ETHICAL HACKING OVERVIEW
Importance of Ethical Hacking and Ethical Hackers roles in the society cannot be overemphasized. Ethical hacking and ethical hackers are terms used to describe hacking performed by a company or an individual to help identify potential threats on a computer or network. An ethical hacker attempts to bypass system security and search for any weak points that can be exploited by malicious hackers. This information is then used by the organization to improve the system security, in an effort to minimize or eliminate any potential attack(s) which is one of the Importance of Ethical Hacking and Ethical Hackers roles.
The term Ethical Hacking has received a lot of criticism from people who say that there is no such thing as Ethical Hackers (good Hackers). The thing is Hacking is hacking no matter how you look at it, moreover not everyone who does hacking should be termed COMPUTER CRIMINALS or CYBER CRIMINALS because the work Ethical Hackers do for organization(s) has helped improve system security and be said to be quite effective and successful.
Individuals interested in becoming an Ethical Hacker Can work towards a certification to become a Certified Ethical Hacker or CEH for short. This certification is provided by the International Council of E – Commerce Consultants (EC – Council). The exam itself cos about $500 to take and consists of 125 multiple – choice questions in version 8 of the test (version 7 consisted of 150 multiple – choice questions).
What constitutes Ethical Hacking?
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For hacking to be deemed ethical, the hacker must obey the following rules
- Expressed (often written) permission to probe the network and attempt to identify potential security risks.
- You respects the individual’s or company’s privacy
- You close out your work, not leaving anything for you or someone else to exploit at a later time.
- You let the software developer or hardware manufacturer know of any security vulnerabilities you locate in their software or hardware, if not already known by the company.
Hackers can be classified into different categories such as white hat, black hat, grey hat, based on their intent of hacking a system. These different terms come from old Spaghetti Westerns, where the bad guys wear a black cowboy hat and the good guys wears a white hat.
- WHITE HAT HACKERS
White Hat Hackers are also known as Ethical Hackers. They never intend to harm a system, rather they try to find out weaknesses in a computer or a network system as a part of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
Ethical Hackers or White Hat Hackers as we have established is not illegal and it is one of the demanding jobs available in the IT industry. There as numerous companies that hire Ethical Hackers for penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
- BLACK HACKERS
Black Hackers, also known as CRACKERS, are those who hack in order to gain unauthorized access to a system and harm its operations or steal sensitive information.
Black Hat hacking is always illegal because of its bad intent which include stealing cooperate data, violating privacy, damaging the system, blocking network communication etc.
- GREY HAT HACKERS
Grey Hat Hackers are blend of both Black Hat and White Hat Hackers. Hey act without malicious intent but for the fun, they exploit a security weakness in a computer system or network without the owner’s permission or knowledge.
Their intent is to bring the weakness to the attention of the owners and getting appreciation or a little bounty from the owner.
Apart from the above well-known classes of hackers, we have the following categories of hackers based on what they hack and how they do it. They include:
- Red Hat Hackers
Red Hat Hackers are again a blend of both Black Hat and White Hat Hackers. They are usually on the level of hacking government agencies, top – secret information hubs, and generally anything that falls under the category of sensitive information.
- Blue Hat Hackers
A blue Hat Hacker is someone outside computer security consulting firms who is used to bug – test a system prior to its launch. They look for loopholes that can be exploited and try to close these gaps. Microsoft also uses the term BlueHat to represent a series of security briefing events.
- Elite Hackers
This is a social status among hackers, which is used to describe the most skilled. Newly discovered exploits will circulate among these hackers.
- Script Kiddie
A Script Kiddie is a non – expert who breaks into computer systems using pre-package automated tools written by others, usually with little understanding of the underlying concept, hence the KIDDIE
A neophyte or Newbie or Green Hat Hacker is someone who is new to hacking or phreaking and has almost no knowledge or experience of the workings of technology and hacking
A Hacktivist is a hacker who utilizes technology to announce a social, ideological, religious, or political message. In general, most Hacktivist involves website defacement or denial of service attacks.
ADVANTAGES OF ETHICAL HACKING
Importance of Ethical Hacking and the expression computer hacking carries images of unscrupulous techies who use their skills to copy sensitive information, steal customers’ identities and disable vital computer networks. However, some companies have employed so – called Ethical Hackers to explore their own computer systems and find potential weaknesses. These White hackers can demonstrate how their black Hat counterparts can damage vulnerable systems, while offering advice on how to protect their clients from such dangers which show the importance of hacking and ethical hackers roles.
Some advantages or may include the following:
- Testing Security Measures
The primary advantages of having Ethical Hackers on a company’s payroll is that the Hackers are allowed to test a company’s security measures in a controlled and safe environment.
- Finding Vulnerable Areas
When the White Hat Hackers finish exploring the company’s systems’ vulnerable areas they turn in a report on the systems’ vulnerable areas. These areas can be related to the technology, such as a lack of sufficient password encryption, or in human-based systems, such as administrators who give out passwords to unauthorized personnel.
- Understanding Hacker Techniques
White hackers can also demonstrate the techniques used by Unethical Hackers or Invaders. These demonstrations serve to show management how thieves, terrorists and vandals can attack their systems and destroy their businesses. When management has a firm grasp on the concepts that Black Hat Hackers use, they can also learn how to prevent those invaders from using those techniques to penetrate their vulnerabilities.
- Preparing for a Hacker’s Attack
Businesses that handles sensitive data must understand that they serve as potential targets of a hacker attack. Smaller companies that lack the resources for adequate network security present Black-hat Hackers with tempting targets of opportunity.