What is Ethical Hacking? All you need to know [OverView]
What is Ethical Hacking

What is Ethical Hacking? All you need to know [OverView]

Last updated on 12th Jul 2020, Blog, General

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Divakhar ( )

High level Domain Expert in TOP MNCs with 8+ Years of Experience. Also, Handled Around 16+ Projects and Shared his Knowledge by Writing these Blogs for us.

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Hacking is carried out to gain access to the computer system or related computer network with the loopholes existing & read all the private data or sensitive data existing in it! Hacking a system to find the loopholes or weaknesses of the system or network used for computers with legal permissions is called “Ethical Hacking”.

Is Ethical Hacking a Cybercrime?

Ethical hacking cannot be considered as a cyber crime unless the hacker disobeys the rules & does not follow the code of ethics agreement. Typically, hacking refers to gaining computer/network access without the permission of the concerned person or organization and lead to an unlawful review of data, theft & file destruction. The entire process violates both federal & state laws. At the federal level, the FBI investigates the hacker, and, at the state level, we have different law enforcement for investigating the hacker. The precise crime depends on the individual who commits the crime, based on

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime is defined as a crime wherein a computer system is used as a tool for committing the offence. Cybercrime includes accessing your personal information, confidential data or disabling your device. Below mentioned are a few category based cybercrimes.

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    • Property
    • Individual
    • Government

    Types of Cybercrimes:

    • Botnets
    • DDoS Attacks
    • Identity Theft
    • Social Engineering
    • Cyberstalking
    • Phishing Attacks
    • PUPs
    • Online Scams
    • Illegal Content
    • Exploit Kits

    Legal Issues of Ethical Hacking

    The legal issues include the personal or confidential information of the firm or organization being revealed by the hacker to the competitor or outsider. In such cases, legal actions will be taken on the hacker, if proven guilty.

    An ethical hacker can negatively affect a firm by committing errors at the organization level. During this scenario, the company can sue the ethical hacker. He/she can be at legal risk if not properly taken care or protection.

    Code Of Ethics / Rules For Ethical Hacking

    • Before ethical hacking is carried out, the firm/organization needs to have a look & understand its work process, business, network & system which helps in safeguarding the sensitive information like confidential data, legal information.
    • Do follow the rules & regulations in handling the sensitive financial, personal, organization information & determine the sensitivity of the information.
    • During the process of ethical hacking, maintain transparency with the client. Let the clients know all the information related to the network & systems on their side. It enables the client to react accordingly to enable security of the network or system.
    • Do follow the limits set by the clients during the process of ethical hacking. It is possible for an ethical hacker to access the data beyond the targeted areas. This helps in building trust between the ethical hacker and the client. Ensure all the information is lead by a step by step process.
    • After the process of ethical hacking, never disclose information to any other clients. Ethical hacking is performed to ensure the security of network & system security flaws. It may also lead to legal issues.

    Types of Hackers

    We have different types of Ethical Hackers. Few of them are discussed below:

    White Hat Hacker – These hackers are also called as ethical hackers as they perform penetration testing at organization level & identify the bugs in security. They work on various methods to ensure protection from black hat hackers & few malicious cybercrimes. 

    Black Hat Hacker – These hackers take a negative persona of hacking. They are the culprits. The agenda of a black hat hacker is money all over time. They look for loopholes in the network and systems. Using these loopholes, they can access the data and post virus or worms in your systems.

    Grey Hat Hacker – These hackers are as a thin line between the Black hat and White hat Hackers as they do not work for their personal profit. They hack into organizations and find vulnerabilities and a leak over the internet or intimate the same to the firm owners. Let me explain this. A grey hat hacker may not use his hacking expertise for personal profit and can not be defined as a black hat hacker. Whereas he can not hack organizations data as he is not authorised as an ethical hacker.

