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                       BASICS OF ETHICAL HACKING


The vast growth of the Internet has brought many good things like electronic commerce, email, easy
access to vast stores of reference material, etc. One of the more effective ways of testing network
security is penetration testing or ethical hacking. Activities focus on the identification and exploitation
of security vulnerabilities and subsequent implementation of corrective measures (Using an Ethical
Hacking Technique). Organizations are increasingly evaluating the success or failure of their current
security measures through then use of ethical hacking processes. As, with most technological
advances, there is also another side: criminal hackers who will secretly steal the organization’s
information and transmit it to the open internet. These types of hackers are called black hat hackers.
So, to overcome these major issues, another category of hackers came into existence and these
hackers are termed as ethical hackers or white hat hackers. So, this paper describes ethical hackers,
their skills, and how they go about helping their customers. Ethical hackers perform the hacks as
security tests for their systems. This type of hacking is always legal and trustworthy. In other terms,
ethical hacking is the testing of resources for the betterment of technology and is focussed on securing
and protecting IP systems. Ethical hacking is a way of doing a security assessment. Like all other
assessments, an ethical hack is a random sample, and passing an ethical hack doesn’t mean there are no
security issues.

    What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking provides a way to determine the security of an information technology environment –
at least from a technical point of view. As the name ethical hacking already tells, the idea has
something to do with hacking. But what does “hacking” mean? “The word hacking has two
definitions. The first definition refers to the hobby/profession of working with computers. The second
definition refers to breaking into computer systems. While the first definition is older and is still used
by many computer enthusiasts (who refer to cyber-criminals as "crackers"), the second definition is  
much more commonly used.” In the context of “ethical hacking”, hacking refers to the second
definition – breaking into computer systems. It can be assumed that hacking is illegal, as breaking into
a house would be. At this point, “ethical” comes into play. Ethical has a very positive touch and
describes something noble which leads us to the following definition of ethical hacking: Ethical
hacking describes the process of attacking and penetrating computer systems and networks to discover
and point out potential security weaknesses for a client which is responsible for the attacked
information technology environment. An ethical hack’s results is a detailed report of the findings as
well as a testimony that a hacker with a certain amount of time and skills is or isn’t able to
successfully attack a system or get access to certain information. Ethical hacking can be categorized
as a security assessment, a kind of training, a test for the security of an information technology
environment. An ethical hack shows the risks an information technology environment is facing and
actions can be taken to reduce certain risks or to accept them.  


White Hats
An ethical hacker is also known as White hat hacker, or white hat, they use programming skills to
determine the vulnerabilities in computer systems.
Black Hats
a non-ethical hacker or black hat exploits these vulnerabilities for mischief, personal gain, or other
purposes. An ethical hacker introspects the weakness in computer security, points them out, and may
suggest changes to the system to secure the information.
Grey Hats
Gray Hats hack for different reasons either ethically or unethically depending on the situation and

circumstances at hand.


Penetration testing is also known as intrusion testing or red teaming is the method of examining the
weakness and vulnerabilities of Computer and network security. Penetration testing helps to measure
the effectiveness of system security or ineffectiveness of the system security.
The need for Penetration Testing: The main purpose of penetration testing is to identify the security
weakness under controlled circumstances so that the security flaws can be eliminated before hackers
exploit the system. Ethical hackers use their skills and application penetration testing to discover the
vulnerability Assessment, give importance to highly sensitive data. Penetration testing may be done
from a business perspective to safeguard the organization against failure through preventing financial
loss, as well as an operational perspective to identify the risk and vulnerabilities.
Types of Penetration Test: Generally there are two types of penetration testing namely
1) Black Box Test
2) White Box Test

The type of penetration testing depends upon the situation of an organization wants to test, whether
the scope is to simulate an attack by an insider (employee, network admin/ system admin, etc) or
external source. The difference between the two is the amount of information provided to the
penetration tester about the system is tested. In black-box penetration testing is closely stimulated to
that of an external attacker, giving little info or no knowledge about the systems to be tested. The
penetration testers gather as much information about the target system as possible to perform the
test. In white-box penetration testing, the tester generally provided with detailed information about the
network to be tested includes the IP address.
Merits of Penetration Testing: Penetration testing are effective for many reasons
(1) avoid the cost of network
(2) preserve the corporate image and customer loyalty
(3) meet the requirements
(4) manage vulnerabilities.
Penetration testing provides detailed information about actual, exploitable security threats. By doing
a penetration test we can easily identify the vulnerabilities that are most critical as well as least significant.
Penetration test benefits the organization by performing security patches and security resource more

precisely to safeguard the information.


