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What Is Ethical Hacking?

The internet brought with it the third revolution; a revolution that has interconnected the world like never before. There are currently 5 billion internet users in the world. And this number only increases day on day. From education to healthcare to communications to transport, the internet has permeated every industry to make our lives easier and more convenient. But is the internet a manna from the heavens? Sadly not. While it has brought with it immense opportunities and innovations, it has also brought with it, threat; threat of breach, fraud and attacks. And foremost among these threats is the threat from hackers.  Hackers are sophisticated criminals who can breach cyber security systems and cause loss of money, credibility and trust. In 2017 alone, hacking cost people $172 billion, while it is predicted that by the end of 2020, the average cost of data breaches will be about 150 million. Apart from the money that is lost, a company that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks also loses face with its customers, making it unreliable. Which is why, to counter these attacks, more and more organizations today are investing in sophisticated cyber security, to protect their data and reputation from hackers.  But how does one know if the security they have in place is fool proof and not susceptible to cyber-attacks? This is where ethical hackers come in. An ethical hacker is a security professional who assesses a system for vulnerabilities that can be exploited for a malicious attack.  Ethical hackers break and build the security for an organization.  They have become an indispensable resource in the security market. Right from ecommerce websites to banks, all organizations are investing in ethical hackers who can assess and put a security system in place.    So, how does one become an ethical/white hat hacker? And what’s the career path in this role? Understanding Ethical HackingEthical Hacking is a legitimate and structured way of hacking, performed to expose the vulnerabilities in the software, web application, or in the network, that can be accessed and exploited by an unauthorized person. Ethical hacking helps secure both your personal as well as an organization’s IT assets.  There are many threat vectors which attackers use to get the access to a website, software or network. Ethical hackers are trained to identify these and fix them before they are discovered by malicious hackers. In organizations, they are often given the role of a security analyst, security consultant security architect etc.  Some of the tasks of an ethical hacker include: Detecting loopholes in a database that can be exploited by any unauthorized person  Finding vulnerabilities in networks that can be exploited by any attacker Educating the employees on how to identify phishing mails and tackle them  Establishing proper security controls on all the devices. Securing your Web applications and websites Securing your organization's network  Regular patching of Infrastructure devices like routers, switches, firewall and servers. Establishing perimeter security to protect the organizational network. Ensuring User and Access based controls are setup and implemented.  Input validation on Websites. Security analyst, security consultant or security architect...these are some of the names given to ethical hackers in the corporate world.What Ethical Hackers Do In essence an ethical hacker uses the same tools and techniques that would be used by a malicious or black hat hacker to breach a system. The only difference is that what an ethical hacker does is legitimate, ethical and with the consent of the organization quite contrary to a malicious hacker who hacks a system’s security without user consent.An ethical hacker’s job involves identifying loopholes and developing and discussing their assessment methods and findings with various IT team and  the higher management.  Ethical hackers perform vulnerability assessment on the network, software, and servers. Later they fix those incompetencies so that no unauthorized user can compromise the system’s integrity. What qualifications does one need to become an Ethical Hacker?A Computer Science or Information Technology degree is not required to become an ethical hacker. There are many professionals who come from non-technical background and go on to become excellent ethical hackers. What you need is expertise on the latest hacking tools and techniques that you can use to test the system and identify its loopholes.   Some of the defensive approaches ethical hackers use to protect organizations include:  Regular patching of Infrastructure devices like routers, switches, firewall and servers. Establishing perimeter security to protect the organizational network. Ensuring User and Access based controls are setup and implemented.  Input validation on Websites.  