Ethical Hacking Tutorial: What Is Ethical Hacking?

This Free Ethical Hacking Tutorial explains what is Ethical Hacking, what are different types of Hackers, how to become an Ethical Hacker & Certification Needed:

For over a decade now, the term hacking has been used in the context of the developed technology in computers. When one hears of the term hacking, fear runs down the spine as they imagine losing information stored in computers and systems.

Hacking is an act of identifying the weakness in a computer system or network and getting into the system with intentions of acquiring information illegally. This act could result in loss of data, finances, or even the network.

Ethical Hacking

How do bank managers feel when robbers enter into their bank and succeed in stealing money stored in safes? It must be a rough time for them, and hey, that’s exactly what happens in the computer world! Here, the safe is a system or a computer where information is stored, a bank manager is the owner of the information, and robbers are the hackers.

What Is Ethical Hacking?

Often hacking is used illegally in penetrating governmental systems and private systems. In the modern world where we have social media, hackers may also hack into people’s accounts on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

In research done in 2019 by Cyber Security Breaches Survey, in the last 12 months, businesses and charities have reported that they are experiencing a security breach in cybersecurity in the proportion of 32% and 22% respectively.

Security Survey

Comparing these figures with previous year’s data of experience in breaches/attacks, it is found to be on the higher side, especially in medium and large businesses with 60% and 61% respectively, and 52% in high-income charities.

Among the common types of breaches and attacks which were reported across the board were phishing attacks, which accounted for almost 80% of the attacks. Other common breaches were impersonation, viruses, spyware or malware, and ransomware attacks.

This is a clear indication of how ethical hackers are marketable worldwide to prevent this big margins loss.

The question is no longer if the data will be compromised, but when it will be and how much loss it will cause. Being vigilant is not enough, it requires serious consideration of securing data to be on the safer side to maintain trust with customers.

That is where ethical hackers come in and reason for their ever-growing demand globally, to help employers in finding weaknesses in their computer systems that could be an easy target for nasty hackers to destroy and shut down the systems.

Unlike before, when the impact of cyber-attack was taken lightly compared to other forms of attacks, a different perspective has been developed. Cybercrimes are now considered as the potential business destructors and more fatal than any other method of destruction. The network has enabled criminals to operate from a distant geographic location and a preferred platform for their ill works.

Ethical hackers now have an edge to table their bargain since businesses are ready to pay for something that can be mitigated.

How Can I Protect Myself From Being Hacked?

If you think only computers and big parastatal systems can be hacked, you are all wrong. All devices connected to a network can be hacked. Your smartphone, tablet, mini laptop, etc., they all are vulnerable to hacking. Protecting oneself from being hacked is better than recovering oneself from a hacked situation.

Everything is stored digitally on my computer and I don’t need the physical storage space. And also, it’s convenient to retrieve data. Think again friend, that’s a wrong move. Most important documents should also have a physical copy available in case the worst happens.

You rush to respond to every single message in your email or even from other online platforms. You are at risk again. Consider answering messages only to those whom you know or expect to be communicating with. That way, you eliminate some risks of being under attack.

Using multiple passwords is great. You don’t want to rely on automatically generated passwords. They are very hard to remember. Huh! Consider using a combination of numbers and alphabets that are significant in your life. Great! They are safer but remember to share them with your spouse. When they are angry, you can get a pick-up line. “I forgot my password honey”.

Types Of Hackers

Types of Hackers

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Below are the different types of hackers based on their intentions of hacking.

#1) White Hackers: These are the good-intentioned hackers. They are also known as ethical hackers whose main agenda is to penetrate systems and networks in an attempt to identify weaknesses that malicious hackers might utilize. If you want to catch a thief, set one white hacker. They identify and close the loopholes using penetrative testing.

#2) Black Hat Hackers: These are hackers who destroy your important data by accessing your system without authorization. They are criminals who use practices from earlier experiences.

#3) Gray Hat Hackers: They are undecided hackers, who can be good or bad. Standing at the door, they can get in or out. Their actions are illegal and when they hack to fulfill their personal gains, they fall under black hat hackers. When they hack in order to close the loopholes they then fall under white hackers.

