What is Ethical Hacking || Introduction to Ethical Hacking

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In this blog, we will study hacking and its types. What is the difference between hacking and ethical hacking? We will cover both topics in a concise manner so you can understand them easily. Your many questions will be answered while reading this blog. So, let’s get started with the blog.

Table of Contents

Before learning about ethical hacking, we should know about the term hacking.

Introduction to Hacking

The term “hacker” was used to refer to experts who redeveloped mainframe systems, increasing their efficiency and allowing them to multitask. Nowadays, the term routinely describes skilled programmers who gain unauthorized access to computer systems by exploiting a weakness or using bugs, motivated either by malice or mischief.

For instance, a hacker can develop algorithms to penetrate networks, crack passwords, or even disrupt network services.

The primary motive of unethical hacking involves stealing valuable information or financial gain. This looks like a crime. However, not all hacking is bad. This brings us to the second type of hacking.

Introduction to Ethical Hacking

Bypassing system security is a legal method known as “Ethical hacking,” which is used to identify threats in a network and potential data breaches.

The company that owns the system or network permits such activities to be carried out in order to test the system’s defenses. Thus, unlike malicious hacking, this process is planned, approved, and, more importantly, legal.

The aim of ethical hackers is to investigate the system or network for weak points that malicious hackers can exploit or destroy. They collect and analyze the information to figure out ways to strengthen the security of the system. By doing so, they can improve the security footprint so that it can better withstand attacks or divert them.

They check for key vulnerabilities, which include but are not limited to:

  1. Injection attacks.
  2. Changes in security settings.
  3. Exposure of sensitive data.
  4. A breach in authentication protocols.
  5. Components used in the system or network that may be used as access points.

Now that you understand what ethical hacking entails, it’s time to learn about the different types of hackers.

Difference between Hacking and Ethical Hacking

Hacking (BlackHat Hacker )Ethical Hacking (WhiteHat Hacker )
Hackers steal sensitive data from businesses and people in order to engage in criminal conductThey hack the system to reduce vulnerabilities in the company’s system.
They engage in illegal practices, which are considered crimes.As the system or network is owned by the company, they find vulnerabilities that are considered legal practices.
They are also known as black-hat hackers.They are also known as white-hat hackers.
They try to access restricted networks through illegal practices and reduce the security of data.They create firewalls and security protocols.
Work for themselves for dirty money.Work with different government agencies and big tech companies.
Write malware to hack devices, servers, and websites.Develop security software, tools, and techniques to detect and remove malware.
Deploy ransomware and spyware attacks to blackmail individuals or organizations.Develop tools and contingency plans to help deal with ransomware and spyware attacks without paying extortion money.
Their intentions are selfish or harmful in nature.Their intentions are noble and often aim to benefit or protect others.
Difference between Hacking and Ethical Hacking

Types of Hacking

We can easily differentiate hacking into different categories based on what is being hacked. Here is a set of examples:

1) Website Hacking

When a website is hacked, the software on the web server, including databases and other interfaces, is taken over without authorization.

2) Network Hacking

Using tools like Telnet, NS Search, Ping, Tracert, Netstat, etc. to acquire information about a network with the intention of damaging the network system and impairing its functionality is known as “hacking” a network.

3) Email Hacking

It includes utilizing an email account without the owner’s permission and gaining unauthorized access to it.

4) Password Hacking

This process includes recovering hidden passwords in data that has been transferred or stored by a computer system.

5) Computer Hacking

This is the approach of using hacking techniques to gain illegal access to a computer system while collecting the username and password for the machine.

Types of Hackers

Hackers can be classified into different categories based on their intent to hack a system. These different terms come from old Spaghetti Westerns, where the bad guy wears a black cowboy hat and the good guy wears a white hat.

The different types of hackers in cyber security are as follows:

1) White-hat hackers

Ethical Hackers are also known as white Hackers. As part of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, they never intend to harm a system; rather, they seek out areas of vulnerability in a computer or network system.

One of the toughest occupations in the IT business is ethical hacking, which is legal. Many businesses employ ethical hackers for penetration testing and vulnerability analysis.

2) Black Hat Hackers

Black-hat 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 due to its bad intent, which includes stealing corporate data, violating privacy, damaging the system, blocking network communication, etc.

3) Grey Hat Hackers

It is a blend of both black hat and white hat hackers. They act without malicious intent, but for 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 get appreciation or a little bounty from them.

4) Red Hat Hackers

It is also 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.

5) Blue Hat Hackers

It is someone outside computer security consulting firms who is used to bug-testing 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 “Blue Hat” to represent a series of security briefing events.

6) Elite Hackers

This is a social status among hackers that is used to describe the most skilled. Newly discovered exploits will circulate among these hackers.