And many more.History of Ethical Hacking:- The term ‘hacker’ was coined in 1960 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where some great minds were trying to redevelop mainframe systems using FORTRAN programming. With the dawn of the digital age, hacking became one of the top methods of conducting cyber-attacks. Nation sponsored attacks are a new form of cyber terrorism that can bring countries to their knees.   One of the biggest examples is Stuxnet; a virus attack on the Nuclear program of Iran, which according to Wikipedia was carried out jointly by USA and Israel. Some of the other victims of hacking are organizations such as: Adobe hack: 2013 Yahoo Hack: 2013 eBay hack: 2014 Sony hack: 2014 Mariott hack: 2018 Dubsmash hack: 2019 Evolution of the Ethical Hacking role:Ethical hackers play an important role in securing us in this era, and can be said to be the unsung heroes of the IT industry.  Organizations have greatly expanded the investments made on cyber security after realizing that a breach could cost them more than their turnover. The digital demand in today’s world has ensured that the responsibilities of and the need for ethical hackers is on the rise.  How does Hacking become Ethical? Hacking can be legal or illegal depending on the intention of the act. If hackers use their knowledge for providing security and protection to any organization, it becomes legal or ethical. When a hacker has the user’s consent to check the security of their system by breaching the system, it is ethical hacking. However, if the security of a system is breached without the user’s consent to perform a malicious act such as stealing passwords, sending spam, damaging/stealing data, making unlawful transactions etc, then that makes it a cybercrime.   Recent Hacking Attacks:- What do hackers do? Perform a data breach Get details of the Server Get sensitive details from a database Crash a website Some of the more prominent attacks of data breach in recent years include In 2015, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Waren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and others were victims of hacking.  Myerscough College, in Billsborrow, Lancashire was attacked by an attacker on their result day. This compelled the staff to email each student about their grades, individually, Even their online enrolment system was affected by the attack.  A ransomware Wannacry, was used to derail thousands of computer systems including those of Government organizations and private organizations.  Ashley Madison is a website with the slogan 'Life Is Short, Have an Affair.' This website was attacked by attackers in July 2015, which resulted in the personal data of 37 million users being leaked on public websites. The results were catastrophic and it ruined the reputations and marriages of many. In June 2015, the records of 21.5 million people, including social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, fingerprints, and security-clearance-related information, were stolen from the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Most of the victims are employees of the United States government. This attack was also considered to be serious due to the leak of private information of the officials. The attackers used asymmetric cryptography, in which they encrypted the complete system using a public key and stored the private key on their own server. The owner of the system was blackmailed into giving money in exchange for the private key to decrypt that system.  According to McAfee "Rise in Cyber Attacks Amid Covid-19 Resulted in 375 Threats Per Minute in Q1 2020" What is Vulnerability: - Vulnerability is a loophole in the system which allows any unauthorized user to get access into the system.  Vulnerability is often a result of misconfiguration of the logic which is implemented for operation or security of the system. Any weakness in a system that can be used to exploit the organization's property is called vulnerability. A flaw in the system makes it vulnerable to attacks. A small configuration error can become a high-level vulnerability.  Generally, vulnerabilities are categorized according to the severity and frequency of occurrence. These are:  Critical  High Medium Low Below are some of the different types of vulnerability: If Database default credentials are used If Server is not properly patched  If Session time out is not properly configured If Server is executing data entered in input field as a command If handling of data is not properly implemented.What types of Systems do Hackers target?Hackers often want to hack those computers or networks from which they know that they will surely get some valuable/sensitive information. Government and Private organizations that store large amounts of sensitive data are especially vulnerable to hacking. Individual hacking is also on the rise were hackers attack individuals to steal money or passwords. In the times we live, knowledge of hacking and security is a must for every individual and organization to protect themselves.  Ethical hackers are the modern-day vigilantes who protect and serve organizations and individuals by fixing security issues of systems and keeping them safe from attacks. 

