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Importance Of IT security In online business

There is no rocket science in understanding why IT security is important for your business. Those days are gone when people use to write thousands of papers to secure their valuable data. This is the digital world, and we all are dependent on the tech devices that we carry wherever we go. This important and sensitive data can make or break your business that is why it always remain vulnerable to some extent, and there have always been different concerns about its security. There is no doubt that companies are trying their best to secure their data however there are some other forces too that are continuously trying to break your security and steal your data. That is why it is important to keep your data up to date to the modern technology to secure it against the theft. Following are some statistics and points that will help you to understand why every business owner should keep its IT security imperative over anything else. The similar risk for large and small businesses: As mentioned in the report published by the cyber security department of the government in 2016, 65% of large firms detected a cyber-security breach or any kind of cyber-attack last year. 25% of the same companies also mentioned that they faced these breaches at least once a month. As a whole, these breaches cost the big firms over £3 billion and at an average, these breaches cost £36,500. Not only the big firms, small businesses or startups has also been on the target of the cyber criminals. There are many reasons why small businesses are the targets of the cyber criminals. Usually, small businesses don’t concentrate on their IT security due to the various reasons like shortage of resources and human force. That is why they are the easy targets but not as lucrative as the big firms are for the cyber criminals. Recently accumulated figures about the cyber-security breaches on the small and medium-sized businesses have cost them as much as £310,800 last year. These numbers are not as significant as compared to the loss of big business owners but at the rate at which it jumped this year from 2014 is alarming. The total cost in the year 2014 was only £115,000 which nearly doubled just by the gap of one year. Firms need to be prepared for more attacks than ever this year: At the rate on which these cyber-attacks has increased in the last two years, it is expected that this year is going to have more attacks than ever. One of the reasons behind this drastic increase in the attacks is the startups and new businesses who are underestimating their IT security and more concern about establishing their businesses first. With every passing year, businesses which are entirely dependent on the computers and the internet are losing more instead of earning. These firms are not keeping up with every new security update. Conversely, the cyber criminals are equipping themselves with every latest technology and becoming more lethal with every passing year. There is no doubt in it that these small businesses are the favorite targets of the cyber criminals. Moreover, these small businesses have also become a reason to worry for the big firms. Many big firms hire small companies as their vendors who do different work for them. The cyber criminals use this connection of big and small firms and breach the strong systems of big firms by using the small businesses. This is how these criminals are surrounding the businesses from all sides and the need for strong IT security has become the most important thing to sustain in the market for the businesses. How to ensure the security: Since cyber-security has become the major threat for businesses all over the world, companies have now started hiring the professionals to cope with it. However, small businesses who are still on their burning rate cannot get the services of the professionals to secure their businesses from such threats. For the small business owners, I am listing down some of the cost effective ways through which they can secure their digital network to some extent. Ensure the security of your staff information like passwords and usernames. Arrange a proper training session and educate your staff about the precautions that they should take while using company’s devices. Keep your computers up to date and always use paid anti-virus and encryption software for maximum security. If you provide mobile devices to your staff then standardized them. Keep updating the security on employee’s devices. Change the passwords of your computers and every account that you use after every 60 days and ensure that the changed password is stronger than the previous ones. Do not allow everyone to have access to company’s sensitive documents. Only allow the access on a need to know basis. If you can’t hire them permanently, at least hire the cyber security professionals on the contract base for 2 to 3 months every year so they can assist your IT security.

Importance Of IT security In online business

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Importance Of IT security In online business

There is no rocket science in understanding why IT security is important for your business. Those days are gone when people use to write thousands of papers to secure their valuable data. This is the digital world, and we all are dependent on the tech devices that we carry wherever we go. This important and sensitive data can make or break your business that is why it always remain vulnerable to some extent, and there have always been different concerns about its security. There is no doubt that companies are trying their best to secure their data however there are some other forces too that are continuously trying to break your security and steal your data. That is why it is important to keep your data up to date to the modern technology to secure it against the theft.

Following are some statistics and points that will help you to understand why every business owner should keep its IT security imperative over anything else.

The similar risk for large and small businesses:

As mentioned in the report published by the cyber security department of the government in 2016, 65% of large firms detected a cyber-security breach or any kind of cyber-attack last year. 25% of the same companies also mentioned that they faced these breaches at least once a month. As a whole, these breaches cost the big firms over £3 billion and at an average, these breaches cost £36,500.

Not only the big firms, small businesses or startups has also been on the target of the cyber criminals. There are many reasons why small businesses are the targets of the cyber criminals. Usually, small businesses don’t concentrate on their IT security due to the various reasons like shortage of resources and human force. That is why they are the easy targets but not as lucrative as the big firms are for the cyber criminals. Recently accumulated figures about the cyber-security breaches on the small and medium-sized businesses have cost them as much as £310,800 last year. These numbers are not as significant as compared to the loss of big business owners but at the rate at which it jumped this year from 2014 is alarming. The total cost in the year 2014 was only £115,000 which nearly doubled just by the gap of one year.

Firms need to be prepared for more attacks than ever this year:

At the rate on which these cyber-attacks has increased in the last two years, it is expected that this year is going to have more attacks than ever. One of the reasons behind this drastic increase in the attacks is the startups and new businesses who are underestimating their IT security and more concern about establishing their businesses first. With every passing year, businesses which are entirely dependent on the computers and the internet are losing more instead of earning. These firms are not keeping up with every new security update. Conversely, the cyber criminals are equipping themselves with every latest technology and becoming more lethal with every passing year.

There is no doubt in it that these small businesses are the favorite targets of the cyber criminals. Moreover, these small businesses have also become a reason to worry for the big firms. Many big firms hire small companies as their vendors who do different work for them. The cyber criminals use this connection of big and small firms and breach the strong systems of big firms by using the small businesses. This is how these criminals are surrounding the businesses from all sides and the need for strong IT security has become the most important thing to sustain in the market for the businesses.

How to ensure the security:

Since cyber-security has become the major threat for businesses all over the world, companies have now started hiring the professionals to cope with it. However, small businesses who are still on their burning rate cannot get the services of the professionals to secure their businesses from such threats.

For the small business owners, I am listing down some of the cost effective ways through which they can secure their digital network to some extent.

  • Ensure the security of your staff information like passwords and usernames.
  • Arrange a proper training session and educate your staff about the precautions that they should take while using company’s devices.
  • Keep your computers up to date and always use paid anti-virus and encryption software for maximum security.
  • If you provide mobile devices to your staff then standardized them.
  • Keep updating the security on employee’s devices.
  • Change the passwords of your computers and every account that you use after every 60 days and ensure that the changed password is stronger than the previous ones.
  • Do not allow everyone to have access to company’s sensitive documents. Only allow the access on a need to know basis.
  • If you can’t hire them permanently, at least hire the cyber security professionals on the contract base for 2 to 3 months every year so they can assist your IT security.
Samuel

Samuel Nicholson

Blog Author

Samuel Nicholson is a professional blogger who has this ability to write a blog on almost every niche. After getting his Master degree in Literature from the Florida State University, he is also giving his services to many online academic writing companies and providing the services like custom assignment writing.

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How much do Ethical Hackers Earn?

Technology has flourished at break neck speed in the past decade. Inventions and innovations have transformed the way we live and work. We live in an interconnected world where everything is online. While this has made our lives easier, it has also made us vulnerable to sophisticated cyber criminals, who at their malicious best attack not just an individual but even a company, and in more brazen attacks even a nation's security and financial health.According to the latest report by Verizon, 70% of cybercrimes were caused by malicious hackers and outsiders. With a lot of sensitive data now being present online, the perception threat has steadily grown over the years.One of the foremost methods to prevent cybercrime is to reinforce the security of IT systems. Moreover, adding a dedicated team of ethical hackers to the workforce can help fix loopholes and prevent malicious attacks. With the surge in cybercrime, the need for cybersecurity has increased. This in turn has led to a rise in the demand for skilled ethical hackers and information security professionals.What is the CEH certification?The CEH(Certified Ethical Hacking) credential from EC-Council demonstrates that you have hands-on knowledge of niche techniques used by security professionals and hackers to prevent cyber-attacks. CEH also provides skills to assess the security aspects, scan the infrastructure, and detect vulnerabilities in the organizations. With the CEH course, you can:Enter into the industry as a security professionalLearn the hacker mentality to get a step ahead of cybercriminalsBoost your career in IT securityImprove your skills and knowledge which is a primary requirement for career advancementThe demand for Ethical HackersAccording to Forbes, "in this current year of 2020-21, the Global security market is worth $173 billion and within the next 5 years this will grow to around $270 billion." Statistics by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network show that organizations across the globe are expected to raise their security budget by 8% annually.Source: austcyber.comMalicious cyber activities are increasing around the world, as cybercriminals are using sophisticated strategies for infiltration of systems and networks. Therefore, the demand for cybersecurity experts or ethical hackers will continue to increase.Opportunities for an ethical hackerIn India alone, more than 20,000 websites faced defacement, DDoS, or ransomware attacks just in 2019 as per the report of CERT(Indian Computer Emergency Response Team).Therefore, from private organizations to government entities, everyone needs an ethical hacker or security professional to counter unauthorized hacking and strengthen their security needs. As per the NASSCOM report, there will be 72000 security professionals in the coming years.Types of roles and responsibilities of an Ethical HackerCybersecurity experts will get various types of work opportunities from small scale organizations to giant tech corporations, government agencies, research organizations, and many others.The work of ethical hackers will differ and is not limited to the size and requirement of the organization, but also the skills and experience of hackers. However, here are some overall responsibilities expected from ethical hackers.To protect IT infrastructures, networks, devices, and data from cybercriminalsMonitor application and network performanceTo perform security tests to validate the strength of application, devices, and networkImplement information security management system to be followed by the entire organizationTo set detection and prevention facilities and make a barrier from outer /unauthorized accessTo stay connected with top management with updated risk management and business continuity plans.To perform all the above tasks and operations there are multiple designations hired by organizations, ranging from entry-level security personnel to CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). This pyramid shows the various levels of roles for cyber security professionals.Job roles and salariesEthical hackers can take on a variety of roles.Consulting - As explained earlier, almost all organizations require security professionals to secure their network,  data, devices, etc. Some organizations prefer to outsource the security solution rather than hire on their own.  In this case, the organization expects customized security solutions and suggestions and advice on protection of their assets against cyber-attacks.Bug bounty - Many organizations and tech giants organize bounty programs for hackers to find out vulnerabilities in their applications or websites and offer attractive cash prices.Training - Ethical hackers can provide training to professionals and students for advancement in their careers. These types of training also help to spread awareness in the society against cybercrime and to keep them secure from any potential fraud.Events - Tech giants like Tesla invites hackers to hack their cars. There are similar events for hackers to perform their skills and earn prizes, or in some cases jobs with handsome packages.The salary range for ethical hackersLucrative salaries are the most attractive part of this profession. Salaries in this field vary based on location, designation, skill, and experience. As we have seen in the pyramid earlier, there are multiple roles in the security field, with packages increasing from bottom to top. All organizations value their security, and are ready to pay top dollar for qualified candidates.As per a survey, the average salary of an ethical hacker or information security officer is INR 12,00,000 per annum with 3-5 years of experience. This is just an average figure. In some cases in New Delhi & Mumbai, suitable candidates got paid as much as up to INR 18,00,000 p.a. even without work experience.The package information mentioned above was just for India. Let's have a look at the below table to understand the worldwide salary ratio based on designation and experience.Do you have the skills for it?Before you decide to pursue ethical hacking as a profession, here are some skills you have to master:FocusPatienceStrategy making abilityGood CommunicationCuriosityDisciplineZest for learningThinking out of the boxPositive attitudeTop 10 technical skills:-Excellent computer skills  LinuxNetworking & InfrastructureProgramming skillsDatabase management systemsCryptographyCloud technologiesWeb applicationWireless technologiesPenetration TestingImportance of ethicsHave you heard the term 'Royal Guards'?  It refers to an elite group of highly skilled warriors who act as a monarch’s personal security guards. The monarch and the kingdom trust them and feel safe while surrounded by royal guards.In this field as well, an ethical hacker or a team of security professionals act as royal guards of the organization. Organizations trust the security professionals expecting security and implicit loyalty. Security professionals must be highly ethical, as they can have access to the most vital information systems, data, or any other assets. An ethical hacker must follow ethical /genuine practices during the entire employment term (and even after leaving a company) and uphold the trust of the management.EC-Council has written 19 steps of  'Code - of - Ethics' which must be followed by all ethical hackers to maintain the dignity of the profession.Below is a sample:As an ethical hacker, you must keep private and confidential information gained in your professional work (in particular as it pertains to client lists and client personal information). You should not collect, give, sell, or transfer any personal information (such as name, e-mail address, Social Security number, or another unique identifier) to a third party without the client's prior consent.ConclusionHighly skilled hackers will always be in demand because in the digital age, all organizations need to stay protected from hackers at any cost. This is a career that is surely future-proof!
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How much do Ethical Hackers Earn?