The working of an ethical hacker involves the under mentioned steps:
1) Obeying the Ethical Hacking Commandments: Every Ethical Hacker must follow a few basic
principles. If he does not follow, bad things can happen. Most of the time these principles get
ignored or forgotten when planning or executing ethical hacking tests. The results are even
very dangerous.
2) Working ethically: The word ethical can be defined as working with high professional morals
and principles. Whether you’re performing ethical hacking tests against your own systems or
for someone who has hired you, everything you do as an ethical Hacker must be approved
and must support the company’s goals. No hidden agendas are allowed. Trustworthiness is
the ultimate objective. The misuse of information is absolutely not allowed.
3) Respecting Privacy: Treat the information you gather with complete respect. All information
you obtain during your testing from Web application log files to clear-text passwords —
must be kept private.
4) Not crashing your systems: One of the biggest mistakes is when people try to hack their own
systems; they come up with crashing their systems. The main reason for this is poor
planning. These testers have not read the documentation or misunderstand the usage and
power of the security tools and techniques. You can easily create miserable conditions on
your systems when testing. Running too many tests too quickly on a system causes many
system lockups. Many security assessment tools can control how many tests are performed
on a system at the same time. These tools are especially handy if you need to run the tests on
production systems during regular business hours.
5) Executing the plan: In Ethical hacking, Time and patience are important. Be careful when
you’re performing your ethical hacking tests.


An ethical hacking methodology is quite similar to a hacking methodology as there are more or less
the same goals. Anyhow, some differences exist. An ethical hacker doesn’t need to take that much
care in hiding his traces and tracks. He can choose a more aggressive way and doesn’t need to bother
with slowing down portscans (to avoid detection) or evading intrusion detection systems – at least
most of the time unless it is especially desired by the client. Mostly, an ethical hacker just hasn’t the
time to be that careful in blurring his traces and tracks unless the customer pays for. Nevertheless, a
lot of similarities can be found in a hacking methodology. An ethical hacking methodology overview
can be seen in figure 2. A similar setup could be used by a hacker for his attacks. The ethical hacking
methodology described is based on eight possible phases where interactions between the phases are possible, even required as hacking is an iterative process; going back to an earlier phase is absolutely
possible (and needed). 

  •                                                          step -1 Reconnaissance
  •                                                      step -2 scanning 
  •                       step -3 gaining control
  •                       step -4 Maintaining Access 
  •                         step -5 Covering Tracks 
   1. Reconnaissance: It refers to gather as much information as we can about the target prior to
performing an attack. It can be further classified into Active and Passive. Former involves
information gathering with direct interaction like social engineering and the later without any
direct interaction by searching news releases or public records.
2. Scanning: It refers to scan for all the open as well as closed ports and even for the known
vulnerabilities on the target machine.
3. Gaining Control: It can be gained at the OS level, system-level, or even network level. From
normal access, a hacker can even proceed with privilege escalation. It often includes password
cracking, buffer overflows, DoS attacks, etc.
4. Maintaining Access: It is where hacker strives to retain its control over a target with backdoors,
rootkits, or Trojans. Compromised machines can even be used as Bots and Zombies for
further attacks.
5. Covering Tracks: It is also known as Daisy Chaining. To avoid being exposed or caught, a
good hacker will leave no impressions of his presence. So he attempts to overwrite the system
and application logs.  


The Ethical hacking process needs to be planned in advance. All technical, management and
strategical issues must be considered. Planning is important for any amount of testing from a simple
password test to an all-out penetration test on a web application. Backup off data must be ensured,
otherwise, the testing may be called off unexpectedly if someone claims they never authorise for the
tests. So, a well-defined scope involves the following information:
1. Specific systems to be tested.
2. Risks that are involved.
3. Preparing schedule to carry test and overall timeline.
4. Gather and explore the knowledge of the systems we have before testing.
5. What is done when a major vulnerability is discovered?
6. The specific deliverables- this includes security assessment reports and a higher level report
outlining the general vulnerabilities to be addressed, along with countermeasures that should
be implemented when selecting systems to test, start with the most critical or vulnerable

               VII. HACKING TOOLS

There are various characteristics for the use of tools for ethical hacking which are as follows:
1. Adequate documentation
2. Detailed reports on the discovered vulnerabilities, including how they can be fixed
3. Updates and support when needed
4. High-level reports that can be presented to managers.
The list and description of various tools used in the ethical hacking process are as follows:
Scanning tools: The Scanning tools are quite helpful in the ethical hacking process. In technical detail,
a scanner sends a message requesting to open a connection with a computer on a particular port. (A
a port is an interface where different layers of software exchange information).
Port Scanners:
Angry IP Scanner
Packet Sniffers: They allow you to capture and visualize the traffic that is coming on your website.
Vulnerability Exploitation: These are the tools you would use in order to gain access to various
Social Engineer Toolkit
Vulnerability Scanners: These are designed to access a computer or network’s vulnerability to attacks.
The functionality of these tools varies from one to the other, but they all present a detailed analysis of
how vulnerable your system is.
Hacking Operating System: These are the OS that has been designed specifically for hackers.
SE Linux
Backbox Linux
Matriux Krypton
Intrusion Detection Systems: These tools are one of the most important parts of any security
arrangement. They allow you to detect those threats that are potentially dangerous for your system.



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