What Is Ethical Hacking?

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What Is Ethical Hacking?

The internet brought with it the third revolution; a revolution that has interconnected the world like never before. There are currently billion internet users in the world. And this number only increases day on day. From education to healthcare to communications to transport, the internet has permeated every industry to make our lives easier and more convenient. But is the internet a manna from the heavens? Sadly not. While it has brought with it immense opportunities and innovations, it has also brought with it, threat; threat of breach, fraud and attacks. And foremost among these threats is the threat from hackers.  

Hackers are sophisticated criminals who can breach cyber security systems and cause loss of money, credibility and trust. In 2017 alone, hacking cost people $172 billion, while it is predicted that by the end of 2020, the average cost of data breaches will be about 150 million. 

Apart from the money that is lost, a company that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks also loses face with its customers, making it unreliable. Which is why, to counter these attacks, more and more organizations today are investing in sophisticated cyber security, to protect their data and reputation from hackers.  

But how does one know if the security they have in place is fool proof and not susceptible to cyber-attacks? This is where ethical hackers come in. An ethical hacker is a security professional who assesses a system for vulnerabilities that can be exploited for a malicious attack.  

Ethical hackers break and build the security for an organization.  They have become an indispensable resource in the security market. Right from ecommerce websites to banks, all organizations are investing in ethical hackers who can assess and put a security system in place.    

So, how does one become an ethical/white hat hacker? And what’s the career path in this role? 

Understanding Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is legitimate and structured way of hacking, performed to expose the vulnerabilities in the software, web application, or in the network, that can be accessed and exploited by an unauthorized person. 

Ethical hacking helps secure both your personal as well as an organization’s IT assets.  

There are many threat vectors which attackers use to get the access to a website, software or network. Ethical hackers are trained to identify these and fix them before they are discovered by malicious hackers. In organizations, they are often given the role of a security analyst, security consultant security architect etc.  

Some of the tasks of an ethical hacker include: 

  • Detecting loopholes in a database that can be exploited by any unauthorized person  
  • Finding vulnerabilities in networks that can be exploited by any attacker 
  • Educating the employees on how to identify phishing mails and tackle them  
  • Establishing proper security controls on all the devices. 
  • Securing your Web applications and websites 
  • Securing your organization's network  
  • Regular patching of Infrastructure devices like routers, switches, firewall and servers. 
  • Establishing perimeter security to protect the organizational network. 
  • Ensuring User and Access based controls are setup and implemented.  
  • Input validation on Websites. 

Security analyst, security consultant or security architect...these are some of the names given to ethical hackers in the corporate world.

What Ethical Hackers Do 

In essence an ethical hacker uses the same tools and techniques that would be used by a malicious or black hat hacker to breach a system. The only difference is that what an ethical hacker does is legitimate, ethical and with the consent of the organization quite contrary to a malicious hacker who hacks a system’s security without user consent.

An ethical hacker’s job involves identifying loopholes and developing and discussing their assessment methods and findings with various IT team and  the higher management.  

Ethical hackers perform vulnerability assessment on the network, software, and servers. Later they fix those incompetencies so that no unauthorized user can compromise the system’s integrity. 

What qualifications does one need to become an Ethical Hacker?

A Computer Science or Information Technology degree is not required to become an ethical hacker. There are many professionals who come from non-technical background and go on to become excellent ethical hackers. What you need is expertise on the latest hacking tools and techniques that you can use to test the system and identify its loopholes.   

Some of the defensive approaches ethical hackers use to protect organizations include:  

  • Regular patching of Infrastructure devices like routers, switches, firewall and servers. 
  • Establishing perimeter security to protect the organizational network. 
  • Ensuring User and Access based controls are setup and implemented.  
  • Input validation on Websites.  

And many more.

History of Ethical Hacking:- 

The term ‘hacker’ was coined in 1960 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where some great minds were trying to redevelop mainframe systems using FORTRAN programming. With the dawn of the digital age, hacking became one of the top methods of conducting cyber-attacks. Nation sponsored attacks are a new form of cyber terrorism that can bring countries to their knees  

One of the biggest examples is Stuxnet; a virus attack on the Nuclear program of Iran, which according to Wikipedia was carried out jointly by USA and Israel. 

Some of the other victims of hacking are organizations such as: 

  • Adobe hack: 2013 
  • Yahoo Hack: 2013 
  • eBay hack: 2014 
  • Sony hack: 2014 
  • Mariott hack: 2018 
  • Dubsmash hack: 2019 

Evolution of the Ethical Hacking role:

Ethical hackers play an important role in securing us in this era, and can be said to be the unsung heroes of the IT industry 

Organizations have greatly expanded the investments made on cyber security after realizing that a breach could cost them more than their turnover. The digital demand in today’s world has ensured that the responsibilities of and the need for ethical hackers is on the rise.  

How does Hacking become Ethical? 

Hacking can be legal or illegal depending on the intention of the act. If hackers use their knowledge for providing security and protection to any organization, it becomes legal or ethical. When a hacker has the user’s consent to check the security of their system by breaching the system, it is ethical hacking. However, if the security of system is breached without the user’s consent to perform a malicious act such as stealing passwords, sending spam, damaging/stealing data, making unlawful transactions etc, then that makes it a cybercrime  

Recent Hacking Attacks:- 

What do hackers do? 

  • Perform data breach 
  • Get details of the Server 
  • Get sensitive details from database 
  • Crash a website 

Some of the more prominent attacks of data breach in recent years include 

  1. In 2015, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Waren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and others were victims of hacking.  
  2. Myerscough College, in Billsborrow, Lancashire was attacked by an attacker on their result day. This compelled the staff to email each student about their grades, individuallyEven their online enrolment system was affected by the attack.  
  3. A ransomware Wannacry, was used to derail thousands of computer systems including those of Government organizations and private organizations.  
  4. Ashley Madison is a website with the slogan 'Life Is Short, Have an Affair.' This website was attacked by attackers in July 2015, which resulted in the personal data of 37 million users being leaked on public websites. The results were catastrophic and it ruined the reputations and marriages of many. 
  5. In June 2015, the records of 21.5 million people, including social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, fingerprints, and security-clearance-related information, were stolen from the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Most of the victims are employees of the United States government. 
    This attack was also considered to be serious due to the leak of private information of the officials. 

The attackers used asymmetric cryptography, in which they encrypted the complete system using a public key and stored the private key on their own server. The owner of the system was blackmailed into giving money in exchange for the private key to decrypt that system.  

According to McAfee "Rise in Cyber Attacks Amid Covid-19 Resulted in 375 Threats Per Minute in Q1 2020" 

What is Vulnerability: - 

Vulnerability is a loophole in the system which allows any unauthorized user to get access into the system.  

Vulnerability is often a result of misconfiguration of the logic which is implemented for operation or security of the system. Any weakness in a system that can be used to exploit the organization's property is called vulnerability. A flaw in the system makes it vulnerable to attacks. A small configuration error can become a high-level vulnerability.  

Generally, vulnerabilities are categorized according to the severity and frequency of occurrence. These are:  

  • Critical  
  • High 
  • Medium 
  • Low 

Below are some of the different types of vulnerability: 

  • If Database default credentials are used 
  • If Server is not properly patched  
  • If Session time out is not properly configured 
  • If Server is executing data entered in input field as a command 
  • If handling of data is not properly implemented.

What types of Systems do Hackers target?

Hackers often want to hack those computers or networks from which they know that they will surely get some valuable/sensitive information. Government and Private organizations that store large amounts of sensitive data are especially vulnerable to hacking. Individual hacking is also on the rise were hackers attack individuals to steal money or passwords. 

In the times we live, knowledge of hacking and security is a must for every individual and organization to protect themselves.  

Ethical hackers are the modern-day vigilantes who protect and serve organizations and individuals by fixing security issues of systems and keeping them safe from attacks. 

