Ethical hacking is a term used to describe hacking performed with the permission of the system owner.
The origins of ethical hacking can be traced back to the early days of computing when computer scientists and hackers were one and the same. Many of the early computer scientists were also hackers, and they were responsible for developing many of the early computing technologies and techniques. As the field of computing evolved, the distinction between computer scientists and hackers began to emerge. Computer scientists were responsible for developing the theoretical foundations of computing, while hackers were responsible for developing the practical applications of computing. The term “ethical hacking” was first coined in the early 1990s, when the field of information security began to emerge. Ethical hacking was introduced as a way to describe the activities of computer security professionals who were responsible for testing the security of systems and networks.
The purpose of ethical hacking is to identify and address security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by malicious actors. Ethical hackers use the same tools and techniques as hackers, but they use them for legitimate purposes, and they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Types of hacking
Generally speaking, there are three main types of hacking:
1. White hat hacking.
White hat hackers are those who use their hacking skills for good. They hack into systems to find and report security vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed.
2. Gray hat hacking.
Gray hat hackers are those who use their hacking skills for both good and bad. They hack into systems to find and report security vulnerabilities, but they also use their skills to exploit vulnerabilities for their own gain.
3. Black hat hacking.
Black hat hackers are those who use their hacking skills for evil. They hack into systems to steal information, destroy data, or take control of systems for their own gain.
Approaches to ethical hacking
There is a variety of approaches to ethical hacking, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common approaches are:
1. Penetration testing.
Penetration testing is the most common approach to ethical hacking. It involves attempting to break into a system or network in order to find security vulnerabilities. Penetration testers use a variety of methods to attempt to penetrate a system, including scanning for open ports and attempting to exploit known vulnerabilities. Penetration testing is a good way to find vulnerabilities in a system, but it can also be risky. If a penetration tester is not careful, they may accidentally cause damage to the system or network.
2. Vulnerability assessment.
Vulnerability assessment is a process of identifying and quantifying vulnerabilities in a system or network. Vulnerability assessment tools can scan a system for known vulnerabilities, and can also identify vulnerabilities that may not be known to the attacker. Vulnerability assessment is a good way to identify vulnerabilities in a system, but it does not involve trying to exploit those vulnerabilities. This can make it less risky than penetration testing, but it may also miss vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
3. Security auditing.
Security auditing is the process of evaluating the security of a system or network. Security auditors evaluate the security of a system by examining its design, implementation, and operation. They also test the security of the system by attempting to exploit known vulnerabilities. Security auditing is a good way to identify vulnerabilities in a system, and it can also help to improve the security of a system. However, it is a time-consuming process, and it can be expensive to hire a security auditor.
4. Social engineering.
Social engineering is a type of attack that relies on human interaction to trick people into revealing information or performing actions that they would not normally do. Social engineering attacks can be used to gain access to systems, networks, or data. They can also be used to trick people into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Social engineering is a common type of attack, and it can be difficult to defend against.
Skills to become an ethical hacker
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the skills required to become an ethical hacker vary depending on the specific job requirements. However, some of the key skills that are commonly required include:
- strong computer and networking skills
- knowledge of hacking tools and techniques
- ability to think like a hacker
- strong problem-solving skills
- keen attention to detail
- ability to work independently
- excellent research skills
Certifications that are popular among ethical hackers include Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN).