then use to upgrade your computer systems and buy new software and tools to improve your abilities and move through the levels. As your level increases you will unlock more dangerous and profitable missions. The game is very versatile, giving you the option to explore many avenues, for example you can manipulate the stock market, or divert people’s bank account funds into your own, or design an extremely deadly computer virus.

It’s very straightforward and a damn good hacking sim. Easy learning curve but with more and more challenging jobs as the game progresses and you decide to take them and the risks associated or stay small and play smart.


That sums up part 1 of our top hacking simulator games, in part two we’ll look at four more excellent hacking simulator games that successfully cross genuine hacking skills and a lot of fun.

Part II is here


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Hacknet Review


While the hacker-sim genre tends to hide in the shadows a little bit, there’s always that one game that gets more mainstream attention. For this genre, that game is Hacknet. It was first released in 2015 and an expansion was released the following year which is one you’ll need to purchase if you want to play it.


The story of Hacknet is relatively simple, the player is contacted by a user called “Bit” through an automated message sent in the event of their death. Bit also teaches you the game mechanics before telling you to join a hacker group called “Entropy”. To be honest, the story isn’t very important in this game so you really don’t need to pay attention to it. Gameplay takes the centre stage in Hacknet.


If you’re new to hacking or just want to see what it’s all about without needing much education then Hacknet is perfect for you. This game includes ‘real hacking’ which means it uses real Unix commands that are similar to what you would use for hacking. It essentially simulates hacking through the Unix terminal and file system. If you don’t know what Unix is, it’s the current family of operating systems written in the C programming language which is just a convenient programmer software. For an example of it, when you check your ping on your Windows computer you need to access the “Command Prompt” right? That is Unix.


Hacknet is definitely a special game, it’s one of the first to teach gamers some hacking skills and even has the potential to introduce new hackers to the Unix terminal within a safe environment. There’s no chance of causing any harm to your computer because you’re exploring hacking techniques inside a video game.


Sadly, however, if the hacking gameplay doesn’t ensnare you then there’s not much else that might be of interest. The game can feel like a fancy text adventure at times so if you find yourself getting lost or distracted from the game then it could just be there’s not enough ‘action’ to keep yourself entertained. In that case, you could take a look at Debugger 3.16: Hack’n’Run which uses real coding in a more action orientated game.


If the ‘slow’ and ‘limited’ gameplay doesn’t bother you, then chances are you’ll love Hacknet. The immersion is wonderful, especially in fullscreen mode (ideally you should only play it in this mode) and it can get a little addicting at times. Due to the style of the game, it’s even possible to forget it’s fiction so be prepared for the adrenaline. Hacknet is a work of fiction though so you’re not actually doing anything potentially illegal even if that thought does pop into your head from time to time.


Hacknet is controlled though a text based console where you do the hacking and also a graphical interface that almost seems like a desktop at times. You need to gain superuser privileges for different computers throughout the game which is done by scanning the computer to see how protected it is then running software to defeat those protections. There is also a time restriction for a lot of the game, you need to act quickly to get access to the target computer or get the game over screen. If you run out of time, then you are given one last chance by hacking their ISP and changing their IP address. At least you’re given one last chance then.


I do need to point out that there are moments in the game that might ensue panic. For example, there is a revenge hacker in the game that will hunt you down which isn’t concerning it itself but then the game will give you the blue screen of death. Instant panic until you realise it’s just the game messing with you. That being said, there are a lot of great moments in this game which really makes it stand out. Hacknet will definitely be one of your most memorable plays this year.


Later in the game, things will become more difficult when some parts of the computer are removed forcing you to rely on only the commands. Better hope you know the commands then. Hacknet is clearly a well thought out title with some very clever moments to modify the difficulty over time.


Perhaps the biggest problem with Hacknet is the fact that there’s a huge number of files in the game and most of them are not actually needed. They are there for comedy value and some of them even cause the game to freeze forcing you to soft reset it. There’s even the potential to abuse the “dc” command to get around moments when you fail to beat the timer. It’s a little frustrating to see but that doesn’t stop Hacknet from being an amazing game.


Hacknet gives you an interactive hacking simulation that isn’t very common in video games. It’s as close to the real thing as we’ll probably get in video games and is a great game as well giving you plenty of reasons to pick this title up.

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Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play: Part 2


Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play: Part 2. Welcome back to our Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Hacker Should Play. For part two we’ll focus on some more highly reclaimed hacking games, chosen by players, for players. We try to pick the games most popular with the player base, but also games we think match what our gamers are after.

Most avid hacking games fans want a game that pushes their technical skills and knowledge, providing a challenge, but also a game that is fun and engaging with a versatile style of play. If you’re following this list you are sure to find something the piques your interest no matter what your skill level.


Its also a goal of ours to cater to aspiring hackers of all levels. After all, even the most seasoned hackers and penetration testers started somewhere, and we want to create an environment inclusive of those learning and finding their feet industry.


  1. Hacknet 

Hacknet has become a very popular hacking game since it came on the market three years ago and has now been played by over 1.4 million people! The game is a highly immersive terminal-based hacking simulator for PC.

