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What Is Ethical Hacking And How Does It Work?

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  • January 24 2024

What Is Ethical Hacking And How Does It Work?

Ethical Hacking is an authorized attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, application or data. While carrying out the process of ethical hacking, you are involved in duplicating various strategies and actions carried out by malicious attackers.

The term Ethical Hacking is also referred to as White Hat hacking and ethical hackers are also known as White Hat Hackers. Ethical hackers normally use their tools and knowledge to infiltrate an IT system, database network, or application for any kind of prevalent security vulnerabilities. Then they inform the target about flaws, if any, and provide recommendations for resolving them.

Role of Ethical Hackers in organisations

  1. Ethical Hackers meticulously evaluate vulnerable networks, provide useful insights into areas that require special attention and ensure their rescue and protection. Their findings help organizations prioritize and cover vulnerabilities, thus strengthening the overall security and minimizing the risk of successful attacks.

  2. Ethical Hackers employ their skills and resources to protect the integrity and privacy of all sorts of sensitive data. By carrying out frequent security checks, they help organizations safeguard customer information and maintain regulatory compliance.

  3. By investing valuable time in ethical hacking practices, organizations are able to look after their commitment to maintaining the security and privacy of their stakeholders which is vital to build trust and ensure utmost transparency.

  4. By supporting various ethical hacking initiatives, organizations address the vulnerabilities of cyber threats and ensure a safer and more secure future for all concerned.

How Ethical Hacking Works: Step-by-step process

  • Reconnaissance

This is the first stage where all necessary information about the target is gathered, either actively or passively. Active Reconnaissance is a process where you can extract information by directly interacting with the target. An example of this can be social engineering, where ethical hackers anonymously contact the company staff and trick them into getting the necessary information. On the other hand, Passive Reconnaissance is a process where you gather information without directly interacting with the target. This involves getting information from available sources such as websites, social media, search engines and databases.

  • Scanning

Scanning forms the second phase of the penetration test, and involves using hacking tools to get technical information about the target’s whereabouts. All this can be done with a single tool called Nmap, which is also known as Network Mapper. Nmap is a complex command tool that provides technical information about the device or the server that is being scanned.

  • Exploitation or Gaining Access

In this process, the main threat is located and you attempt to exploit it in order to enter into the system. The main tool that is used in this process is called as the Metasploit.

  • Post-exploitation for In-depth Access

In this process, the hacker focuses on expanding their access to the systems targeted, gives importance to the user’s privileges and gathers as much as information needed about the target’s infrastructure. This is also the phase where the hacker has already gained authority in the system. After gaining access, the hacker gets into the process of implementing some hidden mechanisms in order to enter the system without any authentication.

  • Reporting your Findings

Finally, all the data obtained from the previous phases are collected and a comprehensive report is generated. This generally includes:

  1. Any open source data that can be removed.
  2. Any vulnerabilities that were generally not covered.
  3. The techniques used to exploit them.
  4. The potential impact of a successful attack.
  5. Recommendations to enhance the security aspect of the target and at the same time address the identified threats.

Our Job-ready Ethical Hacking Courses Led by Industry Experts

Top Tools Used for Ethical Hacking

  1. Invicti
  2. Nmap (Network Mapper)
  3. Nessus
  4. Nikto
  5. Kismet
  6. NetStumbler
  7. Acunetix
  8. Netsparker
  9. Intruder
  10. Metasploit
  11. OpenVas
  12. SQLMap
  13. Ettercap
  14. Wireshark

Job roles for Ethical Hackers in organizations

  1. Network Engineer

  2. Security Consultant

  3. Information Security Analyst

  4. Penetration Tester

  5. Vulnerability Assessor

  6. Network Administrator

  7. Software Engineer

  8. Ethical Hacker

Certifications and Training Required for Ethical Hacking

  1. CompTIA Security+ (For Beginners)

  2. Certified Ethical Hacker (For Beginners)

  3. GIAC Security Essentials Certification (For advanced level)

  4. (SSCP) System Security Certified Practitioner (For Beginners)

  5. CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (For Advanced level)

  6. (GCIH) GIAC Certified Incident Handler (For both Beginners and Advanced Level)

  7. Offensive Security Certified Professional (Though considered as a beginner-level course, it is considered as an intermediate or advanced exam)

  8. (CISSP) Certified Information Systems Security Professional (For Beginners)

  9. (CISA) Certified Information Systems Auditor (For Advanced Level)

  10. (CISM) Certified Information Security Manager (For Advanced Level)


To sum up, Ethical Hacking can be a valuable tool in determining and addressing major security threats. By spotting vulnerabilities and providing recommendations for improving security, ethical hackers are instrumental in ensuring the security and integrity of the entire organization.

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