    Script Kiddies – They are the hackers who don’t have much coding skills. They usually use tools or predefined codes by the developers and hackers. Their intention is to impress others or friends. They do not bother about the nature of the attack and use off the shelves code for hacking. They often involve mostly in DDoS and DoS attacks.

    Green Hat Hacker – These hackers are very curious to learn. We consider themselves as script kiddies, as the thin line which separates them is the desire of learning. These newbies have full desire to become one of the full-brown hackers. You can identify them within hacking communities as they engross the fellow members in the community. We can easily identify one of those by their zeal to learn the latest hacking trades.

    Blue Hat Hacker – These hackers aim to take revenge on people who make them angry. These are to be considered as script kiddies and their intention will be taking revenge with no desire to learn hacking by using simple attacks like IP overload with packets, which leads to (Dick Operating System) attacks. Blue hat hacker is considered as a script kiddie, who has a revenge nature.

    Red Hat Hacker – These hackers are the same as white hat hackers in performance and ethics. They halt black hat hackers in performing their duties. There is lot of difference in their operation. They will be ruthless when they trade with black hat hackers. They think of attacking black hat hackers and take them down completely instead of reporting. They implement a pack of attacks on black hat hackers which, in return, leads to whole system recovery.

    Hacktivist – These are a group of hackers with an intention to make social changes, and they believe it strongly. They often hack govt organizations to prove that they exist and share their intentions and thoughts.

    Phreaker – These hackers are mostly called as telecommunication hackers. They are very active in cloning the phone, network mimicry, blue hacking, and other forms of cellular hacks.

    Stages Of Hacking

    The below steps explain the different stages of hacking.


    Stage 1 – Reconnaissance: It is the act of gathering information related to intelligence and preliminary data of your target to plan for an attack in a better way. It can be carried out either actively or passively(Network, IP address, DNS records). Hackers will be spending his most of their time in this stage.

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    Stage 2 – Scanning: It is a prior stage of launching the attack. At this stage, we scan for open ports, services etc. The tools collectively used by the hacker during the scanning would be port scanners, sweepers, dialers, and vulnerability scanners. 

    Stage 3 – Gaining Access: The blueprint of the network of the targeted system will be ready from stages 1 & 2. At this stage, we gain access for the targeted system by accessing one/more network devices to extract the data from the target.

    Stage 4 – Maintain Access: At this stage, the hacker will be in stealth mode to avoid getting caught while working in the host environment. Once the hacker gains access, he lays the path for future attacks and exploitations by making the target hardened. Hacker also secures the path by any other bypass accessing with rootkits, backdoors and trojans.

    Stage 5 – Covering Tracks: At this stage, the hacker covers his track in order to get caught & detected by cyber personnel. Removes evidence of hacking, to avoid legal actions. Hacker removes all log files, IDS(tunnelling protocols, steganography, alter log files).

    Platforms Used In Ethical Hacking

    In the cyber world, security-focused OS is the hackers’ best friend as it leads them to detect weakness in the systems or networks. The basic tool for hacking a system for the hacker is the OS. Usually, the specializations in hacking are dependent on the Linux Kernel and are regarded as the advanced working systems. Below compiled are few top platforms for Ethical Hacking.

    Kali Linux

    • It is based on Debian-Linux Distribution. 
    • Designed for forensic and penetration testing.
    • It comes with 300 pre-installed penetration programs.
    • Supports both 32 and 64 bit.

    Key Features:

    • Combines with 600+ penetration testing tools.
    • Free and Open Source.
    • Kali Linux as FHS.
    • Every package of it was GPG signed.


    • It is Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution.
    • The objective of this is fast, easily operable and uses minimal environment.
    • Its repositories are updated at regular intervals.
    • It consists of 70+ tools for tasks ranging from network and web analysis.

    Key Features:

    • It supports cloud for penetration testing.
    • Fully automated and non-intrusive.
    • Supports XFCE desktop.
    • It is completely hacker-friendly.

