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/ Uncategorized / KIKrr’s Ultimate Guide on “What is Ethical Hacking?”
KiK some ACKs

KIKrr’s Ultimate Guide on “What is Ethical Hacking?”

For many people, the term “hacking” tends to have a negative connotation; usually, what comes to mind is cybercriminals running away with buckets of money or a stockpile of sensitive data. Another side to hacking, also known as ethical hacking, is less talked about but is a critical weapon in the fight against hacks and data breaches. 

This blog examines what ethical hacking is, the types of hackers, the governing pillars of ethical hacking, and so much more.

What is Ethical Hacking? 

Ethical hacking, also known as white hat hacking, is cybersecurity experts that perform security assessments to ensure an organization’s safety. The difference with ethical hacking is that these individuals have the blessing and approval of a company’s top decision-makers. Typically, ethical hackers focus on plugging up all network weak points or vulnerabilities.

Ethical hacking follows the motto “it takes a thief to catch a thief,” the main difference being that white hat hackers are legal and proactively work to prevent potential data breaches. Typically, ethical hackers examine vulnerabilities which include injection attacks, changes in security settings, exposure of sensitive data, a breach in authentication protocols, and much more. 

3 Main Types of Hackers

Every good story needs a hero and a villain; the world of hacking is no different. Here are the three main types of hackers and a short description of each. 

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1. Black Hat Hackers

Black hat hackers are the villains of every cybersecurity story; these cybercriminals work to covertly crack into networks to steal piles of money or make off with sensitive data. Once a black hat hacker finds a vulnerability, they’ll work to exploit that weak point by implanting a virus or malware.

2. White Hat Hackers

However, the hero of every story is the white hat hackers, who work tirelessly to identify and seal off any points of entry throughout a network. Ethical hackers are critical to a company’s network’s security and future success. 

3. Gray Hat Hackers

The third type, gray hat hackers, are in the middle between white and black hat hackers, often company employees acting on their own accord. Although these hackers don’t normally have any malicious intent, they usually act without prior consent to test a network’s vulnerabilities, essentially operating with the mindset that “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

Here are Some Other Types of Hackers

The cybersecurity space is dynamic and ever-growing, making it no surprise that several other less-talked-about types of hackers exist. Below are the other types of hackers and a summary of each category. 

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1. Green Hat Hackers

Green hat hackers are “green” because they’re relatively inexperienced in hacking and are still working on developing their skill set. Typically, green hat hackers fall into the “black hat hacker” type as they use phishing campaigns and engineering techniques to gain unauthorized access to a network. 

2. Blue Hat Hackers

Blue hat hackers fall into the “white hat hacker” category, as they are usually company employees that work to improve the firm’s security systems by conducting penetration tests.

3. Red Hat Hackers

Red hat hackers, also known as vigilante hackers, are driven to fight against black hat hackers by secretly infiltrating black hat-only communities on the dark web. These hackers, once inside, will launch cyber attacks on the networks of those in that black hat group. 

Governing Concepts of Ethical Hacking

Unlike black hat hackers, ethical hackers must follow guidelines to ensure they don’t cause any harm and produce the best possible outcomes. Here are the key concepts that govern all ethical hackers which includes:

A. Always stay legal; ethical hackers must have permission before attempting to gain access and begin their assessment. 

B. Clearly defined scope, ethical hackers must be precise on the scope of their assessment to ensure all activities remain legal and above board. 

C. Report all vulnerabilities; ethical hackers must notify their superiors regarding what weak points they come across immediately and ideally provide a suggested remedy. 

D. Always be considerate of sensitive data; ethical hackers must be aware that they might have access to sensitive information while conducting their security assessment. 

These guidelines ensure that all white hat hackers keep their assessments legal and ethical, ensuring that every assessment is correct. Ethical hacking is only possible with such policies because there would be no universal understanding of acceptable behavior. 

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Advantages of Ethical Hacking

Regarding the advantages of ethical hacking, there are several benefits that every firm should keep in mind. First, ethical hacking is the best tool in the fight against cyber-terrorism and network breaches, a growing trend that shows no signs of slowing down. 

Ethical hacking is also proactive rather than reactive, giving organizations the tools to stay safe. Lastly, ethical hacking allows companies to develop a secure system that hackers cannot breach. 

Disadvantages of Ethical Hacking 

Regarding the disadvantages of ethical hacking, there are some downsides to this type of hacking. It’s important to note that with ethical hacking, there’s a potential for corrupting company files and data and permanently destroying them. The next disadvantage is that disgruntled programmers conducting an assessment might decide to steal any sensitive information for themselves. 

Along with that, it’s critical to remember that ethical hacking does have costs for the company associated with them, both financial and time-based. Lastly, there’s always the possibility that when ethical hacking, an assessment might creep outside the scope, making it illegal or invading someone’s privacy. 

The 6 Phases of Ethical Hacking

It’s no surprise that ethical hacking has a set of procedures that get followed. Here are the six phases of ethical hacking, along with a description of the purpose of each stage. 

1. Reconnaissance

Ethical hackers begin with reconnaissance before any hacking commences. In this phase, white hat hackers gather as much preliminary information as possible about the specific system. 

2. Scanning

Next, ethical hackers will check out where the network’s weak points are, which tend to be quite apparent after the scan. Based on the available information, this stage gives the ethical hacker a good idea of how and where a cyberattack might originate. 

3. Gaining Access

During phase three, the ethical hacker will work to begin hacking and gain access to the network. In this case, the ethical hacker will pretend to act how a malicious hacker would, from cracking passwords and covertly bypassing all security measures. 

4. Maintaining Access

After that, the ethical hacker will focus on maintaining access to their hack, using a backdoor already existing in the network to assist with exploiting the network in the future. 

5. Clearing Tracks 

In stage five, the ethical hacker will conclude the hack on the network and remove any traces of their activities on the device or network. The ethical hacker removes any backdoors, executables, or logs, which black hat hackers do to avoid having an attack traced back to them. 

6. Produce a Final Report

Finally, in phase six, the ethical hacker writes a report on the lessons learned from the hack and shares it with the company’s decision-makers, including potential recommendations. 

Ethical Hacking Applications

Here is a brief list of the most common ethical hacking applications and their purpose in preventing cyberattacks. 

Web Application Hacking

Web application hacking is when a programmer works to exploit a piece of software over HTTP. In these cases, the ethical hacker focuses on manipulating the software’s visual chrome browser by toying with the URI or even colluding with some aspects of the HTTP not found in the URI.  

System Hacking

System hacking involves password busting, privilege escalation, malicious software construction, and packet sniffing, all of which are protective measures that IT security experts can use to combat potential cyberattacks. 

Web Server Hacking

Most application software database servers produce web information in real-time. This fact allows hackers to use Gluing, ping deluge, port scan, and sniffing attack strategies to make off sensitive information, passwords, and anything deemed valuable in the web application. 

Hacking Wireless Networks

All wireless networks use radio waves to transmit and receive information, which malicious hackers can easily exploit. For ethical hackers, it’s crucial to uncover any vulnerabilities within the wireless network before any black hat hackers begin snooping around. 

You’ll Get a KIK Out of Us 

If you like what you’re reading and want more, stay tuned as we examine ongoing cybersecurity events every week and dissect major topics surrounding this exciting tech area. Head to our website to learn more about how KIKrr is changing the SaaS demo sector, or go to our blog to read more past blogs today! 

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