In this article, we will discuss What is Ethical Hacking? with a great explanation explained by professionals. Ethical hacking is a set of skills that can help one to secure their systems, networks, and data against online threats that is extremely severe for the development of safe environments in any industry.
Moreover, we know that digital media is growing under the threat of cyber-attacks executed by online hackers or adversaries who are highly trained professionals. These adversaries can access sensitive information of individuals without their consent with the help of hacking tools. To understand how ethical hackers stop such attacks, let’s learn “What is Ethical Hacking?”
What is Ethical Hacking?
It is the process of protecting computer systems, networks, and data against unauthorized access and online threats. Ethical hackers are professionals who use their skills & knowledge to find security flaws and weaknesses to enhance the security of organizations/ individuals’ resources. Let’s continue.
What are the Types of Hackers?
- White Hat Hackers: These hackers are professionals who identify loopholes in systems, networks, and other devices to secure and support a firm’s resources against online threats.
- Black Hat Hackers: These individuals are malicious hackers who exploit other’s digital resources’ security flaws to build unauthorized access over a company’s sensitive data, systems, and networks for illicit purposes.
- Grey Hat Hackers: They have a common similarity among white hat and black hat hackers’ skills and nature. Such skillful entities will expose loopholes with unauthorized access to provide better solutions to the firm using the tech or data.
- Script Kiddies: These are responsible for unusual activities using existing hacking tools or scripts to execute attacks. They are not fully introduced to the principle and existing hacking laws and cause unwanted issues for companies.
- Hacktivists: Such individuals are professionals in using their hacking skills to promote political/ social agenda online. One of the reasons for that is that they must stop the activities of others if that comes between their motives. Sometimes awareness or disrupting systems for political purposes can be their reasons.
- State-Sponsored Hackers: These individuals are backed by government officials for official causes. Their goals may target the following entities.
- Other Governments,
- Critical Infrastructure for Espionage,
- Political Advantage, or
- Malware Authors: These experts are proficients at developing – Viruses, Worms, Ransomware, and Spyware to share them over other’s systems to gain unauthorized access/ breach data.
- Phreakers: They are focused on hijacking & modifying digital systems like – phone networks or VoIP services. By exploiting loopholes in such devices, they make free calls, manipulate call routing, or acquire unauthorized access.
- Social Engineers: Such individuals maliciously manipulate people to gain illicit access to systems, networks, and confidential data. They have skills like following to have the work done.
- Phishing, or
- Hacktivists: Professionals as such involve executing acts to promote political/ social agenda.
White Hat Hacker vs Black Hat Hacker
|White Hat Hacker||Black Hat Hacker|
|A white hat hacker is an expert who uses their talents to find flaws and vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, or software with the owner’s consent.
They strive to secure against harmful activity and unauthorized access to systems. The security and reliability of digital infrastructures are greatly dependent on white hat hackers.
|A black hat hacker uses unauthorized or malevolent methods to exploit weaknesses in software, networks, or computer systems.
They engage in harmful activity and frequently violate the law and regulations in order to gain unauthorized access, steal confidential data, or cause havoc with computer systems.
Their actions can potentially cause large financial losses, privacy violations, and disruptions to vital systems.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Ethical Hacker?
|S.No.||Roles & Responsibilities||Define|
|1.||Vulnerability Assessment||They can perform a detailed analysis of computer networks, applications, and systems to find flaws and vulnerabilities that bad actors might exploit.|
|2.||Penetration Testing||For the purpose of simulating actual hacking scenarios, they conduct controlled attacks on systems. This makes it easier to spot security holes that could be exploited to steal sensitive information or get unauthorized access.|
|3.||Security Auditing||They are able to study and assess the digital infrastructure of an organization’s overall security posture. To find opportunities for improvement, they evaluate security practices, setups, and policies.|
|4.||Network and System Monitoring||They watch for abnormalities, intrusions, and suspicious activity on networks and systems. Identifying and addressing possible security incidents involves analyzing logs, network traffic, and system behavior.|
|5.||Security Advisories||Based on their results, they can offer organizations thorough reports and recommendations. They advise how to successfully resolve vulnerabilities, improve security controls, and limit risks.|
|6.||Security Awareness Training||They train staff members and users on secure computing procedures, social engineering tricks, and the value of maintaining robust security measures. This promotes awareness while reducing security concerns relating to people.|
|7.||Incident Response||By looking into security problems, pinpointing the underlying reasons, and putting preventative measures in place, they can help incident response efforts.|
|8.||Research and Development||They can keep up with the most recent developments in cybersecurity, new dangers, and sophisticated hacking methods. They maintain and improve their knowledge and expertise to successfully defend systems from changing threats.|
|9.||Compliance and Regulations||They ensure that systems and procedures adhere to pertinent industry standards, legislative mandates, and regulatory frameworks pertaining to data protection and privacy.|
|10.||Ethical Conduct||They may adhere to a strict code of ethics, keeping discretion, professionalism, and integrity. While performing security assessments, they protect privacy, secure the necessary authorization, and respect the law.|
What are the benefits of Ethical Hacking?
- Identifying Vulnerabilities
Organizations can find weaknesses in their software, networks, and computer systems with the aid of ethical hackers. They can find vulnerabilities that nefarious hackers could exploit by simulating actual attacks. This enables organizations to proactively resolve these vulnerabilities before cybercriminals find and take advantage of them.
- Strengthening Security Measures
Organizations can learn important information about their security posture through ethical hacking. Moreover, organizations are able to put strong security measures in place, strengthen their defenses, and reduce potential dangers, thanks to the discoveries and suggestions offered by ethical hackers. Critical assets and sensitive data are better protected as a result.
- Minimizing Financial Losses
Ethical hackers assist in reducing financial losses and preventing security breaches by spotting and resolving flaws. It can be expensive to recover from a cyberattack, including looking into occurrences, repairing systems, and handling any legal repercussions. Through proactive fixing of security flaws, ethical hacking assists organizations in preventing such monetary losses.
- Enhancing Reputation and Trust
An organization’s reputation can be improved by demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity by engaging in ethical hacking activities. Businesses that prioritize the security of their data and systems should expect greater levels of engagement and confidence from their clients, customers, and partners. In today’s digital environment, trust and confidence among stakeholders are essential. Ethical hacking aids in this process.
- Regulatory Compliance
Ethical hacking helps businesses adhere to industry standards for information security and regulatory requirements. Organizations can install essential controls and prove compliance with pertinent legislation by proactively detecting vulnerabilities. This helps prevent fines, legal problems, and reputational harm brought on by non-compliance.
- Continuous Improvement
Organizations may regularly assess and enhance their security measures thanks to ethical hacking, a continuous process. Moreover, firms may keep ahead of new threats, change their security procedures, and react to new attack methods by routinely undertaking security assessments and penetration tests.
- Incident Response Preparedness
Activities related to ethical hacking aid preparedness for incident response. Organizations may create and test incident response plans by identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses, enabling them to respond to security occurrences effectively and reduce the impact on their operations.
- Security Awareness and Training
The significance of user and employee security awareness is highlighted by ethical hacking. It aids in educating people about typical security dangers, social engineering strategies, and secure computing procedures. This increases security awareness within the workforce, which lowers the risk of being the target of a cyberattack.
What are the phases of ethical hacking?
The ethical hacker gathers data on the organization, network, or system that is being targeted during this stage. They obtain information such as IP addresses, domain names, employee details, system design, and network topology using openly accessible resources, search engines, social engineering strategies, and other tactics.
In the scanning phase, the target system or network is probed to find open ports, services, and vulnerabilities. In order to find potential access points and vulnerabilities, ethical hackers employ network scanning tools like port scanners, network mappers, and vulnerability scanners.
- Gaining Access
Once loopholes have been found, ethical hackers try to use them to break into the target network or system. They could employ strategies like password cracking, taking advantage of software flaws, or social engineering to get beyond security barriers and get inside.
- Maintaining Access
Ethical hackers try to keep access to the system or network during this period without being discovered. To maintain access for additional investigation and analysis, they might install remote access tools, build backdoors, or modify permissions.
- Enumeration and Privilege Escalation
In order to learn more specifics about the available resources, user accounts, system configurations, and other useful information, ethical hackers enumerate the target system or network. To obtain more access and power over the target environment, they can also try to elevate their privileges.
- Covering Tracks
To prevent detection and anonymity, professionals cover their footprints by executing the following activities.
- Deleting Logs,
- Erasing evidence of their acts and
- Restoring System Configurations to their original state.
In the end, they put all the things in a document format, such as,
- Vulnerabilities, and