    Parrot Security OS

    • It is based on Debian GNU/Linux.
    • It uses kali repositories for package updates.
    • is highly customizable.

    Key Features:

    • Highly customisable for the kernel version 4.5.
    • Have custom anti-forensic tools for it.
    • It supports Falcon 1 PL.
    • Special cloud designed for servers contains less-weight OS.

    DEFT Linux

    • It is based on GNU Linux and DART.
    • It is specially designed for forensics tasks.
    • It consists of 100+ forensic and hacking tools.
    • It is actively used by EH.

    Key Features:

    • It is based on lubuntu distribution.
    • It supports Bitlocker scripts, iOS and Android.
    • Contains Digital Forensic Applications. 

    Samurai Web Testing Framework

    • It comprises of web apps and exploitation tools.
    • It provides Live Linux Platform to run VMs for penetration testing.
    • It is based on Ubuntu 9.04.

    Key Features:

    • It contains several tools for discovery, mapping, etc.
    • It is equipped with SVN for providing security tools.

    Network Security Toolkit(NST)

    • It is a live bootable DVD/USB Flash drive based on Fedora.
    • It provides network/sys administrators with a set of open-source security tools.
    • It maintains its repositories to additional packages.

    Key Features:

    • It provides visualisation of ntop, ntopng, Kismet data.
    • It has a JS console which helps in developing dynamic web pages.
    • It contains network seg ARP scanner, network intrusion detection, web-based IDS integration.

    BlackArch Linux

    • It is Arch Linux-based distribution for security and penetration testing.
    • It supports 1600+ tools for security researchers.
    • It is an alternative for backbox and kali Linux.
    • It is installed on both 32/64 bit machines.

    Key Features:

    • Fluxbox powered GUI.
    • It has modular package groups.
    • Source installation can be performed.

    Cyborg Hawk Linux

    • It is Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution for penetration testing.
    • It contains 700+ tools for penetration testing.
    • It is open-source, free for use.
    • It is highly reliable and stable in terms of ethical hacking.

    Key Features:

    • It supports wireless devices.
    • It can be installed as a VM.
    • It has a secure and well-patched kernel.
    • It is capable of running full OS lively.


    • It is an Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution.
    • It has a GENOME Based GUI.
    • It is open-source.
    • It contains various tools for penetration testing.

    Key Features:

    • It supports both 32/64 bit platforms.
    • It has a standard boot for booting live DVD OS.
    • It is a choice for starters to learn and perform R&D on penetration testing.


    • It is an Ubuntu-based Linux Distro.
    • It contains 300+ tools as a basic set of services.
    • It supports both 32/64 bit computing.

    Key Features:

    • It supports all features i.e hard disk booting, text mode, safe mode booting, debugs mode, etc. 

    Pentoo Linux

    • It is based on Gentoo Linux.
    • It is pen testing OS.
    • It supports both 32/64 bit installable live CD.

    Key Features:

    • It comes with a variety of tools with different categories like cracker, scanner, exploit, database etc.
    • It brings the Gentoo derivative which inherits the Gentoo hardened feature.


    • It is an Ubuntu-based, security-focused distribution. It also runs from the hard disk after installation.
    • It comes with several tools which support system forensics.

    Key Features:

    • It comes with huge memory, DB, network and forensics analysis.
    • It also features common apps, i.e., email clients, doc editors, web browsers, etc.


    • It is available in Ubuntu, Debian, and OpenSuse.
    • It is famous for electronic mailing.
    • It covers issues like security related info, vulnerability discussions, etc.

    Key Features:

    • It comes with tons of pen testing tools, malware testing, and forensic testing tools.

    Fedora Security Spin

    • It is the safest test environment for security auditing.
    • It is maintained by a community of test and dev teams.

    Key Features:

    • It has all network analyzers, firewalls, password tools, forensics etc.
    • It has featured apps like Nmap, Wireshark, Medusa etc..

