Ethical hacking, also known as Penetration Testing, involves intruding or penetrating into systems or networks to identify threats or vulnerabilities in those systems which a malicious hacker may find and exploit, causing loss of data, financial loss, or other significant damages.
Ethical hacking is used to fix vulnerabilities discovered during testing and improve security. To improve security and protect the system from malicious attacks, ethical hackers can use the same tools and methods as malicious hackers. However, they must have permission from an authorized person.
Ethical hackers are required to report to the management all vulnerabilities and weaknesses discovered during the process.
In this article, we will cover the following topics
- What is Ethical Hacking?
- What are some types of Ethical Hacking?
- Why is Ethical Hacking important?
- What are the different types of hackers?
- What is the difference between a Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker?
- What are the benefits of learning Ethical Hacking?
- What are the skills required to become an Ethical Hacker?
What is Ethical Hacking?
The process by which professional hackers can legally and purposefully attempt to hack into computers and other devices within an organization’s network is known as ethical hacking. Ethical hackers can test an organization’s defenses and highlight any weaknesses in their networks and systems.
In addition to searching for weaknesses, ethical hackers, also known as white-hat hackers, do a range of other tasks related to cyber security. These tasks can include:
- Assess vulnerabilities
- Perform penetration testing
- Gather intelligence on entry points
- Spot potential weaknesses in infrastructures and scan them
- Exploit vulnerabilities and access networks/systems
- Hide their access to evade detection
- Analyze and compile reports for all the various attempts
What are some types of Ethical Hacking?
It’s no surprise that IT systems are complex, and there are so many ways to exploit them. A professional may use a variety of ethical hacking techniques. We’ve highlighted the most popular types of ethical hacking below:
- Web application hacking. Web applications can be shared over a network, such as the internet or intranet. Sometimes they are browser-based. They are convenient but can also be vulnerable to scripting attacks. Ethical hackers will test these weaknesses.
- Web server hacking. Web servers are operating systems and applications that allow web pages to be hosted and connected to a back-end database. Each step of the process has potential weaknesses, which ethical hackers need to identify and fix.
- Wireless network hacking. Wireless networks are a collection of computers connected wirelessly to a central access point. White-hat hackers need to be aware of the potential security flaws associated with wireless networks.
- System hacking. While accessing a secure network may be one thing, system hacking is about gaining access to specific computers within a network. Ethical or white-hat hackers will attempt to do this while suggesting countermeasures.
- Social engineering. Social engineering is different from the other methods that focus on information access through computers, networks, and systems. This can be used to manipulate people into giving access or handing over sensitive data without suspicion of ill intent.
Why is Ethical Hacking important?
The most valuable asset in our modern lives is information or data. This is true for all organizations, government or private. They all deal with sensitive data every day. They are frequently targeted by hackers, terrorist groups, and cybercriminals.
Organizations need to take several security measures to be protected and safe. They also need to keep their security up-to-date on a regular basis. Organizations must be proactive in updating and measuring their security regularly, especially in the digital age where hackers regularly find new ways to get past firewalls every day.
White hat hackers, or ethical hackers, offer a new way to ensure safety. They will perform a penetration test to verify security measures. They will generally hack into your network and give you information about your security. This information can be used to update security measures within an organization.
What are the different types of hackers?
The three main types of hackers are:
White Hat Hackers – also known as Ethical Hackers, don’t intend to harm any system. Instead, they look for weaknesses in computers and network systems as part of vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. They are not doing anything illegal and do it as part of their job.
Black Hat Hackers – also known as crackers, hack to gain unauthorized access to a system to harm its operations and steal sensitive information. They are illegal because they want to do terrible things like stealing corporate data, violating privacy, or damaging the system.
Grey Hat Hackers – This is a mix of black and white hat hackers. Although they don’t have malicious intent, they take advantage of a network or computer system security flaw to gain unauthorized access. In most cases, they do this for fun or as a challenge and often notify the owner of the problem.
What is the difference between a Black Hat Hacker and White Hat Hacker?
White-hat hackers use their expertise to improve and secure the technology of organizations. These hackers provide an essential service by identifying vulnerabilities that could lead to security breaches.
A white-hat hacker informs the organization about any vulnerabilities that have been detected. They also provide advice on how to fix the vulnerabilities. The white-hat hacker will often re-test vulnerabilities to confirm that they are resolved.
On the other hand, Black-hat hackers aim to gain unauthorized access to a resource with malicious intent. They identify vulnerabilities intending to exploit them and cause harm such as reputation damage or financial loss. They hack websites and crash back-end servers to impact the productivity of the organization. They will never report vulnerabilities that they have identified and will often install a backdoor to continue exploiting the system. They don’t care about improving security in the organization.
What are the benefits of learning Ethical Hacking?
To learn ethical hacking, you need to study black-hat hacker’s and testers’ mindsets and techniques to recognize and fix vulnerabilities within networks and systems.
The most significant benefit to learning ethical hacking is the potential to improve an organization’s security and defend them against any malicious attacks. Hackers are the primary threat to an organization’s security. Knowledge of ethical hacking can help you understand and implement hacker tactics that will allow you to identify and mitigate potential threats much faster. Getting an ethical hacking certification or training can significantly boost your chances of getting a rewarding job in the field of cybersecurity.
What are the skills required to become an Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker should understand all systems, codes, programs, security measures, and networks.
List of recommended skills for an ethical hacker include:
- Good understanding of programming – Especially important for security professionals in the field of application security and Software Development Life Cycles (SDLC).
- Knowledge of scripting – Security professionals who deal with network-based or host-based threats need to have a good command of scripting.
- Computer Networking skills – It is vital to be familiar with all devices in the network and their connections. An ethical hacker also needs to know how to spot if they have been compromised.
- Database knowledge – Databases are often the most common target of attacks. You will be able to inspect the operations in databases if you are familiar with SQL and other database management systems.
- Knowledge of working with multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.
- The ability to work with a variety of hacking tools.
It’s fascinating to explore the world of penetration testing and ethical hacking. There is no better time than now to learn about ethical hacking. As cyber-attacks become more expensive, the demand for these skills will only continue to rise. Ethical hacking jobs tend to be stable and pay well.
If you are interested in learning Ethical hacking, please check out our #1 recommended training program to begin your ethical hacking and cybersecurity education journey and take your career to the next level.
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