What is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking is the practice of replicating the tactics of malicious hackers on computer systems. It is an authorized action to detect exposures in the system. When an ethical hacker does their work, they inform the client about the susceptibilities in their system. They also inform them about the measures to take.
The job of an ethical hacker is to help their client/organization stay a step ahead of cybercriminals. Though they use similar methods, the job of the ethical hacker is different from the malicious hacker.
Who is an Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker is a person who helps an organization identify vulnerabilities in its network and systems. Malicious hackers attack a resource to exploit the vulnerabilities in the system. It is done to cause damage to the system or for self-aggrandizement. They are also called white hat hackers.
Who can become an ethical hacker?
The first requirement for ethical hacking is proficiency in using the computer. Ethical hackers have to be experts in writing codes; they also need extensive knowledge about different operating systems. Networking is a must-have skill for an ethical hacker.
Apart from the different areas of skills the hacker must exhibit, there are also certifications. One of these certifications is the Certified Ethical Hacking Certification (CEH) which is issued by the EC-Council. Considering the job of an ethical hacker involves them dealing with intricate security details of a network. There is a need for absolute professionalism on the job. Other certifications that are relevant to the job are Cisco’s CCNA Security, CompTIA Security+, and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).
How do Ethical Hackers Work
The jobs of an ethical hacker include
– Finding vulnerabilities: The ethical hacker assesses an organization’s IT resource to determine in what aspect they are susceptible to an attack. Some of these vulnerabilities may be broken authentication, unpatched software, insecure applications, injection attacks, and lack of password encryption.
– Demonstrations: An ethical hacker has the job of carrying out demonstrations to company executives. During the demonstration, they display some of the strategies malicious hackers can utilize to attack the company.
– Preparing for a Cyber Attack: The job of the ethical hacker is very instrumental in the defense of the IT assets of a company. They help the company prepare against potential threats through their different strategies.
The ethical hacker deploys the same tactics as the malicious hacker when evaluating the security architecture of the resource. They aim to gather as much information as possible about the security of the asset.
When the ethical hacker gathers information about the breaches, they do not go on to exploit the breach. They make reports to the relevant executives about the source of the vulnerabilities.
The ethical hackers will prepare a detailed report when they finish the assessment. In the report, the vulnerabilities will be outlined, and the solutions will also be documented.
Some of the operating techniques ethical hackers use include:
– SQL injection: Injection attacks are attack vectors. During the attack, there is an input into the program. The interpreter executes the input as part of a program. Ethical hackers use this technique in detecting vulnerabilities in the system and network.
– Sniffing: It is the process of monitoring and capturing data packets that pass through a network. Sniffing is one of the techniques attackers use in capturing sensitive data from a network. Ettercap and Wireshark are some of the tools used by ethical hackers for sniffing.
– Scanning networks for vulnerabilities. Netsparker is one of the applications used by ethical hackers to scan for vulnerabilities in a web network.
Protocols of Ethical Hacking
There are legal protocols that accompany ethical hacking such as;
– Every action to be carried out by the hacker must receive legal authorization from the appropriate quarters.
– The hacker should define the scope of their evaluation to ensure it is within the approved legal agreement.
– The hacker is mandated to report every susceptibility detected during the assessment.
– Data is sensitive to the hacker and the client. The hacker may have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to prevent important information from leaking. All information concerning the resource identified by the hacker should be shared with the client only.
Ethical Hacking vs Penetration Testing
What is the difference between ethical hacking and penetration testing? Ethical hacking evaluates the system to assess the susceptibilities in the system. Penetration testing can be classified as part of ethical hacking. In penetration testing, assessment is done on a specific part of the network, not on the whole network. The job of the ethical hacker includes carrying out multiple penetration tests on different parts of the network.
Ethical hacking is very important to the cybersecurity of an organization’s network and data. As the propensity for cyber-attacks become higher, ethical hackers are in high demand. It is required for an ethical hacker to have in-depth knowledge of different hacking techniques. Hire an ethical hacker today.