Ethical Hacking

Neminda Prabhashwara
4 min readMay 30, 2021

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing or pen testing, is legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organization’s defenses. Based on the direction of the client, and later, present a maturity scorecard highlighting their overall risk and vulnerabilities and suggestions to improve as the output of ethical hacking.

Type of Hackers

The practice of ethical hacking is called “White Hat” hacking, and those who perform it are called White Hat hackers. In contrast to Ethical Hacking, “Black Hat” hacking describes practices involving security violations. The Black Hat hackers use illegal techniques to compromise the system or destroy information.

The most common network security threats

  • Computer virus
  • Rogue security software
  • Trojan horse
  • Adware and spyware
  • Computer worm
  • DOS and DDOS attack
  • Phishing
  • Rootkit
  • SQL injection attack
  • MIM attacks

Benefits of Ethical Hacking

The primary benefit of ethical hacking is to prevent data from being stolen and misused by malicious attackers. also there are below benefits,

  • Discovering vulnerabilities from an attacker’s POV so that weak points can be fixed.
  • Implementing a secure network that prevents security breaches.
  • Defending national security by protecting data from terrorists.
  • Gaining the trust of customers and investors by ensuring the security of their products and data.
  • Helping protect networks with real-world assessments.

What are the key concepts of ethical hacking?

Hacking experts follow four key protocol concepts:

  1. Stay legal. Obtain proper approval before accessing and performing a security assessment.
  2. Define the scope. Determine the scope of the assessment so that the ethical hacker’s work remains legal and within the organization’s approved boundaries.
  3. Report vulnerabilities. Notify the organization of all vulnerabilities discovered during the assessment. Provide remediation advice for resolving these vulnerabilities.
  4. Respect data sensitivity. Depending on the data sensitivity, ethical hackers may have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement, in addition to other terms and conditions required by the assessed organization.

Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker

An ethical hacker should have in-depth knowledge about all the systems, networks, program codes, security measures, etc. to perform hacking efficiently. Some of these skills include:

  • 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.

Limitations of ethical hacking

  • Limited scope. Ethical hackers cannot progress beyond a defined scope to make an attack successful. However, it’s not unreasonable to discuss out of scope attack potential with the organization.
  • Resource constraints. Malicious hackers don’t have time constraints that ethical hackers often face. Computing power and budget are additional constraints of ethical hackers.
  • Restricted methods. Some organizations ask experts to avoid test cases that lead the servers to crash (e.g., Denial of Service (DoS) attacks).

CIA Triad

Confidentiality, integrity and availability, also known as the CIA triad, is a model designed to guide policies for information security within an organization.

Confidentiality, integrity, availability

The following is a breakdown of the three key concepts that form the CIA triad:

  • Confidentiality is roughly equivalent to Confidentiality measures are designed to prevent sensitive information from unauthorized access attempts. It is common for data to be categorized according to the amount and type of damage that could be done if it fell into the wrong hands. More or less stringent measures can then be implemented according to those categories.
  • Integrity involves maintaining the consistency, accuracy and trustworthiness of data over its entire lifecycle. Data must not be changed in transit, and steps must be taken to ensure data cannot be altered by unauthorized people (for example, in a breach of confidentiality).
  • Availability means information should be consistently and readily accessible for authorized parties. This involves properly maintaining hardware and technical infrastructure and systems that hold and display the information.

Machine Learning in Cybersecurity

Why has machine learning become so critical to cybersecurity?

Several reasons. With machine learning, cybersecurity systems can analyze patterns and learn from them to help prevent similar attacks and respond to changing behavior. It can help cybersecurity teams be more proactive in preventing threats and responding to active attacks in real time. It can reduce the amount of time spent on routine tasks and enable organizations to use their resources more strategically.

In short, machine learning can make cybersecurity simpler, more proactive, less expensive and far more effective. But it can only do those things if the underlying data that supports the machine learning provides the complete picture of the environment. As they say, garbage in, garbage out.

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Neminda Prabhashwara

Software engineering undergraduate, University of Kelaniya Sri Lanka