While Hacking is packed with technically accurate, detailed information, it is still a basic introduction to the subject of computer security. Hacking also does not use any notable measure of real-world examples; discussions rarely bring up specific worms and exploits that had previously existed, such as the PNG library overflows or the Blaster worm and related RPC service overflow. Thus, an inexperienced reader may not immediately make the connection between the theory and the reality of attack.
While Erickson discusses some countermeasures such as a non-executable stack and how to evade them with return-to-libc attacks, he does not dive into deeper matters without known guaranteed exploits such as address space layout randomization. Most protections afforded by the Openwall, GrSecurity, and PaX projects appear to be out of scope for Hacking; as do kernel exploits.
It has been suggested that Hacking be used to teach "basic computer programming fundamentals" in one review included in the opening pages of the book. Although these reviews are placed in the text for marketing purposes, the programming section of the book is technically accurate and does convey a lot of information not taught in typical introductory computer programming classes. Whether its use as a fundamental teaching tool would lead to more security-conscious and security-competent programmers overall is, however, neither studied nor proven.
Although technically accurate, the networking section of Hacking only serves as a basic introduction to network security. Countermeasures such as complex firewalls; Stateful Packet Inspection; network address translation, the threat of firewalking, and countermeasures thereof; intrusion detection and prevention; and virtual private networks are not discussed.
This section appears to be miscellaneous information for the aspiring cryptology scholar. Besides the basics, including man-in-the-middle attacks, dictionary attacks, and the use of John the Ripper; Hacking discusses quantum key distribution, Lov Grover's Quantum Search Algorithm, and Peter Shor's Quantum Factoring Algorithm for breaking RSA encryption using a very large quantum computer.