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Beginner's Guide to Penetration Testing

Since you are here to read this article,  we assume that you are already aware of the terms “hacking”, “hackers” and other words associated with unauthorised access. Penetration testing or ethical hacking is the process of attempting to gain access into target resources and perform actual attacks to find loopholes in the system and measure the strength of security.In this article we will learn about penetration testing, its requirements and understand how real world ethical hackers perform hacking attacks.Penetration testing (also called pen testing) and Vulnerability Assessment are both individual activities. Vulnerability assessment is carried out to identify the vulnerability of the system or network and patch that particular vulnerability with the creation of some controls. Although the modus operandi may be similar, the motives behind hacking and penetration testing are polar opposites. Hacking is done with the intention of causing harm. It includes footprinting, attacks, gaining access, exploitation etc. And once the motive is fullfiled the hacker clears the tracks in other words, wipes the evidence. The target might not have any prior information regarding this.Penetration testing, on the other hand, is carried out with the motive of enhancing the existing security level of the system. It is carried out with the approval of top management or delegates, who provide support for the testing.  Penetration testing is the actual testing of the system by targeting and performing real attacks without having much information about the target systems. Many companies and government agencies hire penetration testers to check the strength of their security controls.UK’s National Cyber Security Center summarised pentesting in one line.”A method of gaining assurance in the security of an IT system by attempting the breach of system’s security, using some tools and techniques as an adversary might”.Types of Penetration TestingThere are 3 main type of penetration testing: 1. Black Box penetration testing Here the attackers have no prior or predefined information regarding the target. They have to perform common attacks using tools and techniques without any knowledge of the target's IP address, OS details or other information. This type of testing is called covert or Red team testing2. Grey Box Penetration Testing In this type of testing, attackers have some amount of information about the target like location, IP address, OS details, email ID etc. Based on the incomplete information at hand, they have to apply the appropriate method of attack and perform penetration testing.   3. White Box Penetration Testing.White hat testing is comparatively downright testing with full fledged information about the target, where the hacker has all required information to perform the attack. This might include IP address, OS details, known vulnerabilities, application version and so on. This is also known as overt testing or Blue Team testing. Why is Pentesting important in Hacking ?Penetration testing helps organizations to safeguard their assets and prevent loss of data and financial or other assest. It may be carried out by a variety of cyber criminals including hackers, extornists, disgruntled employees or any other undesirable elements.It also helps to check the actual implementation of compliance and find out the non-compliance in the entire system or network, which can eventually lead to big mistakes and result in business loss, heavy fines and defamation.Penetration testing helps shape your information security strategy by identifying vulnerabilities and their impacts, and defining the likelihood of future attacks, that can be mitigated proactively.Penetration testing Methodology Penetration testing is more advanced than any other form of testing. In normal testing, the tester assumes that such a scenario is unlikely to happen, wherein there’s an attempt at unauthorised access and hence might have skipped some functions.  Penetration testing on the other hand requires the tester to think of all possible scenarios of attack and act like an actual attacker to design the perfect system and get the desired result.To achieve this goal, the penetration testing process is designed in 4 major steps. 1. Planning In the planning phase, top management involvement is highly recommended. With the help of delegates, the penetration team identifies the rules, objectives and goals to perform successful penetration testing. Risk of testing, required permission to access the information systems, backup plan, alternative source allocation, required downtime etc. are carried out after discussions between the tester and client.