The term “Hacker” was originally used to refer to specialists who re-developed mainframe systems to improve their performance and allow for multitasking. Today, the word is commonly used to describe highly trained programmers who gain illegal access to computer systems through the use of vulnerabilities or defects. A hacker can develop algorithms to break into systems, infiltrate networks, and interfere with network services.
The fundamental motivation for malevolent and unethical hacking is the theft of sensitive data or financial gain. It’s true that not all hacking is malicious. The term “ethical hacking” describes the second category of hacking. What exactly is ethical hacking, and why is it necessary? Also, this essay will teach you all you need to know about ethical hacking.
What is Ethical Hacking?
In order to find vulnerabilities that they can exploit or eliminate, hackers probe the system or network. By bolstering the security perimeter, attacks can be repelled or thwarted.
System or network owners typically give Cyber Security engineers permission to conduct such tests as part of a comprehensive security audit. In contrast to illegal hacking, this method is deliberate, sanctioned, and ethical.
The goal of ethical hackers is to find security flaws in a system or network that can be exploited or destroyed by malicious hackers. Data is gathered and analysed so that improvements in system/network/application security can be made. In this way, the security footprint can be strengthened to withstand or deter attacks.
Companies often employ ethical hackers to investigate their systems and networks for security flaws and work on patching those flaws. Think of it as the digital reimagining of the old adage, “It takes a thief to catch a thief.”
Key vulnerabilities are examined for, and not limited to:
- Injection attacks
- Changes in security settings
- Exposure of sensitive data
- Breach in authentication protocols
- Components used in the system or network that may be used as access points
Now, as you have an idea of what is ethical hacking, it’s time to learn the type of hackers.
What are the Different Types of Hackers?
White hat hackers are persons who engage in hacking for legitimate purposes rather than to cause harm. “Black Hat” hackers, in contrast to “Ethical” hackers, intentionally break security measures. The Black Hat hackers employ unethical means to breach security or destroy data.
“Grey Hat” hackers, in contrast to “White Hat” hackers, do not knock on your door to gain access to your system. On the other hand, Grey Hats are distinct from Black Hats in that they do not engage in hacking for the purpose of financial gain. Hackers that do it for enjoyment or for other purposes are not trying to cause harm, and they normally alert the owner of any security issues they discover. While the goals of Grey Hat and Black Hat hackers are different, they both nonetheless represent an illegal system breach.
White Hat Hacker vs Black Hat Hacker
One of the greatest ways to tell the difference between White Hat and Black Hat hackers is to consider their goals. White Hat hackers hunt out and fix vulnerabilities to stop Black Hats from taking advantage of them, while Black Hat hackers are driven by evil intent, such as personal gains, profit, or harassment.
The other ways to draw a distinction between White Hat and Black Hat hackers include:
Hackers who wear white hats are able to identify security flaws in a system because they use the same processes that hackers who wear black hats do while trying to figure out how an attack was able to penetrate the system in the first place. They instantly report and correct any vulnerabilities they detect in the system or network.
Both White Hat and Black Hat hackers use similar strategies, but only one is considered ethical by law enforcement. Hackers who use a “Black Hat” technique violate the law by breaking into networks without permission.
Many businesses now employ “white hat hackers” to get into their networks in order to identify vulnerabilities. Hackers that wear black hats are not the system’s owners or its employees.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what ethical hacking is, the different kinds of ethical hackers, and the distinction between white-hat and black-hat hackers, let’s take a look at the obligations of an ethical hacker.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Ethical Hacker?
In order to hack lawfully, Ethical Hackers are bound by a code of conduct. A trustworthy hacker is aware of his or her obligations and follows all regulations. The cornerstones of Ethical Hacking are as follows:
- An ethical hacker must seek authorization from the organization that owns the system. Hackers should obtain complete approval before performing any security assessment on the system or network.
- Determine the scope of their assessment and make known their plan to the organization.
- Report any security breaches and vulnerabilities found in the system or network.
- Keep their discoveries confidential. As their purpose is to secure the system or network, ethical hackers should agree to and respect their non-disclosure agreement.
- Erase all traces of the hack after checking the system for any vulnerability. It prevents malicious hackers from entering the system through the identified loopholes.
Key Benefits of Ethical Hacking
If you want to know how to find and fix security flaws in a network, you need to study the methods used by black hat hackers and testers. Security professionals can use what they learn about ethical hacking in a wide variety of fields. In this field, you’ll find network security analysts, risk managers, and quality control experts.
But the most obvious advantage of mastering ethical hacking is its potential to educate, develop, and protect corporate networks. Hackers pose the greatest risk to any organization’s security, so defenders of the network would do well to study, analyse, and execute hacker methodology. Those looking to advance their careers in the security sector or who are looking to impress their current employers can also benefit from acquiring training and certification in ethical hacking.
Now that you know what ethical hacking is and what an ethical hacker does, you might be wondering what kind of training you need to become one. Now, therefore, let’s take a look at the tools of the ethical hacker’s trade.
Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker
In order to perform hacking in an effective manner, an ethical hacker needs to have in-depth knowledge of all of the systems, networks, programme codes, security measures, and so on. The following are examples of some of these skills:
- Knowledge of programming – It is required for security professionals working in the field of application security and Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
- Scripting knowledge – This is required for professionals dealing with network-based attacks and host-based attacks.
- Networking skills – This skill is important because threats mostly originate from networks. You should know about all of the devices present in the network, how they are connected, and how to identify if they are compromised.
- Understanding of databases – Attacks are mostly targeted at databases. Knowledge of database management systems such as SQL will help you to effectively inspect operations carried out in databases.
- Knowledge of multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.
- The ability to work with different hacking tools available in the market.
- Knowledge of search engines and servers.