Cybersecurity experts initially used the term “hacker” to characterize engineers who worked on mainframe computers to improve their effectiveness and ability to multitask. By this time, the term refers to a programmer proficient in exploiting system flaws to obtain illegal access to computer systems and networks. Scripts written by hackers are used to get into networks and steal data.
There are many legitimate uses for hacking, even though it has become a catch-all phrase for immoral acts. These talents may still be put to good use by a hacker.
Information and money are the most common motives for malicious/unethical hacking. Because not every hacking is detrimental. Ethical hacking is the following form of hacking we’ll discuss. To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at ethical hacking. In addition, this post will discover all you need to know about ethical hacking.
What is Ethical Hacking?
It is lawful to engage in ethical hacking, which involves finding and exploiting security holes in a system or organization’s infrastructure. For ethical hackers, finding flaws in the system or network that may be manipulated or destroyed by malicious hackers is the primary objective. It is possible to increase the security footprint to withstand better or divert attacks.
Purpose of Ethical Hacking
The purpose of this testing is to improve the cybersecurity level of any business. The company or the industry that controls the system or network permits this cyber evaluation.
Unlike malicious hacking, this procedure has been pre-approved, making it legal and authorized. This type of bug hunting is not only ethical but helpful for businesses and their growth and development.
Science Behind Ethical Hacking
Ethical hackers aim to find vulnerabilities in the system or network that can be exploited or destroyed by evil hackers. They gather and analyze data to find methods to improve system/network/application security. They will be able to better resist or redirect assaults due to this.
Some companies engage computer services providers and ethical hackers to find and fix security flaws in their network infrastructures. “Thief cannot deceive a thief,” as the phrase goes, is now a high-tech version.
Process of Ethical Hacking
Identifying and exploiting all of the vulnerabilities in a system is a complex and time-consuming process for ethical hackers. This simulated assault is designed to identify the organization’s weak points so companies can improve. They mainly follow the below described five phases of ethical hacking are:
Reconnaissance is when a hacker obtains information about a target before conducting an attack and exploiting system weaknesses. Surveillance begins with trash diving. During this phase, the hacker seeks old passwords and critical personnel names (such as the network department head) and does active “reconnaissance” to learn how the company works.
As a second stage, the hacker completes foot printing to gather data on the security posture, lowers the focus area by finding particular IP addresses, detects weaknesses in the target system, and develops a network map to know how the network architecture works to break in quickly. Foot printing offers domain names, TCP/UDP services, system names, and passwords. Other foot printing methods include:
- Replicating a website.
- Utilizing search engines to discover company information.
- Impersonating present personnel.
In this method, ethical hackers engage directly with the computer system to gather information in this procedure. This information may be helpful or accurate. Active reconnaissance without authorization might put ethical hackers in danger of being discovered. If caught, the system administrator has the power to take drastic measures against them and keep track of everything they do moving forward.
There is no direct connection to a computer in this operation. This method obtains critical data without ever interacting with the target systems.
Hackers use this stage to find an easy route into a network and start looking for information. Sniffing(In sniffing, all data packets flowing over a network are monitored and captured. Network and system administrators use sniffers to monitor network activity and fix problems.
Data packets carrying sensitive information, such as passwords and account information, may be snatched by hackers using sniffers.) port scanning and information extraction are the three types of scanning available. The hacker may use each of these steps to show a different set of flaws in the system.
Hackers use reconnaissance data to target specific information in the network during the pre-attack phase. Dialers, port scanners, vulnerability scanners, and other data-gathering devices are used in the port scanning or sniffing phase. At this stage, attackers gather knowledge about ports and active computers to begin an assault.
Getting into the target system is the ultimate goal of a penetration tester. The data collecting and scanning processes might take a long time to complete, and getting access may be as easy as visiting an unprotected private URL.
Conversely, gaining access will not be as easy as entering an exposed URL. The target may need the use of exploits to get access. This crucial is an area where penetration testers need to exercise caution. He must only use exploits if the target system has a known vulnerability.
When evaluating production systems, we must, at the very least, adhere to these criteria. When a production system is so critical that any downtime is undesirable, penetration testers seldom get access to it.
4. Maintenance of Access
When hackers enter a company’s computer network, they almost always have a specific aim in mind or a predefined plan. It is necessary to break into or hack the system to achieve the purpose. The ethical hacker must guarantee access to the server until he has completed his mission.
Ethical hackers often use rootkits, Trojan horses, and other backdoors to fulfill this stage. They might also take advantage of the time they have access to launch more attacks on the organization, inflicting even more damage.
5. Track Covering
Ethical hacking has come to an end with this last phase. The ethical hacker has successfully hacked into a system or network if this step is accomplished. Hackers inflicted as much harm as possible, and they could go away from the system without a trace.
To evade detection, they must hide their traces throughout accessing and exiting the network. The intruder shouldn’t be identifiable by the security mechanisms in place. Simulated cyber attacks are considered adequate if the security system does not notice that an attack has occurred.
An ethical hacker will use various techniques to remain undetectable and avoid being tracked. In this phase, an ethical hacker will be removing all traces and logs that have become deformed and re-entering data into records or registers with different values.
An ethical hacker will delete all files he created and remove every program. Ultimately, he will ensure that the system or network is free of any sign of an ethical hacker’s activities.
Our Computer Services
Hacking and cyber-attacks are becoming more prevalent as enterprises migrate into the digital world. As a result of these assaults, companies are increasingly considering preventative measures, one of which is ethical hacking. If you need cybersecurity or other computer services like desktop migration and setup installations, feel free to contact us.