(in case of white hat testing). Without proper planning, pentesting may lead to heavy data loss or any similar failure. It is also important to get approval from the management regarding the scope. Testing without management approval can lead to major production/business impact. The penetration tester can get fired or face legal action in some cases. 2. Target Discovery In this phase, penetration testers have to get as much  information as possible about the target. This includes but is not limited to IP address, OS, email IDs, locations, network maps etc. In major cases, OSINT framework will help the tester to get most of the open information about the target. After getting all the required information, they have to start vulnerability assessment using automated tools. Usually testers have their own database giving the details of the vulnerabilities. Once enough data has been gathered during the target discovery phase3. Exploitation This is the core process of any penetration test. In this phase, testers identify potential vulnerabilities and get those vulnerabilities verified by exploiting them. If the vulnerability actually exists, then the attack takes place successfully. This phase includes a variety of attacks like social engineering, SQL injections, implementation of the backdoors, malware attacks, phishing attacks and more. Also, the goal of this phase is to check if access can be maintained that eventually converts into privilege escalation that can keep stealing the organization’s data or keep acting as a threat for the system. Sometimes, pentesters will leave a clue on the target system that can be reviewed in the post exploitation phase.4. Reporting The reporting phase is the final stage of penetration testing where the test results are compiled as a PT report. This report includes all details about the penetration test. For example,  Objective of penetration testing Tester team  Scope (Target team / system / network) List of vulnerabilities identified by the team Details of exploitation Key findings Calculation of time during access and maintaining access Impact and analysis Tactical and strategic recommendations Summary This report comes under the “confidential” category and only authorised personnel should have access to this report. Note of the “Acceptable use” of this report must be mentioned in this report and agreed to by both parties.Top 10 tools for Penetration testingTools play a major role in penetration testing.  These tools help to identify security weaknesses in the network, server, hardware and application. Penetration tools are nothing but a software application which is developed to check loopholes that are used by the actual hacker.  However, the same tools are also used by pentesters to check the threats that may compromise the security of the organization. This is like a weapon that can kill but can also protect from the enemies.There are hundreds of tools available in the market to perform various penetration testing operations. We will look at some of the most common tools used for penetration testing which are helpful for common testing features and are widely accepted by most organizations.1. MetasploitMetasploit is a widely used penetration testing tool framework. Using metasploit, testing teams can verify and manage security assessments that keep white hat hackers a step ahead.Metasploit has a user friendly GUI interface along with a command line. It also supports all operating systems like Mac OS, Linux and Windows, But it’s more commonly run on Linux.  Metasploit allows testers to break into the system and identify severe flaws. Testers can exploit the flaws and perform actual attacks with this tool. Metasploit provides more than 1500 exploits using metadata.2. WiresharkWireshark is the world's most widely used network protocol analyzer. This tool helps testers to check what's happening on the network at a microscopic level. Wireshark helps for deep inspection of hundreds of protocols along with live captures and offline analysis features. Wireshark also supports all major OS like Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris etc.Powerful display filters, rich VoIP analysis, coloring rules, decryption ability and many other features make Wireshark an unbeatable industry leader in the market.3. BeEFBeEF stands for Browser Exploitation Framework. This penetration testing tool is used to check a web browser and explore weaknesses on the client system and network. It also looks past hardened network parameters and client systems.It can use more than one browser for launching directed command modules and further attacks in the context of the browsers.4. Burp suiteBurp suit is ideal for testing web-based applications.  