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An Introduction to Ethical Hacking
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An Introduction to Ethical Hacking

The art and science of ethical hacking is attracting students in large numbers all over the world, especially in 2020 as the world sees cybercrime hitting the roof. Every day there are a shocking number of cyber incidents reported all over the world. In the wake of unchecked cyber threats, many organisations, public and private, are now actively hiring ethical hackers to protect their digital resources from malicious hacks and unauthorised access. In this article, you will get introduced by this growing and leaping field of ethical hacking, which is one of the most important branches of cybersecurity.

What Do Ethical Hackers Do?

Ethical hackers are the protectors of the digital world. Also known as white hat hackers, ethical hackers hack their way into systems and try to attack it just like malicious hackers do. The only way in which ethical hackers are different from malicious hackers is their intent. While illegal hackers break into systems sneakily for their own malicious gains, ethical hackers do so with proper authorisation and permission in order to attempt and find potential vulnerabilities and loopholes in the system with an intent to fix them. Unlike malicious hackers who pose a lethal danger to organisations, ethical hackers aim to strengthen the security posture of the concerned systems.

What are the Different Types of Hackers?

Before you jump into ethical hacking, you should know that hackers can take various forms. Three main types of hackers are white hat hackers, black hat hackers, and grey hat hackers. While you must have already guessed from the previous paragraph that white hat hackers are none other than ethical hackers, you can also guess who the black hat hackers are. The term black hat hackers refers to hackers with malicious intent, the hackers that are plaguing the digital world with rampant cybercrime. Lastly, grey hat hackers are those that are a combination of both, in the sense that even though they don’t take legal permission from the target before breaking into their system, they still have a genuine non-malicious intent behind it. Such hackers go around the internet attacking different systems, and report the vulnerabilities that they find to the concerned owner(s).

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What are the Five Phases of Ethical Hacking?

Any ethical hacking course will take you through the 5 phases of ethical hacking, i.e. reconnaissance or footprinting, vulnerability scanning, gaining access, maintaining access and clearing tracks. While footprinting and scanning are related to gathering the information necessary to perform an attack, gaining and maintaining access are related to exploiting the bugs found in the earlier stages. The last stage, i.e. clearing tracks is related to getting rid of every shred of evidence from the scene of crime so that it is impossible to trace it back to you.

What knowledge should an Ethical Hacker have?

It is true that without experience knowledge is almost insignificant in many jobs but in ethical hacking, knowledge is as valuable as experience right from the beginning. There is a plethora of operating systems, networks, applications used by millions of online entities. Not to mention that each entity follows its own unique style of combinations when it comes to a digital framework. Hence, there is no one way that can be used to attack different organizations. It, thus, becomes imperative that an ethical hacker must possess a strong knowledge base of multiple tools, techniques, coding languages, databases, scripts, operating systems, networks, attack vectors and methodologies existing in the constantly changing digital space.

If you are planning to enroll yourself for a course, CEH or Certified Ethical Hacking course is what you are looking for. Also, you don’t necessarily need a computer science degree to pursue this golden field. Anything that you need to learn can be facilitated by institutions, online or offline. At the end, know that anyone, including you, can learn ethical hacking.

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