For a great intro to the basics of computer systems, programming and networks I would recommend Hacking - The Art of Exploitation by Jon Erickson. No frills, no kiddie scripts, just good information about what's under the hood of computer based systems. You can find a free PDF but of course that's a moral "grey" zone.
I love cplusplus.com, There's been several posts I've seen where someone asks a strange question and people accuse them of possibly creating viruses (usually beginners accusing beginners), but just ask straight out how to be a hacker and the flood gates open.
I'm serious, this post really made me smile a bit. Sorry, I don't have anything to contribute to your hacking goal, but come on, this is a little funny.
I'm Siding with (Grey/Gray?) Wolf on this in that I'm too paranoid to actually click on the links, but thank you for the laugh.
Hacking is a really broad topic. Technically, all programmers and software engineers are "Hackers". Crackers on the other hand are people who break the security within software and use its information for exploitation.