How to learn ethical hacking?

How to learn ethical hacking?

Franco Brutti

Jun 18, 2023

Jun 18, 2023

Jun 18, 2023

How to learn ethical hacking?
How to learn ethical hacking?
How to learn ethical hacking?

What comes to mind when we talk about hackers? Surely nothing positive, and it has become popular to think that they are professionals with bad intentions who seek to harm you in some way... However, ethical hacking is the opposite of this.

Ethical hackers are specialists who look for vulnerabilities in a system and communicate them to the client in order for them to take action. In other words, they are hired to protect them from possible attacks.

Yes, it may sound strange, but it’s becoming more and more common. Today there are many professionals who are willing to help companies at a time when we are increasingly vulnerable. Do you want to take a look at it?

What is an ethical hacker?

Let's define then what an ethical hacker is. We define them as professionals who execute the hacking, but who don't have criminal purposes. On the contrary, they try to identify vulnerabilities in a system and repair them as much as possible to avoid major problems in the future.

In most cases, they specialize in penetrating digital systems to improve the security of the entire infrastructure. 

These professionals are called white hat hackers, a name that differentiates them from the hackers on the market who do have criminal intent. 

Today we’re more dependent on Internet services such as cloud storage. That’s why it’s essential to invest in the necessary resources.

Types of hackers

As you can imagine, a large part of the hackers that exist today are not ethical, in fact, we could say that they are more obscure than we would like. 

In fact, it was because of the appearance of this type of hackers that other types of professionals began to appear to protect us from the cybercriminals that are on the market. 

Let's take a closer look at each one and its defining characteristics: 

1. Black hat

First, we have the black hat hackers, who hack into systems only out of pure selfishness, to make money or to take revenge on someone in particular. They are usually resentful, immature people who use their knowledge for negative purposes. 

In other words, they are the run-of-the-mill hackers we have seen in TV series and movies. 

2. Gray hat

In second place we have the gray hats, who are located between the black and white hats, who run somewhat questionable operations from a moral point of view but are not as negative as the first group. 

They tend to hack into companies or groups that aren’t aligned with their ideals, such as political parties, central banks, multinationals and non-governmental organizations. 

3. White hat

Finally, we have the white hat hackers, who improve the security of a system in order to prevent it from being the victim of an attack by external agents. 

They usually make a prior study of the platform and notify the client about the holes it has in order for them to take action as soon as possible. 

Types of hackers

How legal is ethical hacking?

One of the most common questions people ask is whether ethical hacking is 100% legal or not. The truth is that it is a quite valid question considering that laws protect people and companies against massive data loss and theft. 

As long as it’s not intended to harm someone else, we would be talking about something ethical and in accordance with the law. 

However, there are many elements that we must take into account. For example, many white hat hackers use social engineering to trick people into leaving their personal data so that they can test the company's systems. 

Therefore, an ethical hacker enters the platforms using the credentials of other human beings without authorization to do so, which is a violation of several laws of different countries. 

Of course, many of these professionals don’t do it for negative purposes, but it’s the only way to verify how secure a system is at that moment.

Ethical hacking penetration test

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the ethical hacking penetration test. Remember? Well, the time has come for you to understand what it is.

It’s a method that plans the attack on a network regardless of its size to find the vulnerabilities it has at that specific moment. 

To achieve this, it’s necessary to simulate various attack patterns through different alternatives that have been developed by specialists in the field. Some of its components are: 

  • Security ports:

Here we find elements such as firewalls, antivirus that prevent the entry of suspicious programs, packet filters, etc. 

  • Coupling:

In this case, we have all the routers, switches, and ports. 

  • Telecommunications equipment

In this sense, penetration tests are classified as follows: 

Black box testing 

In this case, the professionals only have in their possession the address of the network, which means that it runs through the inputs and outputs it receives without assessing the internal functioning: 

White box testing

Here we have different knowledge of systems such as the IP address, the program being used in question, and the hardware elements.

Reasons to use ethical hacking

Digital security is one of the most important issues we have today. It’s essential to invest in these types of processes to be more protected in a world where we are increasingly vulnerable. 