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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Microsoft Project - Complete Guide For Beginners

Introduction A project is a specific set of operations that is created to meet a single goal and the application of knowledge, practices, skills and tools in order to meet this specific set of goals and certain specific requirements is known as Project Management. It is a specialized career path, generally involves working in a team and is a much respected profession in the corporate world. The rapid worldwide growth of Project Management demanded a dedicated software to assist its supervision and Microsoft Office Project or MS Project as it is most often known, caters to the need quite efficiently. About MS Project Project Management is a complex and multifaceted process and MS Project is a project management software program developed and sold by Microsoft. It is a very convenient-to-use tool that project managers across the globe vouch for. Microsoft is helping project managers in the following tasks: • Creating schedules • Assigning resources to tasks • Tracking progress • Managing budgets • Evaluating workload It creates specific budgets depending upon the work assigned and rates demanded by resources. While assignment of resources to tasks and work estimation takes place, MS Project gets into cost calculation for task level and culminates at the project level. Every resource can possess a separate calendar that explains particular days and shifts during which a specific resource is available. MS Project is a feature heavy software and automates a majority of tasks. However, it does have a few constraints and is unable to replicate human thinking. Remember, Microsoft Project can create a practical schedule for the project but it cannot create a plan and most managers are unable to distinguish between the two. For example, a Project Manager has to provide solutions to the following questions: • How much will it cost to complete each task? • What sort of resources will be needed to accomplish each task? Is it Man, machine or material? • Are there any specific time deadlines and constraints for the project or individual tasks? • Is there a defined order while completing tasks and how are the tasks defined? Microsoft Project is capable of creating more than just a schedule as it can: ✓ Form dependencies within tasks ✓ Solve resource conflicts ✓ Create Constraints ✓ Review costs and schedule performances MS Project training helps project managers in envisaging their project in standard defined layouts. By using this software, it is possible to schedule tasks and resources in a fairly reliable and effective manner. Project Managers can rely on it when it is essential to track information about the work, time taken for individual tasks and also assessing the resource needs for the project. Another important and time-consuming task the MS Project handles in an efficient manner is the generation of reports that are required during regular progress meetings. What does Microsoft Project look like? The Microsoft Project interface includes the following: Quick Access Toolbar: A customizable area that allows commonly used commands to be added for quick use. Tabs on the Ribbons & Groups: A part of the “Fluent User Interface”, this “office menu” is a single tool bar that has a ribbon having various tabs, where every tab contains a toolbar button and at times, other controls too. Toolbar controls have assorted sizes and are divided into visually distinct groups, which are essentially a group of related commands. Commands: Each tabs includes various commands, which when pointed at, unfurl a description inside a tooltip. These commands are basically specific features one utilises to perform different actions in MS Project. Zoom Slider: Helps in zooming the view in or out View Shortcuts: Allows quick and easy switching between commonly used views in the project View Label: This tab is located along the left side of the active view and contains various views like Task Usage view, Gantt chart view, network diagram view, amongst various others. Microsoft Project is capable is displaying single or multiple views in individual panes. Status Bar: Shows details like scheduling mode of tasks (automatic or manual) and specifics of filters applied to the active view. Advantages and Disadvantages of Microsoft Office Project Advantages: MS Project is a highly flexible application that offers multiple tools that help in the management of projects in government institutions, business firms and construction organizations. The planning, allocating and collection of resources for different tasks becomes fairly simple and easy with the use of MS Project. It helps project managers to estimate budgets accurately so that the right amount of money is set aside for the project and for contingencies too. Disadvantages: It is prudent to realise that MS Project, though it is designed to allow multiple users to work in congruence, it takes a longer time to train people with different learning pace and the training itself could turn out to be an expensive affair. Summary: Microsoft Office Project is a suite of tools to help in efficient project management and is used in industries like pharmaceuticals, construction, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and financial services to name a few. Contractors and project managers are able to have better control over their finances and resources and is integrated with Microsoft office suite along with a Client Access Licence for quick connectivity with Office Project Server.
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Microsoft Project - Complete Guide For Beginners

Introduction A project is a specific set of ope... Read More