#4) Script Kiddies: These are newbies who know nothing about hacking. They are just there to showcase their skills to whoever is interested to lend them attention. Mostly they are young adults who want to impress their agemates.

#5) State/National Sponsored Hackers: These are experts hired by a government to provide cybersecurity and protect the country from attack by other countries. They also help the country to gain confidential information from other countries with the purpose of being at the top or for other reasons.

#6) Miscellaneous Hackers: This is a subset of hackers who are categorized according to how they hack their target and the mode of doing it.

  • Red Hat Hackers: They are a blend of black and white hackers and they target systems with sensitive information such as systems for governments, military, parastatals, etc.
  • Blue Hat Hackers: These are usually experts who are not part of the security personnel but are given a contract to test a system before it is launched to guarantee its safety.
  • Elite Hackers: These are the gurus in the game. They are simply the best and have all the information at their fingertips about any new development in hacking.
  • Neophytes: These are newbies who are still green in hacking. They have no knowledge of hacking at all.
  • Hacktivists: Their work is to maximize technology in trying to convey a message about politics, society, or religion.

Different Threats Of Hacking

“Computers hack other computers”, that’s a myth right there. Rather, it is evil-minded people who hack due to their selfish nature for their own benefit.

Enlisted below is an overview of threats associated with hacking:

  • Botnets: Many people do not know about it mostly because it is hardly noticed. It comprises of robots that form a battalion of sick computers infected with the virus, where the creator controls them remotely. Interestingly, your computer may be one of the soldiers in the battalion, and you would never know it.
  • Malware: This is the easiest way to damage your computer. This software is malicious and could infect your computer with trojan horses, computer viruses, or worms. They can send emails, delete files, steal information, and hold your computer hostage.
  • Pharming: This form is very common when you are doing an online activity. Do not click all links directing you to that website! It is a set up you don’t want to fall into. Once you are on the website, it may require your personal details which upon entry, you are cornered by malicious individuals.
  • Phishing: This is a very easy procedure and preferred by hackers since it does not require too much time. This method includes sending fake messages, email which looks like originating from trusted sources.

So, when the system requests you to validate your information or for account confirmation, that’s the time when you need to think outside the normal flow in order to understand the intention. The hacker may be nearer than you think.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking

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There are still good guys. Good hackers too, not all hackers are bad. Perhaps you might need their services sooner than you know. Well, let’s learn about good hackers.

Ethical hacking refers to an action of breaching a system and maneuvering it with the intention of identifying weak points that a malicious hacker may use. Ethical hackers, therefore, think like hackers and take actions to protect you from being hacked.

We know, you must have liked how it sounds. Basically, protection is better than cure, and that constitutes the work of an ethical hacker who protects the system from the threat of attack. Retrieving an already hacked system is a long process; you do not want to go through it.

Ethical Hacking -Right or Wrong?

Ethical Hacking -Right or Wrong

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Ethical hacking is a result of increased online bullying and threat. They are there to combat the threat that is brought about by illegal hackers. Some people don’t trust ethical hackers and even criticize them by arguing that a hacker is just a hacker. Think of this, if all hackers were to be malicious, could there be a system that would survive?

You are right. Not even one. As a matter of fact, ethical hackers are the reason you are not fired at your company! They have protected your company from collapse by blocking loopholes in your computer systems to keep hackers out. They deserve applause and must be awarded for their great work.

Before you throw shades at ethical hackers, be open-minded, and see the advantages they present to those who do not even realize it. They save firms and governments money for ransomware which is requested by nasty hackers in order to restore the system back to normal.

It is also comforting for a firm to know that their systems are being hacked by ethical hackers, hence there is no fear of losing information and thus they get a chance to fix weak points to improve security.

How To Become An Ethical Hacker?

Becoming an Ethical Hacker as A Career Path

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All humans have freedom of choice. Do you want to be a good hacker or a bad hacker? You know the answer better.

