As Part of Celebrations for National Day of Ethical Hacking, Here’s a Guide to the Profession

In honour of today’s National Day of Ethical Hacking, let’s go through the eight essential requirements for entering the field.

Ok, so let’s begin.

Why do people hack?

Hacking is a term used to describe the malicious manipulation of a computer’s security systems in order to gain access to its internal networks. In other words, hacking is the unauthorised and often illegal exploitation of a computer’s security features in order to gain access to confidential network data.

Simply put, what is the definition of ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking is the process of finding and addressing security weaknesses within a company’s network or cloud infrastructure with the purpose of preventing malicious cyberattacks. It involves a set of techniques and tools used to identify security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals, such as malware, ransomware, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. By detecting and mitigating security threats, ethical hacking helps organisations reduce the risk of data breaches and other cyber-related incidents.

Who or what is a hacker?

An IT professional who “hacks” a system uses non-standard approaches to solve problems or reach their goals.

In the hacking world, you can encounter any one of the following

  • The Good Guys: An ethical hacker is someone who utilises their skills for good, rather than evil. Criminal intent is absent from the minds of such hackers.
  • Sinister hat: An individual with hostile intentions who uses hacking techniques to obtain access to computer systems or networks belonging to others.
  • Black hat: In computer security, a grey hat is someone who breaks into a system without permission but then reports any vulnerabilities they find to the firm.
  • Hat in green: Green hat hackers, also referred to as script kiddies, are individuals who lack expertise in the field of computer security. They are known to exploit existing hacking tools to gain unauthorised access to computers, networks, websites, and software applications.
  • Hacktivist: A hacker whose goal is ideological proof

What exactly is the definition of a “good” hacker?

By leveraging a broad range of programming languages and techniques, ethical hackers strive to gain access to computer systems and networks. Once they have successfully penetrated the system, they then provide advice on how the organisation can bolster its cloud and computer systems to reduce the risk of future security breaches.

Ethical hackers, as opposed to their “black hat” counterparts, are dedicated to increasing the security of an organisation’s networks. Rather than exploiting the company’s IT infrastructure, ethical hackers strive to enhance its protection.

What does an ethical hacker do?

Organisations may choose to employ ethical hackers as independent contractors, internal administrators, or external consultants to bolster their corporate cybersecurity. Such professionals can offer a unique level of expertise and knowledge, helping organisations to protect their systems and data from malicious actors.

When performing any of these functions, ethical hackers are held to the following standards:

  • By penetrating their networks: Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing, involves the deliberate penetration of a company’s network by an authorised individual in order to identify any potential vulnerabilities. This type of hacker is employed to detect any potential issues in the system before malicious actors have the opportunity to exploit them. Ethical hackers can help organisations to safeguard their networks and systems from potential threats.
  • Keep track of their research: The primary responsibility of ethical hackers is to accurately document any security flaws and/or bugs that they may uncover during their assessment. It is essential that they provide a detailed report of their findings and any associated risks in order to identify and address any potential security vulnerabilities.
  • To ensure the security of corporate information, please: In order to safeguard the privacy of their discoveries, ethical hackers must adhere to the established protocols for protecting confidential information. Under no circumstances should they ever consent to divulge their findings and results to any other party.
  • Address the security weaknesses in the company’s IT infrastructure: Based on their findings, ethical hackers also patch up any security holes in the system.

Can you tell me about the professional path of an ethical hacker?

The first step in becoming a professional ethical hacker is to provide defensive security services to the IT department of a company.

As your skills and performance increase, so too does your potential for taking on greater responsibility within the field of hacking. You could, for example, start out as a security expert, then progress to a role as a security administrator, and finally become a security software developer. Through each of these positions, you would have the opportunity to hone and develop your hacking skills.

Ethical hacking encompasses a wide variety of occupations, including but not limited to the following.

  • Analyst of Information Safety
  • Expert in Cyber Defence
  • Engineer in computer security
  • Protection Expert
  • Architect of Safety and Confidence
  • Detector of Intrusion
  • In charge of information security

Can you tell me what a typical pay for an ethical hacker is?

