An ethical hacker, also referred to as a white hat hacker, is an information security (infosec) expert who penetrates a computer system, network, application or other computing resource on behalf of its owners -- and with their authorization. Organizations call on ethical hackers to uncover potential security vulnerabilities that malicious hackers could exploit.
The 1983 film War Games, in which a student inadvertently cracks into a war-game supercomputer run by the U.S. military, helped to highlight the vulnerabilities of large computing systems. In the 2000s, compliance regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that govern the storage and security of digitized medical and business data have elevated the role of ethical hackers within the realm of cybersecurity.
An ethical hacker needs deep technical expertise in infosec to recognize potential attack vectors that threaten business and operational data. People employed as ethical hackers typically demonstrate applied knowledge gained through recognized industry certifications or university computer science degree programs and through practical experience working with security systems.
Ethical hackers generally find security exposures in insecure system configurations, known and unknown hardware or software vulnerabilities, and operational weaknesses in process or technical countermeasures. Potential security threats of malicious hacking include distributed denial-of-service attacks in which multiple computer systems are compromised and redirected to attack a specific target, which can include any resource on the computing network.
Ethical hackers routinely test IT systems looking for flaws and to stay abreast of ransomware or emerging computer viruses. Their work often entails pen tests as part of an overall IT security assessment.
Blue hat hackers comprise two different types of hackers. The first type is a person skilled enough with malware to compromise computer systems, usually as a form of retaliation for perceived or real slights. Learning the trade is not a priority for this type of individual. The second type refers to someone asked to participate in Microsoft's invitation-only BlueHat security conference. Microsoft used ethical hackers to execute beta testing on unreleased products, looking for deficiencies in infosec in early software versions.
Ethical hacking involves an authorized attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, application, or data. Carrying out an ethical hack involves duplicating strategies and actions of malicious attackers. This practice helps to identify security vulnerabilities which can then be resolved before a malicious attacker has the opportunity to exploit them.
A penetration test, also called a pen test or ethical hacking, is a cybersecurity technique that organizations use to identify, test and highlight vulnerabilities in their security posture. These penetration tests are often carried out by ethical hackers. These in-house employees or third parties mimic the strategies and actions of an attacker to evaluate the hackability of an organization's computer systems, network or web applications. Organizations can also use pen testing to evaluate their adherence to compliance regulations.
A penetration test, colloquially known as a pentest or ethical hacking, is an authorized simulated cyberattack on a computer system, performed to evaluate the security of the system; this is not to be confused with a vulnerability assessment. The test is performed to identify weaknesses (also referred to as vulnerabilities), including the potential for unauthorized parties to gain access to the system's features and data, as well as strengths, enabling a full risk assessment to be completed.
The threat that computer penetration posed was next outlined in a major report organized by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) in late 1967. Essentially, DoD officials turned to Willis Ware to lead a task force of experts from NSA, CIA, DoD, academia, and industry to formally assess the security of time-sharing computer systems. By relying on many papers presented during the Spring 1967 Joint Computer Conference, the task force largely confirmed the threat to system security that computer penetration posed. Ware's report was initially classified, but many of the country's leading computer experts quickly identified the study as the definitive document on computer security. Jeffrey R. Yost of the Charles Babbage Institute has more recently described the Ware report as \"...by far the most important and thorough study on technical and operational issues regarding secure computing systems of its time period.\" In effect, the Ware report reaffirmed the major threat posed by computer penetration to the new online time-sharing computer systems.
A leading scholar on the history of computer security, Donald MacKenzie, similarly points out that, \"RAND had done some penetration studies (experiments in circumventing computer security controls) of early time-sharing systems on behalf of the government.\" Jeffrey R. Yost of the Charles Babbage Institute, in his own work on the history of computer security, also acknowledges that both the RAND Corporation and the SDC had \"engaged in some of the first so-called 'penetration studies' to try to infiltrate time-sharing systems in order to test their vulnerability.\" In virtually all these early studies, tiger teams successfully broke into all targeted computer systems, as the country's time-sharing systems had poor defenses.
Presumably the leading computer penetration expert during these formative years was James P. Anderson, who had worked with the NSA, RAND, and other government agencies to study system security. In the early 1971, the U.S. Air Force contracted Anderson's private company to study the security of its time-sharing system at the Pentagon. In his study, Anderson outlined a number of major factors involved in computer penetration. Anderson described a general attack sequence in steps:
In the following years, computer penetration as a tool for security assessment became more refined and sophisticated. In the early 1980s, the journalist William Broad briefly summarized the ongoing efforts of tiger teams to assess system security. As Broad reported, the DoD-sponsored report by Willis Ware had \"...showed how spies could actively penetrate computers, steal or copy electronic files and subvert the devices that normally guard top-secret information. The study touched off more than a decade of quiet activity by elite groups of computer scientists working for the Government who tried to break into sensitive computers. They succeeded in every attempt.\"
High demand for these professionals means that there are countless jobs available and unfilled in this career field. According to Cybercrime magazine, cybersecurity jobs, including ethical hacking, will continue increasing to about 3.5 million unfilled positions by 2025.
There are ethical hacker certification courses and bootcamps that are on the market today, and these courses teach IT pros the fundamentals of the role and how to think like a hacker. With many cybersecurity certification options available, deciding which will be best for you can be challenging. Many cybersecurity certifications, such as CISSP, also cover aspects of ethical hacking and penetration testing. But for those wanting certifications specific to ethical hacking, below are the six best ethical hacking certification exams that can help you grow your IT career.
On the other hand, ethical hacking is an extensive term that covers all hacking techniques, and other associated computer attack techniques. So, along with discovering the security flaws and vulnerabilities, and ensuring the security of the target system, it is beyond hacking the system but with a permission in order to safeguard the security for future purpose. Hence, we can that, it is an umbrella term and penetration testing is one of the features of ethical hacking.
Penetration testers are security professionals skilled in the art of ethical hacking, which is the use of hacking tools and techniques to fix security weaknesses rather than cause harm. Companies hire pen testers to launch simulated attacks against their apps, networks, and other assets. By staging fake attacks, pen testers help security teams uncover critical security vulnerabilities and improve overall security posture.
To exploit the vulnerabilities so they can then be repaired, ethical hacking identifies weaknesses in computer systems or networks. Hackers exploit a range of methodologies to identify dangers and eventually enhance safety. They can break into networks or computers using Linux-based operating systems. To stop cybersecurity threats, there are various applications. The field of hacking, which was present in computing for more than 50 years, is highly broad and includes a wide range of activities.
To give ethical hackers the best-in-class experience of penetration and security testing in real-world systems, Parrot Security OS is built on Debian GNU/Linux and integrated with the Frozen box OS and Kali Linux. Additionally, the Frozen box team intends to use it to offer vulnerability evaluation and mitigation, computer forensics, and anonymous Web browsing.
According to claims of high-risk hacking, some hackers use Microsoft Windows to remain undetected. Since Windows is a popular target for hackers, they must employ Windows-only environments in order to use Windows-based malware, the.NET framework, Trojans, or viruses. Hackers create a lightweight bootable ghost image that cannot be traced back to them using inexpensive disposable laptops that buy off Craigslist. These computers include unique SD card and USB ports that, if necessary, are simple to trash, bury, or even ingest.
It's intriguing to explore the area of ethical hacking and penetration testing. There has never been a better time to master ethical hacking for people who are interested in this area of computer security. As the cost of cyberattacks rises, there will undoubtedly be an increase in demand for people with these talents. Jobs in ethical hacking can pay well and provide job security. 59ce067264