The game takes you on a journey through the instructions of a recently deceased hacker, who left the instructions before he died under suspicious circumstances. As you delve deeper into the game there are mysteries to solve and secrets to explore as you hack your way through the stories unraveling.

The game prides itself on providing a real-world hacking experience, not a Hollywood style hacking mission. The game uses actual UNIX commands which adds to this. Major themes in the game are the nature of personal privacy and the prevalence of corporate greed.

This game is very, very good. On the surface it seems like a hacking game somewhat in the style of games like Uplink, but with a huge amount of polish. However, when you actually get in to it, it’s better described as a really clever puzzle game with a very compelling story

You can find out more or buy the game here.


  1. PicoCTF (Free!)

PicoCTF is a computer security game that consists of a series of challenges set around an immersive storyline, and even better, its free! The game says its targeted at middle and high school students, and only over 13s are eligible to play.

They run annual hacking competitions so you can test your skills, unfortunately the 2018 competition has just ended, but you can sharpen your skills in time for 2019. If you are in the age group eligible to apply, the prizes are also impressive, first prize is $5000, second prize is $2500, the prize money continues to decrease, but even those who come in 6th-10th place get $250.


It was a lot of intense programming…but the end result was amazing.


  1. Bandit (Free)

This game, unlike most of the others on list, is aimed at complete beginners, those of you who have always wanted to try hacking or a hacking-based game but fear you lack the technical skills, this game should help bridge the gap. The Bandit Wargame has 34 levels and you start at level 0, working your way up through the levels by completing challenges.


There is a fair amount of learning involved in this game, in order to raise your skill level significantly through the game. On the site for the game it says:

You will encounter many situations in which you have no idea what you are supposed to do. Don’t panic! Don’t give up! The purpose of this game is for you to learn the basics. Part of learning the basics, is reading a lot of new information.


Although there is a learning curve, there’s also lots of help along the way and encourages you to use Google if you get really stuck. This game is also free and really is an excellent resource to hackers just starting out on their hacking journey.


  1. RingZer0 Team Online CTF (Donate)

RingZer0 Team’s online CTF offers you tons of challenges designed to test and improve your hacking skills through hacking challenges. As you complete challenges you can move your way through the rankings against other users also completing the challenges. If you need help or fancy a bit of socialising, you can also join the games Slack channel. For those of you who don’t know, Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool, that offers chatrooms, private groups and direct messaging.


The games and challenges are free to play, but the developer does ask that you consider donating to the website if you like the content. If you donate your name appears on a list of users that have contributed to the site, allowing it to purchase new hardware and create more challenges.

The developer started the game in his garage

I started this website in 2014 hosting everything in my garage (Picture here).


If you enjoy the game and play regularly, you can even get certified. The site says:

Super simple get at least 1000 points and you will receive your official badge and certification. The RingZer0 Certified Elite Hacker (RCEH) certification is a highly technical certification. Anyone holding the RCEH title is a highly skilled hacker.



So that concludes part 2 of our Top Hacking Simulator Games Every Aspiring Hacker Should Play. We hope you’ve found the game that you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for a hacking game that feels like you’re hacking in the movies, are a more realistic hacking experience similar to penetration testing in a real-world setting.

Although these games are meant to be fun and entertaining ways to enjoy yourself in your downtime, there’s still heavy elements of technical skills involved in the games that should help sharpen your skills and help you think like a hacker.

We try to pick the top games, so part 3 will come along when we feel we have the best content to show our readers, stay tuned.


In case you missed part I 

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Game Review: Hacknet, incredibly immersive hacking simulator game

Game Review: Hacknet, incredibly immersive hacking simulator game

Game Review: Hacknet, incredibly immersive hacking simulator game. Hacknet is an immersive storytelling hacking simulator game for PC. The game takes you on a journey where you follow the instructions of a recently deceased hacker, who died under suspicious circumstances.


It is a terminal-based game where you use old school command prompts and real hacking methods to solve the mystery.

Following the death of the hacker “Bit”, you are thrusted into the underground world of the hacking community when his failsafe triggers instructions after Bit hasn’t logged in for 14 days.


You follow the instructions and unlock clues piece by piece through hacking and exploring the deepest corners of the web, which then gives you access to new systems. This style of play creates an immersive environment where you feel you are actually hacking your way to the top, rather than climbing arbitrary levels.

The soundtrack, produced by The Otherworld Agency also adds to the immersion as you hack to the beat of these indie tunes.


The GUI is simple and easy to use, with one review warning players that it’s so realistic, you probably shouldn’t play it in public for fear of being branded a real hacker.

If you’re feeling creative, players can also create their own campaigns, system networks, nodes, themes, story missions and even music to then share with other players, adding new dimensions to the game.


Hacknet deals with mystery, corporate greed and the nature of personal privacy in this incredibly engaging game. While there is little hand-holding in the game, it is also accessible to beginners with a support system aimed at getting them to grips with real commands and hacking processes.

Hacknet retails at $9.99 on Steam or $14.99 if you want the package including the game and the Hacknet Official Soundtrack.

A similar game you may check is here


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