There is a lot of money to be made in the ethical hacking industry. If you’re qualified, you may be looking at a six-figure compensation.

Glassdoor reports that the median remuneration of an ethical hacker is approximately $114,648 per annum. Additionally, top ethical hackers may receive substantial compensation packages of more than $700,000 annually for providing their expertise in bolstering an organisation’s cybersecurity defences.

It all comes down to elements like experience, talents, education, projects, location, and the ability to negotiate a pay, however.

How does one train to become a “white hat” hacker?

To be successful in the field of ethical hacking, it is essential to possess both technical and interpersonal skills. Ethical hackers must also be able to think innovatively and be able to solve complex issues. Having a knack for effective communication is also essential for this type of work.

Some individuals possess a skill known as social engineering, which involves manipulating individuals into providing confidential information rather than attempting to break into a computer system. This technique is often used to gain access to information that would otherwise be unavailable.

Most ethical hackers possess a degree in computer science, though some may also have degrees in electrical engineering or information security. Additionally, many individuals who refer to themselves as “ethical hackers” have been employed in the Information Technology (IT) industry for an extended period of time, either in the capacity of security experts or programmers.

It is conceivable that some people may be able to gain knowledge of hacking techniques through a combination of reading and practical application. However, businesses are more likely to recruit candidates who have completed accredited courses and achieved certifications in ethical hacking.

Qualifications to Be an Ethical Hacker

Specifically, there are two certificates: Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).

There is no other field quite like ethical hacking when it comes to network security, and that is what the CEH credential stands for.

The Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) examination tests the ability of the applicant to demonstrate their proficiency in probing computer networks, detecting security vulnerabilities, and launching cyberattacks. The exam is designed to replicate a real-life network environment with computers running a variety of operating systems and configurations serving as targets. The successful candidate must demonstrate their ability to identify and exploit security weaknesses to gain access to the network.

These two credentials are the most well recognised ones, however there are more.

How to Hack Morally in 8 Easy Steps

Learn LINUX/UNIX thoroughly as the first step.

If you want to be an ethical hacker, you should learn Linux since it is one of the most used operating systems for hacking.

Kali Linux, a security-focused variant of the Linux operating system designed with ethical hacking in mind, is the most renowned of such systems. Other popular distributions of Linux, such as Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, BackTrack, and more, are also excellent options for users who want to explore the power of the open-source platform.

Second, you should get a good grasp of the most common programming languages.

C is often referred to as a foundational language, and is well-regarded as one of the earliest computer languages. It is also a common starting point for UNIX/LINUX training, meaning that gaining proficiency in C is essential for making the most of Linux operating systems. As such, it is considered “the mother of all programming languages”.

As an added bonus, ethical hackers often have a solid grasp of many programming languages, including but not limited to the following.

  • Python: Widely used in the field of exploit fiction
  • SQL: Excellent for breaking into big datasets
  • PHP: Effectively protects against harmful assaults and helps prevent them
  • JavaScript: Web application hacking compatibility

Third, practice remaining covert.

The ability to hide your true identity is a fundamental need for every ethical hacker.

In order to protect against malicious hackers, it is essential for ethical hackers to possess the capability of maintaining anonymity. This is due to the fact that once a malicious hacker becomes aware of the existence of another user on a given network, they may initiate an attack. Consequently, it is necessary for ethical hackers to be able to remain undetected.

Anonsurf, Proxychains, and MacChanger are the best ways to conceal your online identity.

Learning about basic networking principles is the fourth step.

The ability to comprehend the fundamentals of networking and the construction of networks is crucial for ethical hackers.

Exploiting security vulnerabilities requires a thorough knowledge of multiple network protocols. Ethical hackers who have a strong understanding of networking tools such as Nmap, Wireshark, and other similar programs are highly sought after due to their invaluable expertise.

