What is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking is essentially acting as a White Hat or Good Hacker. A hacker using their skills with permission and for good are ethical hackers but without a hacker can easily be classified as a Black or Gray Hat. Ethical hacking involves the same skills that bad hackers use but for the purpose of defense and strengthening against malicious third parties. You can consider this skill a technical IT related skill set to help secure systems, programs, environments, and networks. The ability to find vulnerabilities and bugs in a network is critical for companies and governments alike when trying to defend their digital assets.
Finally, Ethical hacking can take on many form such as penetration testing, bug hunting, network mapping, and so many more but it all comes down to helping government, companies, and special interests defend against losses.
Who are Ethical Hackers
Ethical hackers are hackers with Cyber Security skills and permission to hack a system. On one hand, developers need to review code and maintain complex programs. Similarly, hackers need to find bugs and vulnerabilities in both programs, networks, and overall systems.
What is Ethical Hacking Not?
Hacking with good intention but without permission easily makes an Ethical Hacker into a Grey or Black hat. Ethical hacking is not a general way to describe the ability to hack but is a way to describe hackers with rules and legal permission to act on a system.
What are Ethical Hacking Tools?
Ethical Hacking Tools are any tech tool used for the purpose of helping a hacker find vulnerabilities or holes in a software, network, or an overall system. Network scanners, Logic Fuzzers, Password Cracker, Enumerators, and more are just a drop in the types of tools that exist. Furthermore, the commercially and open source tools available for hackers doesn’t even begin to touch on the multitude of custom crafted tools and resources hackers with development/coding skills have created.
What kind of Hackers are there?
Three most notable kind of hackers are White Hat, Gray Hat, and Black Hat.
White Hat Hackers
These hackers are the Ethical Hackers being discussed in this article. They are good guy hackers helping to find and improve vulnerabilities in companies and software. White Hat Hackers make money providing services and helping the good guys defend against Black Hat Hackers.
Black Hat Hackers
These hackers are the complete opposite of White Hat Hackers. Black Hat Hackers are the hackers most think about when they hear Hacker. These hackers are generally malicious and criminal hackers. Also known as crackers black hat hackers are criminals who use the hacking skill to steal data, destroy systems, and wreak havoc online.
Gray Hat Hackers
Gray Hat Hackers are somewhere in between White and Black hat hackers. Similarly to their Gray color these hackers are neither good guys or complete bad guys. A Gray Hat Hacker is a hacker with good motive but does questionable things at times.
Furthermore, there are numerous other kinds of hackers including: Script Kiddie, Red Hat, Blue Hat, Green Hat, Social Engineers, Hacktivists, Cyber Terrorist, State Hackers, Whistle-Blowers, and Hardware Hackers.
Script Kiddies are hackers that primarily use other people’s scripts and tools and don’t care to innovate or build their own. Most, if not all the time, script kiddies are malicious and their actions are on the illegal side.
Red Hat Hackers are like anti-hero’s their primary focus is to take down Black Hats using any means possible. They sometimes use Black Hat techniques to take down Black Hats. They want to destroy Black Hat Hackers to keep the world safe.
Blue Hat Hackers are rookies that are primarily motivated by revenge. They may be completely new or have some experience but their motives rely primarily on hurting a particular person or group.
Green Hat Hackers are the rookies who want to learn. Their intention is observation and growth. If you’re reading this to learn and looking through tutorials and videos about hacking this is where you start. Although every hacker is constantly learning this is where the complete beginner starts.
Social Engineering Hackers are hackers who hack humans. The weakest part of a security system is it’s weakest link. It is easier to make a user click a malicious link than it is to find a way to get past firewalls and look for exploitable machines, most of the time.
Hackivists are Hackers who use their hacking skills for a social cause. They break into systems, deface websites, or any hacking related activity with the motivation of an Activist.
A Cyber Terorrist’s primary motive is generally politically motivated to create violence and panic to advance a political reason.
State or Nation Hackers
State Hackers are hackers who are backed by a government entity. Think Cyber Warfare and Hacking Soldiers. Those employed by Governments to attack other governments or critical companies are State or Nation Hackers.
A hacker who uses their internal access to expose/leak data about a company or government entity.
A hacker who uses their skills to manipulate hardware for a number of reasons. They have a modified/different from general network or programming since they can require skills involving lower level hardware principles.
How to Become an Ethical Hacker?
Firstly, there are many paths that can be taken on your quest to become an ethical hacker. Below are just some ways someone can become an Ethical Hacker.
- Degree in IT/Cyber Security
- Degree in Computer Science
- Start in IT and work your way up with degrees and opportunities
- Participate in Capture the Flag, Hacking Events, and other tournaments to make network contacts and get noticed
- Participating in Bug Bounty Programs gets you experience and potentially money
Lastly, no one magically becomes an ethical hacker over night. Nor does anyone become a proficient hacker overnight.
To Conclude, there are many kinds of hackers and hacking itself is just a skill set like any other IT related skill. Although It is not easily learned, hacking provides an interesting challenge and rewards those who are interested in it. It’s a skill we need to help defend against the bad guys. The constantly changing battle field requires this to be a constantly changing skill.