To begin with, ethical hacking has a handsome pay. The average income of an ethical hacker is around $71,331, an irresistible amount, and the joy of doing something meaningful for society.

There is a wide variety of employment opportunities for ethical hackers in the army, air force, and General Dynamics Information Technology to safeguard them against attacks.

Recommended Reading => Best Online Ethical Hacking Courses

Guide To Become An Ethical Hacker

This is a stepwise process as described below:

#1) Understanding ethical hacking: An understanding of who an ethical hacker is and what his role is the first step.

#2) The skills required to start your career as an ethical hacker: This is a demanding path that necessitates one to be keeping abreast of the daily developments in this field. Some technical knowledge in programming and scripting is an added advantage. Examples are HTML, Python, Java, C, C++, ASP, etc.

#3) Certified Ethical Defender: A vast knowledge of security in the network is needed. They need to understand thoroughly the operations of the network, its traffic, configuring firewall, network scanning, etc.

#4) Acquire the required skills: For one to be accepted as an ethical hacker, there is a three-step procedure that is followed as listed below.

Through EC Councils, you will be taught comprehensively under various hacking courses. After completing the program, one moves a step closer to achieving his/her dreams.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker: This program is designed at helping one to grasp the most important bits of ethical hacking. Major topics taught here are network scanning, sniffing, system hacking, etc. The program is updated according to developmental changes in the world so as to provide skills based on what is in the field.
  • CEH Practical Program: The aim of this program is to examine an ethical hacker’s skills in all subjects. It tests ethical hacking skills in a 6-hour exam.
  • Other Important Skills: Becoming a pro is not an overnight work. It requires hard work through practice and self-learning. Thinking outside the box comes in handy in this field as you cannot afford to be thinking the same way as others.

Keeping abreast of current developments in hacking is important.

Certified Ethical Hacker

Most companies request to employ certified ethical hackers and lack of certification results in losing the opportunity. Pick a program and get a certificate.

The more information an expert gets the more they desire to undergo the Certified Ethical Hacker program. This course is accredited in providing complicated tools for hacking and provides the necessary skills like how one can breakthrough into an organization’s system.

If you want to catch a thief you must think as one, same applies here in this field where one has to be technically a hacker but for the right reasons. The course takes one through the hacker’s way of thinking but for purposes of protecting instead of wrecking systems.

The requirement is to test, perform hacking, detect it through scanning, and secure it.

Sounds interesting now, the juiciest part is that it offers teaching on the five phases of hacking which include:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Gaining Access
  • Enumeration
  • Maintaining Access
  • Covering your tracks.

Certified Ethical Hacking

Future Of Ethical Hacking

Future of Ethical Hacking

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Rapid changes have occurred in the world with globalization and innovation of new technology leading the way. Technology is replacing most of the jobs that were done manually and the future of these jobs 10 to 20 years from now is worrying.

According to Cyber Defense Magazine, about 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals will be needed to fill the demand by 2022. The increased innovations in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have pushed the demand to have professionals for the security of online data even higher.

As technology is improving day in day out so are the jobs around the field evolving. Some of the current jobs may still have a chance of having a place tomorrow. The future for this job is bright taking into account that organizations and governments are in dire need of security for their data.

Security analysts and ethical hackers professionals are projected to realize a job growth of 32% between now and 2028 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This shows that the future of ethical hacking is bright and the demand will likely skyrocket in the near future.

Conclusion

Hacking has turned out to be a lucrative business for criminals in this era where data has become critical. The need to curb malicious hacking and its devastating effects and the need for data security has led to the emergence of ethical hackers.

They test the system for the possibility of being hacked and take caution as well as apply measures that ensure data is sealed. It involves all devices that store information and uses the network. There are also different types of hackers, based on their intentions and their mode of operation.

Ethical hacking is a good practice that enhances security. All businesses should consider applying it to their firms if they want to protect their operations and data.

Becoming an ethical hacker requires a stepwise procedure and certification, and that legalizes their operations.

The future of ethical hacking is looking brighter with exponential expected growth. The salary is also better compared to other sectors. Choosing to be an ethical hacker can be the best move for your career.