Updated September 6, 2023
What is Ethical Hacker
An ethical hacker Definition thinks and acts just as a criminal hacker does, but the only difference is that the ethical breed does it not to harm the organization but help them detect loopholes in the security of its networks and systems. The tools, techniques, and strategies used by both types of hackers may be the same, but the ethical variety helps protect data and prevent huge losses for companies on account of data theft and denial of service.
The cyber-world abounds with cases of hacking websites, and portals, intruding, and taking control of them. It is an illegal activity and could cost millions of dollars for target companies and heavy punishment for those who will be caught in the act. But there is a category of professionals who are paid to hack a site, and they are called ethical hackers and get paid handsomely compared to criminal hackers.
How to Get Started in Ethical Hacker Training?
The job of an ethical hacker Definition, also known as white hat hackers, is highly rewarding and challenging more so as more and more companies realize the risks and costs involved in case of a security breach in their networking systems. Hacking is a highly technical job. Therefore, a good engineering degree (preferably in information technology or computer science) from a recognized university is the first step to launching a career in ethical hacker training.
A hacker needs to have a firm grounding in programming, networking, and systems administration to get ahead in his career.
Programming skills in C, C++, Java, and Python will come in handy when required to write code for running some applications or tools. The hacker may have to seek help from a programmer every time, which could slow down their work considerably. Most engineering ethical hacker training courses have some programming languages as part of the course, but additionally, they can be learned from books, CD tutorials, or by doing additional certificate programs offered by universities or private institutions.
Networking involves connecting computers in a Local Area Network (LAN) within an organization’s premises and perhaps in different centers through Wide Area Networks (WAN). Routers and switches are used to connect different computers and networks to the internet. Firewalls are used to restrict the movement of data packets into the LAN to prevent unauthorized access or intrusions. Knowledge of Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) is a given as it is through conversion into data packets that transmission of information is possible on a large scale.
Routers can read IP addresses and be responsible for sending data broken into packets to the destination. Once data goes out of the router, it enters the public domain– the Internet. CISCO is the world leader in router technology.
Switches are used to connect network cables and have a large number of supporting ports. They have the ability to redirect data to the appropriate location instead of sending it to all locations in the network. CISCO and HP are world leaders in switches.
Firewalls help prevent hackers or those trying to get data from the system in an unauthorized manner. All devices in the system will be connected to the switch and switches to firewalls which in turn are connected to routers. The routers are the entry point for the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to any organization.
The system administrators are responsible for the installation of operating systems (OS), servers, storage devices, printers, scanners, maintaining them, creating system usernames and passwords.
There is no direct entry into the profession for the ethical hacker definition as it is a specialized area with its own set of tools, techniques, and devices that require advanced learning in multiple domains. An engineer needs to work for a minimum of two years in an information security firm to get a foothold in the industry. That is when they need to learn more skills in programming, networking, system administration, and getting certified. It would be better if the first job is in an information security firm such as VeriSign, McAfee, Citrix, Novel or IT service companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, HCL, Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, Wipro, among others.
In the three specialized areas mentioned above, it is possible to gain ethical hacker certification to get more acceptability in the industry. In Systems administration, the Linux Professional Institute ethical hacker certification(LPIC), Red Hat Certified Engineer, CompTIA Server +, and Microsoft Certified Solution Expert (MCSE) shows your proficiency in the concerned operation systems. CISCO offers a number of ethical hacker certification for networking professionals that is highly valued, including CCNP Security (Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP Security) and CCNA- Cisco Certified Network Associate.
There is the Oracle Certified Java programmer for the discerning to go up higher in their career for programming and developer skills.
Once the networking, systems administration, or programming-focused engineers work on their ethical hacker certification and gain exposure to the industry, they can think of moving to the next level that will catapult them higher in the information security (IS) industry.
Understanding operating systems, network administration, and system administration becomes paramount as attacks are often directed at OS, network infrastructure, and applications. Email server software is vulnerable to risk as much as web applications are. Attacks are also directed at HTTP, and SMTP applications as firewalls do not protect them.
Certified Ethical Hacker Training, Pen Testing, Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Ethical hacker training courses are offered by universities and specialized institutes, which will equip the engineers to try for global ethical hacker certification. The highest ethical hacker certification called the Ethical Hacker definition is provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants Inc USA (EC-Council). It puts its stamp of approval on the engineer’s capabilities to identify loopholes in websites and networks to find out how secure it is.
Some professionals are interested in intruding into the systems and finding loopholes to gain entry- the object of attack could be the Operating System, database, servers, and payment gateways, among others.
There is another category of IS professionals called Penetration Testers or Pen testers interested in knowing how vulnerable the various entry or access points in a network are. Like the ethical hacker’s definition, they also employ various tools to find out how strong or vulnerable the ports, firewalls, anti-virus programs, passwords, and other defense mechanisms employed by an organization. The tests determine how capable the system is to detect and defend such attacks.
