I don’t know if you’ve heard about “ethical hacking” or as generally called “good hacker,” but certainly you’ve heard a lot about the term “hacker”itself. 

I assume that the first ideas that come to mind when reading or hearing this term have to do with internet criminals, those who take advantage of weaknesses to wreak havoc, steal information, deploy viruses, and especially steal money.

Anyway, what I actually intend to debate today is the exact opposite of these concepts. The ethical hacker would be that IT professionals and networks expert in general, and who has knowledge of the techniques and methodologies used to uncover potential security system vulnerabilities, software risk, etc.

In other words, it would be those specialists who use their skills not to obtain individual advantages, but have the intention to identify, register and develop potential solutions to vulnerabilities, as well as to forward those documents to the company.

Ethical hacking has appeared as an emerging industry, according to the Markets and Makets report, expecting growth in the security industry and, consequently increased demand for professionals by 10.2% per year by 2023.

In terms of security, in general, we can say that they tend to arise due to poor structuring and implementation of software, outdated software, systems or devices with misconfigurations, absence of security systems like a framework. All of these scenarios are used for the ethical hacker’s identification process of weaknesses and may even use certain intrusion or penetrating testing techniques in English, but all without the intention of harming the system of course.

Just by way of explanation although it is relatively old, intrusion techniques are one of the most effective ways to verify digital security. These techniques work as strategy where professionals put themselves in the role of potential intruders and put security to the test with all type of invasion attempts.

Essentially there are two ways to perform a penetration test; the first one is called a black box, in which the company leaves the ethical hacker completely ‘in the dark’, i.e. no initial information is given that contextualizes the system to be tested. Given this fact, the practitioner must develop precise techniques that imitates a real attack.

The second way to perform a penetration test is the white box. Here, contrary to the previous form, it is presented to the professional the whole context of information about the system that will be tested, this includes password, access account, network mapping. In this option the probability of passing some potential frailty is much lower.

Okay, but what skills would it take for an ethical hacking?

Well, if you really want to be in this field, you should be at least an expert in programming language (preferably more than one) and, of course that the more languages ​​you master the better. You will also need to have full knowledge of how systems interrelate, the main principles of networking, also knowing windows and Unix security models is very important.

The truth is that the more you know, the greater is your possibility of becoming one of them.

Any company can be impacted in a very negative way by a weak security system; data theft, loss of customers, disruption of work cycles, damage to the company’s image, among many others, in certain cases the impacts may even be irreversible!

These are the main steps taken during a penetration test:

1 – Research and information capture

Whether you’re a well-meaning hacker or not, initial research and information gathering is the primary step in any action. Emails, area of ​​expertise, partners, etc.

2- Compilation of Network Information

By having Domain Name Service (DNS) information available, it is possible to uncover elements related to IP and even about the number of computers, characteristics of servers and operating systems.

3 – Search for vulnerabilities

A very important phase in the intrusion process which is exactly the analysis of the system or software for the list of potential fragilities.

4 – Vulnerability Amplitude Analysis

This is where the invasion attempts are put into practice.

5 – Backdoors and Rootkits

Backdoor is a program left by the intruder that guarantees a path, an accessible “door” for access. Rootkits, on the other hand, are programs that are housed in the core of the system, which in some ways turn out to be much harder to identify.

6 – Trace cleaning

Here is the final phase where the hacker deletes all traces of his attempts against the system / software, ie any log such as log history, temporary files, etc.

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