In today’s avant-garde domain of technology, the importance of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly significant. With time, people’s lives are becoming increasingly integrated with various kinds of digital systems, making it exceedingly critical to defend them from malicious online activities.
Millions of cyberattacks are commenced against governments, companies, and people every week. However, different ways of improving cybersecurity are continuously being introduced to combat this. This article will provide a better understanding of ethical hacking, also known as White Hat Cybersecurity.
Introduction to Ethical Hacking
There is a huge stigma around words such as hackers and hacking, but they’re not always synonymous with criminal or malicious online activities. In fact, ethical hackers play a vital role in strengthening the safety and security of online systems.
They work in alliance with companies and organizations to detect weaknesses before cybercriminals can take advantage of them. It is necessary to demystify ethical hacking so individuals can be empowered to recognize the importance of ethical hackers and the part they play in safeguarding technology.
What are the different types of Hacking?
There are various ways through which a system can be hacked:
- Computer Hacking or System Hacking
This type of hacking comprises gaining access illegally to computers or personal systems within a close network. It is often used when there is a single target or when the objective is embezzling information from a computer network.
- Password hacking can be a part of computer or system hacking.
It is another part of computer hacking. Hackers manipulate valuable data stored on servers and computers to access the passwords of email, apps, and various user accounts, after which they wield that data for nefarious practices. However, when ethical hackers do the same thing, they recognize security standards that can be fulfilled to avoid this.
- Email Hacking
Emails are an indispensable part of the ethical hacking corporate domain in today’s digital world and usually encompass very sensitive information and data that hackers can exploit. So, Email hacking means hacking into the email network and getting email passwords after obtaining unauthorized access to an individual or business email. This might jeopardize an individual’s personal life or disclose sensitive business data.
- Network Hacking or Wireless Network Hacking
This type of hacking includes stealing, monitoring, or invading the wireless packets within a specific network. After the hacker successfully gains entry into a wireless network, they can access chat sessions, passwords, and user history easily.
- Website Hacking or Web Application Hacking
Some illegal hackers hack web servers or websites since this might impact a business negatively. This might result in the web server being down for prolonged periods, stealing databases and software and even causing lasting damage. But white hat hackers try to do the same thing with authorization, after which they suggest fixing the cracks or loopholes.
Who is an Ethical Hacker?
With the introduction of ethical hacking, there exists an ethical hacker. An ethical hacker is a trained professional employed by companies, firms, and even governments to provide efficient cybersecurity services by legally hacking into their systems and recognizing any vulnerable spots.
White Hat Hackers
Ethical hackers are also known as White hat hackers. They have ethical hacking certification from a credible institution and use their hacking skills to find security flaws in programs, devices, or networks.
They are legally licensed to look into a network or system, unlike black hat hackers, who illegally attack the system for illicit activities. The term is derived as a reference from movies where the good guys wear white hats, and the bad guys wear black ones.
What Do White Hat Hackers Do?
Ethical hackers are experts at cybersecurity and use various methods and tools for testing the security of systems. Both black hat hackers and white hat hackers wield similar techniques for accessing a system.
However, illegal hackers use these loopholes for financial or other unlawful advantages, whereas ethical hackers warn the system’s owner of its problems. They are both called hackers because hacking basically means gaining admission into a system’s data. Companies hire cybersecurity defenders to prevent cybersecurity criminals from exploiting networks later on.
What Techniques and Strategy Do White Hat Hackers Use?
- Social Engineering
Social engineering and assurance schemes have been a part of human culture for ages. In terms of ethical hacking, this has become an extremely popular and beneficial way of inferring how accessible the employees of a company are.
Cybersecurity programs greatly emphasize social engineering as they can assist you in revealing gaps and handling the concerns of employee security effectively. A social engineering authorization also intends to establish techniques for enhancing the global extent of confidentiality, accessibility, and integrity of a company’s data.
- Reconnaissance and Research
It is one of the most significant steps in ethical hacking. In simple words, it means assembling intelligence and recognizing the target device. Reconnaissance can be defined as a collection of techniques and procedures, like enumeration, footprinting, and scanning, that are employed for uncovering and gathering information about the target machine confidentially.
Ethical hackers follow certain rules while using reconnaissance to acquire all the available data information as available about the target device. The rules are listed below:
- Gather primary data and analyze the coverage area of the network.
- Infer which devices are being used.
- Recognize access points and open ports.
- Fingerprinting of operating systems.
- Create a map of the system or network after finding services on access points and ports.
- Penetration Testing
Penetration testing mimics a cyber attack on your computers to discover susceptible flaws. It is often used to augment a web application’s firewall in the web application security region (WAF).
Pen testing involves trying to crack various computing devices or application systems such as frontend/backend servers PIs to find voids, like unsanitized information, that are an easy target for code injection invasions. You can wield the findings of penetration for refining your WAF and security standards, as well as deal with discovered drawbacks.
- Wielding various physical and digital tools
White hat hackers might sometimes come across situations during security evaluations where things seem to be in the right order. In simple words, rules, virus defense software, security patches, network segmentation, as well as user awareness, etc., are all implemented appropriately.
But this is where using social engineering and other such methods becomes extremely crucial for continuing the examination from the perspective of a cybersecurity professional or a white hat hacker. These technologies help ethical hackers copy ID cards, evade physical locks, and install bots and other malware to gain access to servers and networks, among other things.
What are the skills required by an Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker should have the following skills:
- Programming proficiency – White hat ethical hacking must have an in-depth knowledge of various programming languages, such as Java, Python, C++, etc., to work professionally in the field of software development and application security.
- Knowledge of servers and search engines.
- Networking skills – It is critical for ethical hackers to have this skill because, in the majority of cases, risks originate from networks. Therefore, they should be aware of the various devices or machines present in the network system, their connections, and the ability or process to identify whether they’ve been compromised.
- Working with not only various hacking tools present in the market but also with different platforms such as Linux, Windows, Unix, etc.
- Understanding databases – Assaults are generally initiated for acquiring or stealing databases. Understanding database management systems like SQL helps ethical hacking inspect operations currently running in databases effectively.
- Knowledge of Scripting – This is necessary for cyber security experts working with host-based and network-based incursions.
Windfalls of Ethical Hacking
Ethical hacking or white-hat hacking has numerous benefits that help in recognizing and preventing any vicious malware attacks to steal information, result in loss or trouble for issues for businesses and individuals, and put a nation’s security at stake. Some of them are listed below –
- The generation of a safe network can be deemed as the primary step in assuring low liability. Hence, white hat hackers establish a safe network to reduce security breaches in companies or organizations.
- Cybersecurity experts play a substantial part in national security by precluding information about digital terrorist incursions, safeguarding data from black hat hackers, and protecting federal security systems.
Individuals interested in working in the field of information security should consider learning more about ethical hacking if the basics of ethical hacking in this article have interested them.