When you think of hackers, you usually think of people in hoodies trying to steal sensitive data from big companies – ethical hacking sounds like a contradiction.
The truth is that many people who get into hacking do so for absolutely honest reasons. There are many good reasons to learn how to hack. These can be divided into neutral reasons for "gray hat" and productive reasons for "white hat".
What is hoes with a gray hat?
First, it's the love of making things: seeing how things work, and empowering oneself. The same impulse that causes a child to disassemble and reverse a watch could motivate you to see if you can handle the safety of X program or Y equally effectively.
It's reassuring to know that you can defend yourself online  Hopefully you never have to hack into an email account, but it's still appealing to know that you have when needed could (your sister was kidnapped!). It's a bit like martial arts. Most of us hope that you will never have to fight for real money, but it is reassuring to know that you can defend yourself.
Hacking can really be a useful means of self-defense. If you read an introduction to ethical hacking, you can learn about the threats to your privacy and security on the Internet. In this way, you can protect yourself from possible attacks and make smarter decisions. With the beginning of the Internet of Things more and more of our lives will be "online". Learning the fundamentals of data security may soon be a matter of self-preservation.
Introduction of the ethical hacker
Ethical hacking is also highly monetizable. If you want to avoid livelihoods, there are many highly profitable career paths to that end. You can work as an information security analyst, pentester, or general IT expert or sell your knowledge online through courses and e-books. While many jobs are destroyed by automation and digitization, the demand for security specialists will only increase.
Ethical hacking is highly monetizable.
Someone who works in one of these areas is usually what we understand by the term "ethical hacker". "Let us explore further.
How is hacking done?
At a fundamental level, ethical hackers are testing the security of systems. Every time you use a system in an unintended manner, you hack it. Usually this means evaluating the "inputs" of a system.
Entries can range from the forms on a website to opening rich ports in a network. These are required for interaction with certain services, but are targets for hackers.
Sometimes this can mean rethinking. Have a USB stick lying around and it is often plugged in by someone who finds it. This can give the owner of the USB stick tremendous control over the affected system. There are many inputs that you normally do not consider to be a threat, but an accomplished hacker can find a way to exploit them.
More input means a larger "attack surface" or more options for attackers. This is one of the reasons why it is not always such a good idea for developers to constantly add new functions (so-called feature bloat). A security analyst often tries to reduce this attack surface by removing unnecessary input.
Hacking Hackers: Top Strategies
To be an effective ethical hacker, you need to know what you are doing. As an ethical hacker or "pentester," your job is to try these types of attacks against customers so you can give them the ability to close the vulnerabilities.
Your job is to try these types of attacks Attacks on clients
These are just a few examples of a hacker's attempt to invade a network:
A phishing attack is a form of "social engineering" where a hacker targets the user (the "wetware") rather than the network directly. They try to persuade the user to voluntarily share their data, possibly by posing as an IT repair rep or by sending an email that appears to come from a brand they are dealing with and trusting in (this is referred to as spoofing). You may even create a fake website with forms that capture details.
Regardless, the attacker only needs to use these details to log in to an account, and he has access to the network.
Spear phishing is phishing aimed at a specific person within an organization. Whaling means attacking the biggest kahunas – senior leaders and managers. Phishing in most cases does not require computer literacy. Sometimes a hacker just needs an e-mail address.
This is probably a bit closer to what you imagine when you imagine hackers. Structured Query Language (SQL) lets you describe a set of commands that you can use to manipulate data stored in a database. When you submit a form on a Web site to create a new user password, an entry is usually created in a table that contains that data.
Sometimes the form also inadvertently accepts commands that allow a hacker to retrieve or manipulate entries illegally.
It would take a long time for a hacker or pentester to manually look for these opportunities on a large website or web application. There tools like Hajiv are used. This automatically searches for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. This is extremely useful for security professionals, but also for individuals with intent.
A zero-day exploit works by looking for vulnerabilities in the coding or in the security logs of a software developer before the developer has the opportunity to mend these. This may include targeting a company's own software or targeting the software it uses. In a famous attack, hackers managed to access the security cameras in the office of a company without daily exploits. From there they could record everything that interested them.
A hacker may create malware that exploits this vulnerability, and then covertly install it on the target's computer. This is a type of hacking that benefits from knowing how to code.
Brute Force Attack
A brute force attack is a method of cracking a combination of password and username. This works by going through each possible combination individually until it hits the winning pair – just as an intruder could go through combinations on a vault. This method typically uses software that can run the process on its behalf.
A Denial of Service (DOS) attack means that a given server shut down for a period of time will no longer be able to provide its usual services. Therefore the name!
DOS attacks are performed by paging traffic to or sending traffic to a server so often that it becomes overloaded with traffic. This can require hundreds of thousands or even millions of queries.
The largest DOS attacks are distributed to multiple computers (collectively referred to as botnets) that malware has taken over from hackers. This makes them DDOS attacks.
Your Job as an Ethical Hacker
This is just a small selection of the various methods and strategies that hackers commonly access networks. Part of the attraction of ethical hacking for many is thinking creatively and looking for potential security holes that others would miss.
As an ethical hacker, your job is to scan, identify and then attack vulnerabilities to test a company's security. Once you find such gaps, create a report that should include corrective action.
For example, if you perform a successful phishing attack, you may recommend training for people who can better identify fraudulent messages. If you have zero-day malware on computers on the network, you may be advised to install better firewalls and antivirus software. You can suggest that the company update their software or stop using certain tools at all. If you find weaknesses in the proprietary software, you can alert the development team to them.
How To Start As An Ethical Hacker
If this sounds interesting to you, there are a variety of courses on the Internet that teach ethical hacking. Here is one named The Ethical Hacker Bootcamp Bundle.
You should also read our article to become an information security analyst who will show you the best certifications, job search opportunities, and more.
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