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What is White Hat Ethical Hacking?

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05th Sep, 2023
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    What is White Hat Ethical Hacking?

    Hackers are frequently portrayed as villains. And for very excellent reasons. Every 39 seconds, a cyberattack occurs, as per the Security Magazine, with thousands and thousands of innocent users becoming victims of cybercrime each year. Thousands of cyberattacks are launched against businesses, governments, and people every day. By the time you finish reading this blog, hundreds of thousands of malicious applications will have attempted to infect a machine. However, cybersecurity is improving every day, and while it may seem counterintuitive, part of this development can be credited to the efforts of hackers.  

    Nevertheless, ethical hackers, sometimes known as white hat hackers, use their hacking abilities to find security flaws in devices, programs, or networks. These hackers stay on the right side of the law and do not break any laws. 

    White Hat Hacker - An Overview 

    A white hat hacker, also known as an ethical hacker, is trained through an Ethical Hacking Certification course and utilizes hacking skills to find security flaws in devices, programs, or networks. White hat hackers follow the rule of law regarding hacking, unlike black hat hackers (or hostile hackers). Numerous white hat hackers started as black hats. The 'hats' terms are derived from classic Western films, in which heroes wore white hats and villains wore black hats. Only when it is legally permissible do white hat hackers look for flaws or exploit a system or a network. 

    What Do White Hat Hackers Do?

    White hat hackers, sometimes known as "ethical hackers,” are cybersecurity experts who test the security of systems. 

    A white hat hacker (anti-cybercriminal) uses identical methods as a black hat hacker (cybercriminals) to access a system, but there is one key difference. The white hat hacker is 'allowed' to break into a system and reveal its flaws. A black hat, on the other hand, does not. Furthermore, black hats do so with nefarious motives, which are frequently motivated by avarice. As a result, their actions are illegal and subject to legal consequences. 

    White and black hats, in general, do the same thing: they look for weaknesses in a system. While the latter takes advantage of the loopholes for monetary or other illegal advantages, the ethical hacker alerts the system's owner to the problem. Corporations frequently engage white hat hackers to examine their systems and identify security flaws before a black hat hacker can exploit them. 

    Because a hack is defined as gaining access to data in a system, both cybercriminals and cyber defenders are hackers.  

    Many computer firms have bug-bounty programs to uncover holes in their systems, and white hats hack the system in question to uncover security flaws and earn rewards if they succeed. When you consider it, white hat hackers help businesses improve their defense and assist consumers by ensuring that their services are safe and protected. 

    We can all accept that a safer service would be preferable. This is why white hats are so crucial in today's digital age. 

    What Techniques and Strategy Do White Hat Hackers Use?

    Social Engineering 

    Since the dawn of time, social engineering and confidence tactics have been a human culture component. Although the scheme has been modified to include technology, the principle remains the same: exploiting natural human behavior is simpler than pushing your way in. Social engineering, in ethical hacking, has become a common (and extremely effective) method of determining how accessible an organization's employees are. Cybersecurity certificate programs cover this technique and related strategies in detail.  

    Social engineering can help you uncover gaps and effectively handle employee security concerns when applied ethically. A social engineering mandate also aims to establish methods to enhance the international degree of confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of your company's data. 

    Penetration Testing

    A penetration test (pen test) simulates a cyber assault on your computing device to find vulnerable flaws. Penetration testing is frequently used to supplement a web application firewall in the area of web application security (WAF). Pen testing includes attempting to break into various application systems (e.g., APIs, frontend/backend servers) to find holes, such as unsanitized inputs that are vulnerable to code injection attacks. You can utilize the penetration tester's findings to perfect your WAF security measures, and address discovered vulnerabilities. 

    Reconnaissance and Research

    An important step in ethical hacking is collecting intelligence and knowing the target machine. Reconnaissance is a collection of processes and methods (such as footprinting, scanning, and enumeration) used to uncover and gather knowledge of the target device secretly. 

    An ethical hacker uses reconnaissance to obtain as much information as available about a target computer by following the seven procedures outlined below: 

    1. Collect preliminary data. 
    2. Assess the network's coverage area. 
    3. Determine which machines are in use. 
    4. Identify open ports and access points. 
    5. Operating system fingerprinting. 
    6. Find services on ports. 
    7. Create a network map. 

