Ethical hacking is the legal activity of circumventing system security in order to monitor potential data breaches and network risks. The company that owns the system or network permits such activities to be carried out in order to test the system’s defenses. This process, unlike malicious hacking, is planned, approved, and, most importantly, legal.

Ethical Hackers check for key vulnerabilities that include but are not limited to:

  • Injection attacks
  • Changes in security settings
  • Exposure of sensitive data
  • Breach in authentication protocols
  • Components used in the system or network that may be used as access points

Now, as you have an idea of what is ethical hacking, it’s time to learn the type of hackers.

Ethical hacking is known as White Hat hacking, and the people who do it are identified as. In contrast to ethical hacking, Black Hat hacking refers to activities that violate security. To compromise a system or destroy data, use illegal methods.

The main differences between these two hackers are

  • Techniques Used: White Hat hackers duplicate the techniques and methods followed by malicious hackers in order to find out the system discrepancies, replicating all the latter’s steps to find out how a system attack occurred or may occur. If they find a weak point in the system or network, they report it immediately and fix the flaw.
  • Legality: Even though White Hat hacking follows the same techniques and methods as Black Hat hacking, only one is legally acceptable. Black Hat hackers break the law by penetrating systems without consent.
  • Ownership: White Hat hackers are employed by organizations to penetrate their systems and detect security issues. Black hat hackers neither own the system nor work for someone who owns it.

Ethical Hacking Roles and Responsibilities

  • The organization that owns the system must give permission to an ethical hacker. Before executing any security audit on the system or network, hackers should get complete authorisation.
  • Determine the scope of their assessment and inform the organization of their plan.
  • Any security flaws or vulnerabilities discovered in the system or network should be reported.
  • Keep their discoveries to themselves. Ethical hackers should agree to and respect their non-disclosure agreement because their goal is to secure the system or network.
  • After evaluating the system for vulnerabilities, delete any evidence of the attack. It stops malevolent hackers from exploiting the system’s vulnerabilities.

Benefits of Ethical Hacking

To learn how to find and correct network vulnerabilities, ethical hackers and testers must study the mindset and practices of black hat hackers and testers. Ethical hacking can be used by security professionals in a variety of companies and sectors. Network defenders, risk managers, and quality assurance testers are all part of this sphere.

However, the most obvious benefit of learning ethical hacking is its potential to inform and improve and defend corporate networks. A hacker is the principal threat to any organization’s security. knowing, understanding, and putting into practice how hackers operate may assist network defenders to evaluate possible hazards and learn how to best mitigate them.

Needed skills For an Ethical Hacker

  • Knowledge of programming: It is required for security professionals working in the field of application security and Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
  • Scripting knowledge: This is required for professionals dealing with network-based attacks and host-based attacks.
  • Networking skills: This skill is important because threats mostly originate from networks. You should know about all of the devices present in the network, how they are connected, and how to identify if they are compromised.
  • Understanding of databases: Attacks are mostly targeted at databases. Knowledge of database management systems such as SQL will help you to effectively inspect operations carried out in databases.
  • Knowledge of multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.
  • The ability to work with different hacking tools available in the market.
  • Knowledge of search engines and servers.

Ethical Hacking is a challenging area of study as it requires mastery of everything that makes up a system or network. This is why certifications have become popular among aspiring ethical hackers.

undergraduate Software Engineering student at University of kelaniya.