The Basics of Ethical Hacking

While the digital trend continues to evolve, we want to ensure our security and solutions are up-to-date to prevent potential risks from cyberthreats like hackers. The word hacking has been lurking around for some time now and it has evolved into a disciplined community. We’ll cover the fundamental concepts every ethical hacker must understand.

What You Need To Know

Ethical hackers help identify the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of your network or digital solutions/system and devises a plan to protect all those weaknesses and vulnerabilities. While hacking has a negative image, it’s the same process every digital business and solution uses to determine and exploit network and computer vulnerabilities to achieve access to your solution.

One good example of hacking is password cracking. This is used to obtain access to the system. While hacking is an illegal act that enables criminals to get through your system, exploit important data, or engage in fraudulent acts through digital devices, ethical hacking is considered a counter-attacked to potential risks. Experts are hired by businesses to crack their systems to search for weak endpoints and vulnerabilities and fix all issues.

This legal action is executed as an initial security measure against unethical hackers and cybercriminals who want to steal vital information and data concerning your business. This prevents any malicious intention from pushing through your system and creating long-term damage. Those people who have no malicious intentions and are hired to hack or check the system are called ethical hackers.

Once you get to know the process, it offers peace of mind and additional security to digital businesses knowing their security is up-to-date and optimized. However, there are various types of hackers categorize by intentions:

White Hat
Ethical hackers are also known as white hat hackers. They crack into your system with permission to check weak points and vulnerabilities to fix it before anyone with malicious intention finds it.

Black Hat
This group of hackers cracks in your system to obtain unauthorized access to your solution and harms your business by stealing sensitive data or freezes your operations. It’s an illegal act as it comes with malicious intent like stealing information, damaging your system, and violating privacy.

Grey Hat
They are a combination of white and black hackers. They crack your system for fun or exploit your system’s vulnerabilities without your knowledge or permission. The primary intention of grey hackers is to show your systems weaknesses and earn bug bounty for doing so.

Suicide Hacker
Also tagged as hacktivists. They crack your system to bring down your infrastructure, businesses, and corporations. They work with retribution and are not scared of what they do.

There are also various kinds of hacking:

Network hacking
Website hacking
Password hacking
Email hacking
Computer hacking

What Are The Fundamental Steps Of White Hat Hacking

White hat hackers follow a distinct phase or guidelines while checking your system’s weak endpoint and vulnerabilities.

Reconnaissance

This step is also known as the Footprinting and gathering information phase. The phase where hackers collect information about the target before they launch an attack. This phase is where hackers obtain valuable data like old passwords or employee names.

Footprinting is the process of gathering information or data from your target system. The collected data includes:

Specific IP address
UDP and TCP services
Identifies weaknesses and vulnerabilities

Footprinting Types:
Active – Direct interaction with your target to obtain more information
Passive – Trying to obtain data about your target without direct access

Scanning

At this point, the hacker is searching for additional information to help penetrate the attack like IP addresses, computer names, or user accounts. Hackers determine the fastest way to obtain access to your network and check for information. This stage uses tools like port scanners, dialers, sweepers, network mappers, or vulnerability scanners to check your data.

It comes with four kinds of scanning procedure:

Pre-attack – Scans your network for certain information based on the gathered data during phase 1 (reconnaissance).
Sniffing – The step where hackers use port scanners, dialers, or other data-collecting devices.
Vulnerability scanning – Scans the system for vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
Extraction – Hackers gathers information about your live machines, OS details, ports, routers, network topology, firewalls, routers, and servers

Gain Access

At this phase, hackers have the data needed. He then designs the system or network map and decides how to launch the attack. Several options include:

BEC attack
Session hijacking
Buffer overflow
Dos attack
Spoofing attack
Brute Force
Man-in-the-middle
Phishing

After hackers enter your system, they increase their privilege to the admin level to install applications needed to hide or modify data.

Maintain Access

Once hackers obtain access to your system, they want to retain this for future attacks and exploitations. They secure access to your organization’s Trojans and Rootkits and use this to launch new attacks on your system. White hat hackers try to retain their access to the target until the task is finished as planned.

This phase is an essential part as he installs several payloads and backdoors into their target network. The payload is activities done on your system after obtaining unauthorized access. Backdoors on the other hand help hackers obtain quick access to their target system for future purposes.

Clearing Tracks

In this phase, your smart hacker will clear all tracks and evidence of his work. This will prevent anyone from tracking footprints that may lead to his identity or whereabouts. This includes:

Clearing cookies and cache
Registry values modification
Deleting/corrupting/modifying Logs value
Clearing Sent emails out
Closing all open ports
Removing all applications used

Reporting

This is the last stage of white hat hacking. The hacker complies with a report about all his analysis or findings. They also include success rate, tools used, the weak endpoint or vulnerabilities found, and exploit procedure.

Conclusion

Once you understand the fundamental concepts and phases of white hat hacking, you’ll appreciate having one to check your system and help fixed potential vulnerabilities.