Let's look at some of the reasons why we should use this sort of hacking from now on: 

1. You comply with regulations

First of all, it’s important to appreciate the fact that with ethical hacking we comply with regulations. Yes, we already know that at the beginning we told you that sometimes they tend to do activities that are outside the law. 

However, most of the time these are very specific cases, as these are big-name companies that have to comply with the legal mechanisms because the agents have their sights set on them at all times.

This way you can offer a higher quality service to your client. 

2. You protect networks and software

On the other hand, we cannot forget the fact that with penetration testing we determine where the weaknesses are in a specific platform. 

With this practice, we can detect any vulnerability and weakness that the system has and that can be exploited by digital criminals. 

This way you will be protected and leave everything in the hands of the experts. 

3. Updated with penetration systems

Technology does not rest for a second and neither do penetration systems. So, when we hire an ethical hacker we make sure we are up to date with the latest trends used by criminals. 

Take the definitive step to be at the forefront of computer security. 

4. Artificial intelligence training

It’s true that artificial intelligence is here to stay, but the reality is that in the case of vulnerability detection mistakes are made that can jeopardize the security of your project. 

On many occasions, it detects false positives that alarm you unnecessarily, as well as the other way around. That’s why it’s important to work hand in hand with an ethical hacking professional to obtain better results. 

Reasons ethical hacking

Phases of ethical hacking

There are five phases that divide ethical hacking. Let's take a look at each of them so that you can implement them in the right way: 

1. Signing the agreement

The first thing we have to do is to sign an agreement reflecting the type of collaboration that the professional will have with the contracting company. From there, a document will emerge where it will be shown in detail the work that will be done and how long the contract will last. 

Likewise, the hacker must make clear what he will do and which clauses that compromise his service. In addition, he must explain how much guarantee he offers and how far his services go. 

This way we will be prepared to continue with the process. 

2. Investigation of the systems

Once the contract is signed, it’s time to move on to the next phase, which is to carry out an exhaustive investigation of both the servers and the company's general system in order to discover the access routes. 

The professional uses all the tools at his disposal to find flaws in the platform. 

In this process, he will try to extract data such as executives' personal information, company statistics, banking data, installed programs, and any project that is of vital importance to the business. 

3. Preparing a plan of attack

Subsequently, it’s necessary to prepare an attack plan showing all the options that malicious hackers have to attack the company. 

The idea is to make a detailed report on all the vulnerabilities that the project has in order to take action before they become victims of information theft. 

4. Finding access routes and vulnerabilities

After we conclude with the attack plan it’s time to work on stopping all the access routes and vulnerabilities we found in the previous step. 

The idea is for the expert to put himself in the criminal's shoes to find ways to access the project. Only then will we know how prepared we are.

5. Execution of theory and resistance test

Finally, we have theory execution and endurance testing, which is about executing all the attack plans to verify that your theories are true. 

The idea is to exhaust all possibilities and see what happens in each option to take the necessary corrective actions. 

Subsequently, we work on stopping these vulnerabilities so that the company is prepared for the challenges that lie ahead in terms of IT security.

Sites to learn ethical hacking: 

There’s no doubt that being an ethical hacker is a more than attractive option to help many companies to be more protected against the criminals that lurk on the internet. 

Let's see now some of the sites where you will learn from scratch everything about ethical hacking:

1. Hack The Box

First of all, we have Hack The Box, one of the most popular sites at the moment to learn to hack: a platform with a simple interface that gives the possibility to both individuals and companies. 

We love the fact that you can practice your skills without having to download anything. The difficulties are increasing and you have users from all over the world to learn from the experts. 

2. Tryhackme

In second place we have Tryhackme, a platform that helps us learn cybersecurity in a 100% controlled environment. 

The site is created to learn while having fun, so we can spend hours and hours and never get bored. 

The tests are done through challenges, questions, and all kinds of challenges that you must overcome to meet the objectives. 

3. Pentester lab

Finally, we have Pentester lab, which gives you all the basics to learn about cybersecurity. 

It’s interesting because we can do free exercises and gradually unlock more advanced practices. 

It also provides a subscription platform to have access to more specialized content. 

In this way, we can see that ethical hacking is a more than useful option to protect ourselves against the threats that exist today. It’s no longer just about having products and an attractive website, it’s important to be attentive to our own data to have a solid and stable company. 

What do you think about ethical hacking?