Burp Suite is widely used by most information security professionals.This framework uses web based penetration testing on the JAVA platform with automatic crawling capacity over the application.It has features to map the tack surface and analyze requests between a browser and destination servers.5. NessusFor 20 years, 30000 companies have been using Nessus tools for their penetration testing process. This is the most powerful tool in the world with more than 45000 CES (Cyber Exposure Score) and 100000 plus plugins for scanning the IP addresses, websites and completing sensitive data searches. Using Nessus testers can locate the weak points in the systems.  Nessus can be helpful for locating and identifying missing patches, malware including all operating systems, applications, mobile scanning. Fully featured dashboard, wide range scanning capacity and multi format report facility makes Nessus the best tool for VAPT worldwide.6. NmapFree, flexible, powerful, portable and easy to use, Nmap is an open source network discovery and security auditing tool.Nmap is useful to check and manage service upgrade schedules, monitoring host and running services with uptime, network inventory management etc. It uses raw IP packets to determine whether hosts are available or not. Nmap also helps to check what services are running hosts along with application name, version, operating systems details. Testers can check what type of packet filters are in use. Nmap has the ability to scan a single system to large networks. It supports almost all operating systems.Nmap is so popular that it has been featured in 12 movies including The Matrix, Snowden, Ocean’s 8, Die Hard 4, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc.7. AircrackAircrack NG is the tool for assessment of wireless security. Aircrack can monitor captured packets and transfer data to the text file which can help third party tools for monitoring processes. Using Aircrack, pentesters can crack WEP and WPA protocols. The CLI interface of Aircrack allows heavy scripting yet also supports GUIs and operating systems like Windows, OSx etc.8. SQLmapSQLmap is a tool to automate the process of detection and exploitation of SQL injection flaws into the application and database servers. SQLmap comes with a powerful detection engine that supports all database management systems.  It supports all six SQL injection techniques like boolean based blind, time based blind, error based, Union based etc.By providing proper authentication, IP address, port and database name it can bypass SQL injection and connect with the database.9. OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)ZAP is a free, open source penetration testing tool for testing web applications. It is also known as “man in the middle proxy” because it stands between the tester’s browser and the web application so that it can intercept messages, modify if required and send to the destination. It supports all major OSs and Docker.It can also construct a map of the application and record the requests and responses and generate alerts if something is wrong.10. SET - Social Engineering ToolkitSET (Social engineering toolkit) is an open source penetration testing framework designed to perform social engineering attacks. It is designed to perform a human-side penetration test to check if any human error can convert into a threat for the organization.SET has a number of custom attack vectors in which targets can get trapped easily.  SET can be integrated with Metasploit framework. Using SET penetration, testers can perform  Phishing attack, website attack, malware attack, create payload and eavesdropping, mass mailing etc.These are the very basic and common tools used by penetration testers or white hat hackers to find out major weaknesses in the systems or network. There are more than 300 tools available on specialised OS for penetration testing like Kali Linux, Parrot Security Operating system, Backbox, DEFT, Samurai Web testing framework, Node Zero etc. SummaryIn this article we have learned what exactly penetration testing is, and what is the importance of testing in the organization. The tools and techniques discussed can vary from organization to organization, but the objective will remain the same - to protect the assets of the organization from outside attackers. Skilled penetration testers can find more and more loopholes, which can then be patched to make systems more secure.Mobile device security and cloud security are also expanding the scope of penetration testing. As a penetration tester,  one has to get ready and know about the vulnerabilities and testing in these areas as well. Remember, this is a game where a penetration tester always has to stay one step ahead of a black hat hacker, since ultimately there can only be one winner; either the attacker or the organization.
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Beginner's Guide to Penetration Testing