The ethical hacker has to have a firm grasp of the following networking concepts:

  • Subnetting
  • TCP/IP System
  • Difference Between Network Masks and CIDR
  • Vehicle-Based Connections (CAN)
  • IP Address Resolution Protocol
  • Radio-Free Networks
  • Mobile Phone Bluetooth Systems
  • Easy Protocol for Controlling Networks
  • Block of Server Messages
  • The Domain Name System (DNS)
  • Networks for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) (Modbus)

Fifth, learn more about the dark and deep web.

The term “dark web” is used to refer to the substantial part of the internet which is not accessible through conventional online search engines. Access to the deep and dark web requires the use of specialised authorisation or software, such as the Torr browser.

It is widely known that the dark web houses a plethora of illegal activities; however, it is important to note that it is not without its legitimate uses. Ethical hackers must be well-versed in the nuances of the deep and dark web in order to be effective in their role, as there exists a legitimate side to it.

Sixth, educate yourself in the art of encryption

Encryption is an essential element of information security, utilised for a variety of purposes such as authentication, data integrity, and confidentiality. As a result, the ability to understand and apply cryptography is an absolute requirement for any self-respecting hacker.

Seventh, learn more about hacking and how it works.

Once you have gained an understanding of the essential hacking tools and techniques, you will be ready to move onto more advanced topics, such as Structured Query Language (SQL) injection, penetration testing, and researching vulnerabilities. All of these practices can provide you with a deeper insight into the world of hacking and security.

It is important to stay up to date on the latest hacking tools and tactics, as well as any changes to system security. To accomplish this, one should consider joining discussion groups and reading weblogs that are dedicated to this topic. Doing so will help ensure that one is informed and prepared in the event of any security breaches.

Listed below are some of the most visited hacking-related online communities and blogs:

  • Knowledgeable Expert in Computer System Safety
  • This Week in Security
  • Tripwire’s Report on Internet Safety
  • Tech News for Hackers
  • The Security Research of Bruce Schneier
  • Information Security Journal
  • Digital Security Operations Centre
  • Hunt, Troy

Determine Weaknesses

Vulnerabilities are potential points of exploitation in a system, leaving it open to malicious actors. To protect against such threats, it is important to learn about the process of vulnerability scanning. Vulnerability scanning is a method of assessing system security by identifying potential vulnerabilities, such as open ports, misconfigured services, or outdated software. The Kali Linux operating system is a popular platform for conducting vulnerability scans and includes tools such as Nmap, Nessus, and OpenVAS, which are designed to identify, classify, and prioritise security risks.

  • Using the Nessus Vulnerability Scanner to: Difficulties with web apps are identified
  • Scanner for Nikto vulnerabilities: Finds problems with website hosting
  • Open VAS Vulnerability Scanner: Detects network device problems and reports them
  • Detecting Weakness with wapiti: Locates vulnerabilities in online applications, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting
  • An Overview of the Nmap Vulnerability Scanner Finds problems in several different systems at once

Metasploit, OpenVAS, and Nessus are just a few of the vulnerability testing tools you should be familiar with.

Methods for Getting Real-World Experience in Ethical Hacking

  • Use vulnerable computers from Hack The Box and Vulnhub as practice.
  • You may practice for real-world scenarios by using bug bounty sites.
  • Real, live websites are fair game for hackers. Nonetheless, take care to do no damage.

Conclusion

For people who like logic, computation, analysis, and programming, ethical hacking is a challenging but potentially rewarding profession.

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FAQs

  1. Do you think I have what it takes to join the ranks of the ethical hackers?

    True, anybody can become an ethical hacker if they put in the time and effort to acquire the knowledge and experience required.
  2. How can I get the prerequisites to work as an ethical hacker?

    A job as an ethical hacker often requires formal education in computer science, a two-year IT degree program, or a certificate in the field.
  3. For how long must one train before becoming a “ethical hacker”?

    The time frame for becoming an ethical hacker varies depending on the individual’s background knowledge, proficiency, and certifications. It is possible to become a competent ethical hacker in a matter of weeks, but it might take several years to master the craft. Acquiring the necessary certifications can also be a lengthy process and should be taken into account when determining how long it will take to become an ethical hacker.

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