In the 1960s, skilled professionals were re-developing mainframe systems while also working to improve their efficiency. So, the term ‘Hacker’ had its origins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Today, it is a widely used term. We use it to refer to skilled programmers who can access a computer system without any authorization. The hackers' intentions might be wrong, like, for example, cracking passwords to obtain confidential information.
With both individuals and companies relying on the Internet and e-commerce, malicious hackers are becoming increasingly common. In fact, in recent years, films and tv shows glorify this description of a "malicious hacker." And as a rule of thumb, what makes a hacker malicious is his intention to steal valuable information.
But is all hacking bad? Not at all. There is another type of hacking called Ethical hacking.
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In this article, we will dig deep into 'What is Ethical Hacking' and cover several other topics. What do we mean by it, and more importantly, do we need it? Let's find out.
Before we define the term, let's first understand what is ethical hacking is. In simple terms, it is the process of finding weaknesses in a system and then using those weaknesses to gain unauthorized access. It is no surprise that hacking is illegal, and many individuals have found themselves behind bars because of it. Therefore, this hacking is called unethical hacking.
Did you know that hacking can be legal if you can get permission for it? Companies hire experts to hack into their systems to find their weaknesses. It helps the businesses rectify them and prevent malicious hackers from gaining confidential information as well.
In summary, the individuals who hack into systems legally with permission, without any malicious end-goal, are known as ethical hackers. And the process is called ethical hacking.
Some of the different ethical hacking practices are:
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Now that we know what is ethical hacking is let's look at the evolution of ethical hacking.
There are four high points in the history and evolution of ethical hacking.
Ethical hackers follow four core principles:
Typically, there are three types of hackers.
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An ethical hacker is also known as a white-hat hacker. They gain access to a system with proper approval to find out vulnerabilities. They intend to fix them before a malicious hacker exploits them.
Black hat hackers are also called crackers. They hack into a system without any permission and harm its network or steal confidential and sensitive information. This hacking is illegal and includes work like stealing corporate data, damaging systems, violating data privacy, etc.
The last type of hacker is the grey hat hacker, a combination of both black hat and white hat hacker. They usually hack for fun, and they exploit a system without the owner's knowledge.
The top skills to become an ethical hacker include:
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Ethical hacking is divided into six phases, which include:
Reconnaissance refers to gathering information relevant to the target system, including operating systems, IP configuration, detecting services, etc. In this phase, some of the tools used are Nmap, Hping, Google Dorks, etc.
In the scanning phase, the hacker examines the target machine or the network for any weaknesses. Tools used in this process include Nessus, Nexpose, and NMAP.
In this phase, the identified weakness is exploited using several methods. The hacker tries to enter the target system without raising any alarms. The main tool used in the process is Metasploit.
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This phase is essential, as the hacker installs backdoors and payloads onto the target system. Payloads are activities performed on a system after gaining unauthorized access. Backdoors help the hacker gain access quickly.
It is the last stage in the ethical hacking process. In this phase, the ethical hacker makes a report with the results. It includes the tools used, the success rate, vulnerabilities found, and the exploit processes.
|Related Article: Top 15 Ethical Hacking Tools|
Although ethical hacking can be beneficial for organizations and individuals, limitations exist for it. Three main ones are:
Ethical hacking can have a limited scope: Although it's not impossible to discuss out-of-scope attack potential with an organization, limitations exist to make an attack successful.
Limited resources: Computer power and budget are two limited primary resources in ethical hacking. Unlike malicious hackers, white hat hackers have time constraints.
Restricted methods: Organizations ask ethical hackers to avoid test cases that make servers crash:— for example, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
As the number of internet users increases, businesses are relying on the Internet more and more. With the numbers rising, there is a greater risk of security breaches and leakage of data. Malicious hackers are finding ways to cause damage to businesses, so organizations need new plans and security measures to prevent dangerous attacks.
Therefore, the demand for skilled, ethical hackers is also increasing day by day. It is vital and has a positive future ahead.
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I am Ruchitha, working as a content writer for MindMajix technologies. My writings focus on the latest technical software, tutorials, and innovations. I am also into research about AI and Neuromarketing. I am a media post-graduate from BCU – Birmingham, UK. Before, my writings focused on business articles on digital marketing and social media. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.
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