Ethical Hacking Tutorial

Ethical hacking is often a process commonly accepted by big players in the technology industry in order to safeguard their organizations from future investigations by malicious hackers. Under this Ethical Hacking Tutorial, I'll go over some of the most important aspects of this globally practiced discipline. The following topics will be covered such as ethical hacking, ethical hacker roles, why ethical hacking security threat, ethical hacking skills, tools, etc in an elaborate manner.

What is ethical hacking?

The act of hacking is defined as the process of identifying and exploiting a set of vulnerabilities in a target system. Ethical hacking distinguishes itself from hacking by incorporating a critical component into the process – 'consent.' The addition of the term "consent" to this process serves two purposes:

  • The procedure is now a legal activity.
  • Because the ethical hacker obtains permission before hacking into a system, it is legally ensured that he does not have malicious intent. This is usually accomplished by requiring the ethical hacker to sign contracts that legally bind him to work on improving the company's security.

Ethical hacker roles:

Ethical hackers play a variety of roles within the organizations for which they work. Given that ethical hacking is used by both public and private organizations, the objectives could be diverse, and they can be comes down to some few important aspects –

  • Ensure the interests of the company for which the ethical hacker works.
  • Report any type of inconsistency in the framework to the correlating division in charge of repairing the vulnerability.
  • Inform hardware / software vendors of any vulnerabilities discovered in their product, which is then used to organise business operations.

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Why is ethical hacking important?

Data has evolved into a valuable resource. As a result, the preservation of privacy and data integrity has grown dramatically. In core, this makes ethical hacking critical today!This is significant to mention that virtually every company seems to have a website. The internet was used as a form of media for public relations, digital marketing, and sales. As a result, any end state used to represent the platform is potentially vulnerable.

Besides that, hackers of today have demonstrated to be creative geniuses whenever it comes to breaking into a system. Battling fire with fire may not work in real life, but a system needs others with the same thought process to combat a hacker of this caliber.Latest hacking outages have resulted in millions of dollars in losses. These incidents have served as a wake-up call to businesses all over the world, prompting them to reconsider the importance of ethical hacking and cybersecurity.

After laying the groundwork for ethical hackers by defining their roles and significance to an organization, let's all keep moving on to evaluate some critical components of ethical hacking throughout this ethical hacking tutorial.

What is a security threat?

As an ethical hacker, you would have to deal with a variety of security threats on a daily basis.

A security threat would be any risk which has the ability to ruin a system or a company as a whole. Let's go through the kinds of security threats.

Types of threats:

There are two kinds of threats:

Physical Threats:

Physical threats are further classified into three types.

  • Internal issues such as hardware fires, faulty power supplies, internal hardware failures, and so on.
  • Floods, fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters are examples of external events.
  • Vandalism, arson, unintentional errors, and so on are all examples of human behavior.

Non-Physical Threats

Non-physical threats are any threats that do not have a physical manifestation. They are also referred to as logical threats. On a daily basis, an ethical hacker deals with non-physical threats, and it is his responsibility to devise preventive measures for these threats.

Preventive measures for security threats:

Since most protection strategies used by ethical hackers vary by organization due to unique needs, individuals can be ultimately boils down to a few key methodologies which are universally followed –

  • Every company must implement a logical security measure. This could also include cognitive cybersecurity measures implemented by a company that uses an incident response system.
  • Using multi-factor authentication systems can improve and increase the efficiency of authentication. Authentication methods include user IDs and strong passwords, smart cards, captchas, and biometrics.
  • Organizations sometimes use specially curated anti-viruses that are made with the company's specific needs in mind to protect against entities such as worms, trojans, viruses, and so on. Furthermore, an organization may find it advantageous to use control measures on the use of external storage devices and visiting websites that are most likely to download unauthorized programs onto the target.
  • To safeguard against denial of service attacks, intrusion detection and prevention systems can be used. Other safeguards can also be put in place to prevent denial of service attacks.

After discussing the kinds of threats that an ethical hacker encounters on a regular basis, let's go over the skills required to deal with the threats discussed in this ethical hacking tutorial.

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Ethical hacker skills:

A computer programmer who focuses on networking and penetration testing is known as an ethical hacker. This typically necessitates the following skill set –

  • Skilled in a variety of operating systems, primarily Linux and its variants. This is due to the fact that a significant portion of vulnerability testing entails infiltrating the target system and sifting through their system. This is impossible without a solid understanding of operating systems.
  • A solid understanding of networking is also essential for a successful career in ethical hacking. This includes packet tracking, sniffing, intrusion detection and prevention, scanning subnets, and so on.
  • Programming is now a vast topic with nuances in every language. As an ethical hacker, you are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades rather than a master-coder.

The major programming languages needed by the ethical hacker are HTMlL, Javascript, SQL, PHP, and bash.

Why do we need programming languages?

Since I've discussed that programming is a requirement for ethical hacking, I've been asked why. This is primarily due to people's lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of an ethical hacker. Here are a few of the reasons why programming knowledge is essential for an ethical hacking career:

Ethical hackers seem to be problem solvers and tool builders; learning to code will assist you in implementing solutions to problems.
Programming also aids in the automation of tasks that would otherwise take up valuable time to complete.
Writing programs could also assist you in identifying and exploiting programming flaws in the applications you will be targeting.
Programming knowledge can also be used to customize pre-existing tools to meet your specific requirements. For example, Metasploit is written in Ruby, and if you know how to write one in Ruby, you can add a new exploit to it.

Now we will discuss the ethical hacking tools in a more detailed way. 