Roles and Responsibilities of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hackers must follow certain guidelines in order to perform hacking legally. A good hacker knows his or her responsibilities and adheres to all of the ethical guidelines. Here are the most important rules of Ethical hacking:

  1. An ethical hacker needs permission from the company or organization that controls the system. Before executing any security assessments on the system or network, hackers should get full authorization.
  2. Determine the scope of their assessment and make their plan known to their organization.
  3. Report any security breaches and vulnerabilities found in the system or network.
  4. Keep their discoveries confidential. Ethical hackers should consent to and abide by their non-disclosure agreement because their goal is to secure the system or network.
  5. Erases all traces of the hack after checking the system for any vulnerabilities. It prevents malicious hackers from entering the system through the identified loopholes.

Phases of Ethical Hacking

There are six phases of Ethical hacking, which are as follows:

There are six phases of Ethical Hacking which are as follows:
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a) Reconnaissance:

This is the first step in ethical hacking. This phase is also known as the “information gathering phase.” In this phase, we collect information about the target. We usually collect information about three groups.

  1. Network.
  2. Host.
  3. People Involved.

There are two types of Footprinting

a) Active Footprinting

Directly interacting with the target to gather information about the target.

For example, using the Nmap tool to scan the target.

b) Passive Foot Printing

Trying to collect information about the target without directly accessing it This involves collecting information from social media, public websites, etc.

b) Scanning:

We actively probe the target machine and network for vulnerabilities that can be exploited and gather information like IP address range, host OS, protocol versions, etc.

There are three types of scanning involved:

a) Port Scanning

During this stage, the target is scanned for data such as open ports, live systems, and other services currently active on the host.

b) Vulnerability Scanning

In these, we have to check the target for weaknesses or vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Usually done with the help of automated tools.

c) Network Mapping

Identifying the network topology, routers, firewalls, servers, if any, and host information, then creating a network diagram using the data at hand. Throughout the hacking process, this map could be a useful resource.

c) Exploitation:

The vulnerability found in the previous phase is exploited through various tools and methods to enter the target system without raising any alarms. After logging in, he must raise his privilege level to the administrator in order to install the applications he requires, edit data, or hide data.

d) Maintaining Access:

The hacker may just attempt to compromise the system to demonstrate its weakness, or he may be so cunning as to wish to keep or continue the connection in the background without the user’s knowledge. Trojans, rootkits, and other malicious files can be used for this. The objective is to continue having access to the target until he completes the duties he had in mind for that target.

e) Clearing Tracks:

No thief wants to get caught. An intelligent hacker always removes all evidence so that, at a later point in time, no one will find any traces leading to him. This entails adjusting registry settings, altering Log values, uninstalling all of the applications he used, and erasing all of the directories he made

f) Reporting:

A report of the hacker’s findings, such as the tools used, vulnerabilities found, the exploit process, and how tracks were cleared.

The final report is also the hacker’s vulnerability analysis report (the vulnerability found, method of exploitation, and extent of damage caused)

Advantages of Hacking

  1. To recover lost information, especially if you lost your password.
  2. To perform penetration testing to strengthen computer and network systems.
  3. To put adequate preventative measures in place to prevent security breaches.
  4. To have a computer system that prevents malicious hackers from gaining access.

Disadvantages of Hacking

Hacking is quite dangerous if it is done with harmful intent. It can cause:

  1. Massive security breach.
  2. Unauthorized system access to private information.
  3. Privacy violation.
  4. Hampering system operation.
  5. Denial of Service attacks.
  6. Malicious attack on the system.

Things should be done when you think you are hacked.

a) Turn off your Internet Connection

The internet should be removed from your computer if you suspect theft in order to prevent further disruption.

b) Open Firewall

We sometimes close firewall windows so that we can install particular software. From a protective standpoint, we should always be accessible through firewalls. Another great installation option is a hardware firewall. It serves as a barrier between your internal systems and the external network.

c) Change your passwords

For accounts or devices that contain sensitive information, make sure your password is strong, unique, and not easily guessed.

Best Courses for Learning Ethical Hacking

  1. Complete Ethical Hacking Bootcamp 2023: Zero to Mastery
  2. CompTIA Pentest+ (Ethical Hacking) Course & Practice Exam


What is ethical hacking?

Bypassing system security is a legal method known as “Ethical hacking,” which is used to identify threats in a network and potential data breaches.

The company that owns the system or network allows cybersecurity engineers to perform such activities in order to test the system’s defense. Thus, unlike malicious hacking, this process is planned, approved, and, more importantly, legal.

Is ethical hacking legal?

Yes. because the system or network is owned by the company, and they find vulnerabilities that are considered legal practices.

What are the three types of hacking?

1) Black Hat Hackers
2) White-hat hackers
3) Grey Hat Hackers

What are the phases of hacking?

1) Reconnaissance
2) Scanning
3) Exploitation
4) Maintaining access
5) Clearing Tracks
6) Reporting

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