Sometimes, ethical hackers Definition also are capable of undertaking pen tests and vulnerability tests in a system depending on their interests and knowledge. Some pen tests can be automated, while others have to be done manually depending on the objectives set out by the organization. EC-Council also provides pen testing ethical hacker certification.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is awarded by the International Information Security ethical hacker Certification Consortium (ISC) for overall competency in information security implementation in organizations.
Tips for an Ethical Hacking For Beginners
Following are the different Tips for Ethical Hacking:
Curiosity and desire to learn
Ethical hacker definition As is said of medicine; learning never ends in information security too. Hackers may adopt a lot of new techniques and tools, and one has to keep abreast of the new developments to learn about the newer vulnerabilities a system is exposed to. Attending conferences, networking with like-minded professionals, and reading the latest books and research, and government papers are the ways to get ahead in this profession.
Social Media presence
Ethical hacker definition is absolutely essential to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with others in the community and let others know your thoughts, major works, and write for Linkedin Pulse. Writing blogs and guest articles are the inbound marketing methods to get noticed and invite potential projects or businesses.
Set up your own lab
Working on projects for clients and companies may give exposure and enhance the ethical hacker definition skills, but as they say, charity begins at home. It is immensely beneficial to have a lab set up at home with VM Ware, also loaded with Kali Linux, UNIX, OpenBSD Box, and DNS Servers with djbdns. Having an own lab enables the professional to conduct some experiments on OS, loopholes in web pages, passwords, and HTML pages and find a solution for them.
Gain industry exposure
An entry-level job with two years of s experience and above in information security is increasing day by day, thereby giving ample opportunities for professionals to get gainful employment. After getting sufficient industry exposure and through networking, slowly independent consulting or business can be thought of.
Understand the non-technical attacks
Most analyses of hacking focus more on the technical part of the exercise, but some people manipulate others to gain information on a network called social engineering, which is intended for malicious purchases. There are physical attacks on a network too. Sometimes the strategy is to enter buildings, computer infrastructure with the intention of stealing data. It could also be dumpster diving which involves taking papers from trash cans or waste bins to gain access to passwords, network architecture, or other intellectual property.
Information security is not a pure-play techie job. It involves interacting with its own team members, clients, and other professionals and presenting a case before the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or the top management. This is vital for getting project approvals, finance, and the go-ahead from clients. They need to have a clear answer on the potential threats facing the organization’s IT system and the costs involved in protecting it.
As the name suggests, the job of an ethical hacker definition is to work ethically. They should hold high moral principles and not use the information gained for some ulterior motive. Doing so would mean losing the trust of the organization or the client and thereby lower professional standing.
Ethical hacking should be a planned process involving strategy, and tactics that should be discussed and approval received. Penetration testing also has to be worked out in detail and approved for finances. It is better to start with the most vulnerable system. It could begin with social engineering or password tests before going for more complex exercises.
Due care should be taken while undertaking the hacking process so as not to bring the system down. Having adequate conditions set for running the testing procedures can prevent a crash. It is easy to set up DoS conditions while running the tests as running too many of them in quick succession could harm the system.
Most tools available have the option to set controls on the number of tests that can be done at a time. Sometimes the tests have to be executed in real-time, and you would create a bad impression if the system were to face a lockout situation.
In skilful jobs, using the right tools are often as important as the skill of the operator. Hacking has several tools that can be used effectively for various purposes. For cracking passwords, the most popular ones are John the Ripper or LC4; for scanning ports, there is SuperScan; Whisker is useful for the analysis of web applications, and so is WebInspect. Since various tools, including open-source freeware, are available, it is better to seek advice on the most suitable ones for the task you have in hand.
It is possible that hackers may already at work when you are executing your hacking strategies, so keep your operations confidential within the organization and known only to the most important decision-makers. When updating information regarding the tests done, ensure that it is kept confidential and not leaked to anyone.
Evaluating the results requires hard work, experience, and insight. The report presented to the management, or the customer should be formal and clearly outline the flaws and measures to be taken to thwart attacks on the system.
The ethical hacker’ definition does not end by actually conducting an attack or doing pen tests. The success lied in the implementation of the recommendations. Keeping guard of the IT systems and resources is a continuous job as new vulnerabilities may turn up every now and then. When systems are upgraded, new software is installed, or patches are done; it is better to do the tests regularly to assess any new vulnerabilities arising from these upgrades.
This has been a guide to Ethical Hacker. Here we have discussed the basic concept, How to Get Started in Ethical Hacker Training, along with Tips for Ethical Hacking For Beginners. You may look at the following articles to learn more –