    Programming

    A programming language is a set of instructions for creating computer programs. Operating systems, data-based applications, and networking solutions are all examples of programs. To be an ethical hacker, you must have programming skills. Let's pretend you've been recruited by a corporation and given the task of penetrating their database/website (or whatever) and identifying holes in the security system. You must first know how they work, what code they utilize, and how you may change the code to perform your task. 

    An ethical hacker must be able to program in languages such as C, C++, Java, Python, and Perl. They can later expand their linguistic skills by learning new languages. 

    Using a Variety of Digital and Physical Tools 

    During security assessments, ethical hackers may encounter situations where everything appears to be in order. To put it another way, security patches, rules, network segmentation, virus protection softwares, and user awareness, to name a few, are all appropriately implemented. That's when social engineering and various other techniques become increasingly important to continue the investigation from the viewpoint of a security expert or a white hat hacker. These technologies aid white hat hackers in picking or bypassing physical locks, cloning ID access cards, installing bots and other malware, and gaining access to networks and servers, among other things. 

    Types of White Hat Hacking Roles 

    Cybersecurity Researchers 

    Academics who devote their lives to investigating and writing about cybersecurity, or computer and operating system professionals who enjoy doing the tedious work, are cyber security researchers. They investigate and analyze things (operating systems, software, malware, and so on) to understand how they operate and find vulnerable flaws. Cybersecurity researchers are similar to researchers in other fields in that they must determine where to look for information, assess it, and know how to put it to use. 

    Penetration Testers (Pentester) 

    Pen testers, also known as penetration testers, replicate cyberattacks on a company's network infrastructure. These authorized tests aid in detecting security flaws and vulnerabilities before criminal hackers exploit them. As a penetration tester, you'll undertake assaults on a company's current digital systems to play a strategic, offensive role in cybersecurity. These tests may employ a range of hacking skills and equipment to identify potential security flaws. You'll keep detailed records of your actions and compile a summary of what you performed and how effective you were at breaking security standards. As a penetration tester, you'll need to conduct testing on apps, network devices, and cloud services and create and execute mock social engineering attacks. You'll also investigate and test different forms of attacks, develop penetration testing methodologies, examine the code for security flaws and reverse engineer malware or spam.  

    Information Security Analysts

    Information security analysts protect computer networks used by private companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Banking, marketing, insurance, commerce, computer systems, and many other businesses rely on data security, so there are barely any sectors where a Data Security Analyst is not required. More businesses demand the skills of a skilled Information Security Analyst as Machine Learning and predictive modeling techniques require such skills. The major role of the analyst is to develop scalable security systems to handle and prevent risks. The ethical hacking job description varies by business; however, an Information Protection Analyst is frequently on call in the event of data thefts, hacking, or other crises involving the security of digital assets. An analyst creates reports that IT administrators and company leaders use to evaluate the usefulness of their security systems. Companies will adjust security networks in response to the analyst's suggestions to ensure that the information is unavailable to unauthorized individuals. Developing and delivering instructional programs is also a part of the work, as it is frequently required to assist staff, end-users, and managers in maintaining secure security procedures. 

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    Conclusion

    Candidates interested in information security and with the necessary background could have little or no trouble learning ethical hacking, and you might find the right job role immediately. You can enroll today in a KnowledgeHut Ethical Hacking Certification course to stay up to date on critical cybersecurity issues and land you your dream job.  

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is a white hat hacker called?

    In cyber security, a white hat hacker is also referred to as an Ethical Hacker. 

    2What is a white hat in cyber security?

    A white hat hacker, also known as an ethical hacker, employs hacking skills to find security flaws in devices, programs, or networks. 

    3Are white hat hackers good?

    Unlike the Black hat hackers, white hat hackers try to secure the data by finding loopholes in a company’s network or devices.

    4Where does the term white hat come from?

    Hackers are categorized in a 'Wild West' reference where ‘White hats’ were the good guys, and ‘Black hats’ were the bad guys.  

    5Where do white hat hackers work?

    White hat hackers utilize their skills to find security flaws to protect enterprises from malicious hackers. They can be paid staff or contractors who work for corporations as security professionals looking for security flaws.

    Profile

    Gaurav Roy

    Author

    I am an avid coder, software developer by profession and computer science post graduate from IIT(ISM) Dhanbad. I have 6.5+ yrs of development experience, working with cross platform mobile development in both iOS, Android and Web. I love to code and design robust systems, exploring and exploiting various cutting edge tech stacks available including Artificial Intelligence/machine Learning and evolutionary computing technologies, my post graduate thesis being based on the field. Apart from academics, I am a guitar player and singer.

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