Ethical hacking tools:

Because it is difficult to prevent every ethical hacking tool available in a single article, I will only cover some of the most well-known ones in this section:

  • Nmap:Nmap, which stands for Network Mapper, is a reconnaissance tool that ethical hackers use to assemble data on a particular system. This information is critical in determining the next steps in the attack on the target system.Nmap is indeed a cross-platform application that runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows. Because of its ease of use and powerful searching and scanning capabilities, it has gained enormous popularity in the hacking community.
  • Netsparker is a tool for testing the security of web applications. Netsparker detects and reports web application vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection and Cross-site Scripting (XSS) on all types of web applications, regardless of platform or technology.
  • Burp Suite is a Java-based framework for web penetration testing. It has evolved into an industry standard suite of tools for information security professionals to use. Burp Suite assists you in identifying vulnerabilities and verifying attack vectors influencing web applications. The wonderful web application bot is responsible for Burp Suite's undeniable acceptance and fame.
  • Metasploit is a Ruby-based open-source pen-testing framework. It serves as a public resource for investigating security flaws and designing code that allows a network to break from its own network in order to determine potential risks and report which security flaws must be answered first.It has been one of the few tools that novice hackers use to hone their skills. It also enables you to replicate websites for phishing and other forms of social engineering.

Now we will talk about social engineering in a detailed way.

Social Engineering:

Among many other malicious attacks, social engineering will have demonstrated to become a very important manner of hacking. The term encompasses a wide range of malicious activities carried out through human interactions. It employs psychological manipulation to dupe users into making security mistakes or disclosing sensitive information.The process of social engineering is multi-step. An offender first explores the alleged target to collect more information, such as prospective entry points and strict security procedures, that will be required to carry out the attack.

The attacker then wants to obtain the victim's trust as well as provide stimulation for consequent actions that violate security practices, such as disclosing information or giving access to system systems.

Social Engineering techniques:

Let us now discuss the various methods used for social engineering in this ethical hacking tutorial.:

  • Exploitation of Familiarity:You always put your trust in people you know, don't you? That is precisely what social engineering evangelists do!The perpetrator may become acquainted with the chosen target through everyday methods that have a friendly facade painted all over them. These can include things like going out for a smoke, going out for drinks, playing video games, and so on.
  • Phishing:Phishing has been found to be an excellent method of social engineering. Phishing is the practice of creating counterfeit websites that have the appearance and feel of a legitimate website. Visitors to the website are duped into entering their credentials, which are then saved and redirected to the hacker's system.
  • Exploiting human emotions is most likely the simplest form of social engineering. Greed and pity are easily triggered emotions. A social engineer may purposefully place a virus-infected flash disk in a location where users can easily pick it up.The user would almost certainly insert the flash disk into the computer. The drive could be infected with a variety of nonphysical threats, one of which could be an infected file.

This is an ethical hacker's responsibility to raise awareness about such techniques within the organization for which he or she works. Now, in this ethical hacking tutorial, let's talk about cryptography and cryptanalysis.

Cryptography:

The art of converting text into an unreadable format is known as cryptography. If your data falls into the wrong hands, you can rest easy as long as it is properly encrypted. Only the person in possession of the decryption key will be able to view the data. An ethical hacker is more interested in the operation of algorithms that allow him to decipher data without the use of a key. This is known as cryptanalysis.

Cryptanalysis is the analysis of evaluating systems in order to research the processor architectures' important features. Cryptanalysis is a technique for breaching cryptographic security measures and gaining access to the information of encrypted messages, even when the cryptographic key is unknown. Cryptanalysis has given rise to techniques such as brute force, dictionary attacks, and rainbow table attacks.The achievement of cryptanalysis is determined by the amount of time available, the computational power accessible, and the amount of storage available.

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Important cryptographic algorithms:

Here we will learn about the most common cryptographic algorithms. They are:

  • MD5 is an abbreviation for Message-Digest 5. It's being used to generate hash values of 128 bits. In theory, hashes cannot be reversed back to the original plain text. MD5 is used to encrypt passwords and verify data integrity. MD5 is not resistant to collisions. The difficulty in finding two values that produce the same hash values is referred to as collision resistance.
  • SHA is an abbreviation for Secure Hash Algorithm. To generate condensed representations of a message, SHA algorithms are used (message digest). It comes in a variety of forms, including;
  • 1.SHA-0 generates hash values of 120 bits. Due to significant flaws, it was phased out and replaced by SHA-1.

2.SHA-1 generates hash values of 160 bits. It's similar to previous versions of MD5. It has cryptographic flaws and has not been recommended for use since 2010.

3.SHA-2 is a hash function that has two hash functions: SHA-256 and SHA-512. SHA-256 employs 32-bit words, whereas SHA-512 employs 64-bit words.

4. SHA-3: Keccak was the formal name for this algorithm.

RC4 – this algorithm is used in the creation of stream ciphers. It is most commonly used in protocols like Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt internet communication and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) to secure wireless networks.

Conclusion:

This concludes our discussion of ethical hacking. If you want to learn Cybersecurity and build a rewarding career in this field, consider our Cybersecurity Certification Training, which includes instructor-led live training and real-world project experience. This training will help you gain a thorough understanding of cybersecurity and mastery of the subject.

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Saritha Reddy
Saritha Reddy
Research Analyst
A technical lead content writer in HKR Trainings with an expertise in delivering content on the market demanding technologies like Networking, Storage & Virtualization,Cyber Security & SIEM Tools, Server Administration, Operating System & Administration, IAM Tools, Cloud Computing, etc. She does a great job in creating wonderful content for the users and always keeps updated with the latest trends in the market. To know more information connect her on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.