Ethical Hacking and its Types


Ethical Hacking and its Types

Ethical hacking is a socially accepted form of hacking that seeks to help, rather than hurt, the owners and users of a website or computer network. In fact, ethical hackers help businesses to be alert to the weaknesses in their security systems so that these can be improved.

As businesses use computers and virtual network to house tons and tons of business and customer data, it becomes a highly attractive target for hackers. In this scenario, ethical hackers serve a very useful purpose by identifying weak spots in these systems that can make it vulnerable to unethical hackers.

Main Functions Of Ethical Hackers

Ethical hackers are becoming increasingly valuable assets for business owners. They mainly help businesses improve the security of their systems in important ways by offering the services listed below:

  • Identifying the vulnerable areas of the network that can lead attackers in
  • Zoning in on high-risk assets on the system that may be on benefit to hackers
  • Identifying the potential use of information that hackers might gain access to
  • Offering metrics and valuable data to owners about the number and type of hacking attempts on their system
  • Suggesting robust ways of making the system more resistant to hacking attacks

Types Of Ethical Hackers

Ethical hackers understand all the techniques that malicious hackers use to penetrate a system or network. CEH certification training online offers access to the knowledge and skills of ethical hacking. Thus, they use this knowledge to prevent such attacks on different parts of the system, mainly by:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities in web applications that can put at risk the security of not only business data, but all the data of thousands of app users
  • Identifying loopholes in the security infrastructure of an IT network that can lead to theft of corporate data
  • Making web servers secure against malicious hacking and attacks such as viruses and Trojan horses
  • Minimizing the risk of data phishing and identity theft that takes place through wireless hotspots
  • Preventing social engineering threats that can make individuals more vulnerable to online scams

White Hat Hackers

Ethical hackers are also called white hat hackers. This is because they only follow ethical practices that are non-malicious and which do not cause any harm to their targets. They always make a hacking attempt after gaining permission from the client. This is why they are often hired by companies under explicit contracts to test system vulnerabilities.

White hat hackers stay within the bounds of law and do not take any criminal steps to perform their duties. Their sole concern is to make attempts at intruding the system and warn their clients about the vulnerabilities in their system.

On the other hand, black hat hackers are those who are driven by criminal intent and selfish motives to hack a system. They cause financial loss to the owners of the network and the people who use it, such as vendors, suppliers, customers and the general public.

In between are the grey hat hackers who use a mix of ethical and unethical hacking techniques. Their purpose is not to commit a crime but they do not seek approval from the company before targeting their website.

How Ethical Hackers Work

Ethical hackers follow a set of procedures to carry out their work. Their work can broadly be categorized into 5 steps or levels:

1. The first step is the planning step in which the ethical hacker lists the goals of the exercise and identifies the main vulnerabilities that have to be tested. They collect reports provided by the owner and review them to learn about past security issues and hacking instances.

2. The second step is the analysis step in which the hacker carries out low-level attacks to see how the system responds to the attacks. The hacker also studies the system or application code to identify the commands that raise security responses.

3. This is the critical step in which the ethical hacker uses a variety of techniques like backdoors and scripting to exploit system vulnerabilities and gain access to the system. He or she carries out different types of attacks like diverting incoming traffic from the website to another destination, corrupting data files or code, stealing user data, and so on.

4. The fourth step is where the ethical hacker tries to maximize the time for which they can stay logged into the system without being detected or removed from the network. This is a measure of the system’s responsiveness to a security threat or hacking attack.

5. The fifth and last step of the ethical hacking process is to compile a report of the hacking effort and to present it to the client. The client then uses this report to plan an investment in upgrading the security measures that have been put in place to protect the website from malicious attacks in the future and making the user experience securer and safer.

How Ethical Hackers Train

In order to become an ethical hacker, a person needs to get a formal certification. Through these certifications, the professional learns about the roles of different professionals in cybersecurity, such as network administrators. They also learn about techniques of scanning networks, hacking, vulnerability detection, and so on.

Courses like the Certified Ethical Hacker or CEH certification training online offer hands-on training in virtual labs that give students experience of real-world cases. The exams range up to 6 hours and include simulation as well as live activities.

Final Word

Ethical hacking offers many opportunities to build a successful career in cybersecurity provided that one has the required certification and experience. A lot of young people learn ethical hacking techniques by watching online videos and tutorials. However, a more serious approach is needed because the nature of hacking threats and techniques is becoming more and more complex over time.

Moreover, a trained and certified ethical hacker is a more valuable asset for a company over the long term than one who is not professionally competent or trained in the techniques of ethical hacking.

About The Author
Manager, Training Operations

Abdul Mujeeb

Abdul Mujeeb is a Training Operations manager at QuickStart Technologies. He has over 10+ years of managing varied domains of technical side of businesses from Implementation, Consultation, and Architecture Solutions for Startup. Apart from that he also has expertise around Security+, CEH, CCNA, Web Development, Software Development & integration, Information System, Project Manager Implementation, SQA & Architecture Development, and IT Consultation for Startups.

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