    Skills required to become an ethical hacker


    Basic Skills To Learn Ethical Hacking:

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    • Real-life Case Studies
    • Assignments
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    How to program?

    • Hackers are tool builders and problem solvers. Learning programming will help the hacker to solve the problems.
    • It will help hackers to automate so many tasks which take a lot of time.
    • Writing programs helps in identifying program errors that he/she is targeting.
    • Hackers can use predefined codes, either implementing new code or by customizing the old ones.

    What Language Should an Ethical Hacker Learn?

    It depends on the target system and platforms. Few programs are used to develop only specific platforms.

    Useful Languages For Hackers?

    Below mentioned are a few languages that are useful for hackers:

    HTMLUsed to build Web PagesUsed to fetch data in HTML forms.
    JavaScriptUsed for Client-Side ScriptingIt is used to execute on client-side.
    PHPUsed for Server Side ScriptingTo process HTML forms and custom tasks this language is used.
    SQLUsed to connect with DataBase.Used for SQL Injection, delete data, override the application login credentials.
    PYTHON Used as High-Level Programming languagesThey are used to develop automation scripts and tools.
    C & C++Used as High-Level Programming languagesThey are used in writing your own code to extend the existing.
    JavaVBVB ScriptC SharpProgramming languagesDepending on the purpose, we use these languages for coding.

    What is Encryption Hacking?

    Encryption helps in accessing unauthorised data with emails, bank details etc, as keeping secure communication between the two parties involved. This can be done via “Scrambling” the data sent from one to another person as lengthy code by making it unreadable whoever tries to access it.

    In the data encryption, the receiver and the sender parties only can Decrypt the data scrambled into readable content. This can be achieved by “Keys”, which provides access to make the data  Readable and Unreadable.

    How To Break Encryptions?

    Today, criminals and hackers find new ways in “Cracking” encrypted documents by finding loops in encrypted algorithms. That is how they can find out the necessary key used for reading the information in the plain text.

    There are other ways in earlier days where they simply test with all the possible keys provided. But, nowadays, it is performed by the computers which are capable of calculating billions of keys/second, and this method is called the “Brute Force.”

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    Ethical Hacking Tools List

    Few of the below-mentioned tools are effective and some of them are free of cost. These tools help in finding the loopholes of the software or computer systems or networks. Few of these are opensource as well.

    NetsparkerIt is a web app security scanner which automatically identifies SQL, XSS and other loops in web apps and services.
    Probe.lyIt continuously scans the web apps for loops.
    AcunetixIt is a fully automated hacking solution which mimics ethical hacker to keep ahead of malicious attacks.
    Burp SuiteIt is a Security Testing tool for web apps.
    AircrackIt is used to crack wireless connections and powered by WPA 2 and WEP WPA.
    EttercapIt helps in the dissection of network and host analysis of active and passives modes devices.
    GFI LanGuardIt can be as a “Virtual Consultant” which scans the network for vulnerabilities.
    Angry IP ScannerIt is used to scan ports and IP addresses as it is a cross-platform and open-source tool.
    QualysGuardIt helps to build security to digital transformations. It also helps in identifying cloud system vulnerabilities.
    WebInspectIt is a dynamic app security testing tool.
    SavviusIt identifies issues and decreases security risk along with deep analysis provided through Omnipeek.
    HashcatIt is a password cracking tool for ethical hackers.
    IKECrackIt is an authentication cracking tool.
    SQLMapIt detects and exploits the SQL injection loopholes in the system.
    MedusaIt is used to crack the password. It is speedy and the best online ethical hacking tool.
    NetStumblerIt is the tool to detect wireless router networks for Windows OS.
    Cain and AbelIt is a password recovery tool for Microsoft OS.
    RainbowCrackIt is the password hacking tool used by most of the ethical hackers.
    L0phtCrackIt is the tool used to recover and audit the password for the systems.
    IronWASPIt is fortware available online for free for ethical hacking and it is open source.

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