Since you are here to read this article,  we assu... Read More

How to Hack a Web Server?

Over the past decade, more individuals have access to the internet than ever before. Many organizations develop web-based applications, which their users can use to interact with them. But improper configuration and poorly written codes in web servers are a threat and can be used to gain unauthorized access to the servers' sensitive data. This article tries to give an overview on Web Servers. We will be covering some topics which include working of a server, top web servers in the industry,web server vulnerabilities, web server attacks, tools and some counter measures to protect against such attacks. Among the biggest web server attacks was the breach of GitHub in 2018.                                 GitHub is the most popular online code management service used by millions of developers. On February 28, 2018 it was hit by the largest ever DDoS attack  The platform was not prepared for the massive influx of traffic, which peaked at a record-breaking 1.3 terabits per second. In this attack, there was no involvement of botnets, but instead, attackers used a method called mem caching; a caching system used to speed up websites and networks. The attackers could spoof GitHub’s IP address and then massively amplify the traffic levels directed at the platform. Luckily, within 10 minutes of the attack the company could contain and stop the attack from continuing as the company was using a DDoS Protection Service. What are Web Servers? Web servers are hardware, computer, or software, used to host websites. Web servers run on various operating systems connected to the back-end database and run various applications. The use of Web Servers has increased in past years as most online services are implemented as web applications. Web servers are mostly used in web hosting or the hosting of data for websites and web applications. How does Web Server work?  A web server can be accessed through a websites' domain name.  It ensures delivering the site's content to the requesting user by using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). A Web server can be considered to be a hardware that is used to store or host the Web server's software and files related to websites. So a web server can be used to indicate the hardware or software or both together. It is used in the transfer of files, email communications, and for many other purposes. Web servers are so powerful that they can efficiently deliver the same file or any other file to thousands of website visitors simultaneously. Web Server Security Issue Web Servers may be vulnerable to network-level attacks and operating system attacks. Web Server as a hardware is used to store Web server software and files related to websites such as images, scripts, etc. Usually, an attacker will target vulnerabilities in the configuration of the web server and exploit it. Some Vulnerabilities may include : Inappropriate permissions of the directory Lack of security Bugs Misconfigured SSL certificates Enables unnecessary services Default setup Top 3 standard Web Server software Apache HTTP Server - This is the most common server used in the industry. Apache Software Foundation develops it and it is a free and open-source software for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and many other Operating systems.  Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) - Microsoft develops this software for Microsoft platforms. It is not free or open-source. Nginx - This free and open-source software was created by Igor Sysoev and publicly released in 2004. This web server can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy, and HTTP cache. Web Server Attacks      Web Server Attacks include many techniques. Some of them are provided below: Dos/DDoS -   Denial of Service where an attacker attacks by sending numerous service request packets overwhelming the servicing capability of the web server, resulting in crashing and unavailability for the users. DNS Server Hijacking -  DNS Server Hijacking, is also known as DNS redirection, where an attacker modifies DNS configurations. DNS redirection's primary use is pharming, where attackers display unwanted ads to generate some revenue, and Phishing--where attackers show fake websites to steal credentials.  DNS Amplification Attack -  A DNS Amplification Attack happens when an attacker spoofs the lookup request to the DNS Server with the DNS recursive method. The size of the requests results in a Denial of Service attack. Directory Traversal Attacks -  Directory traversal, also is known as Path Traversal, is an HTTP attack that allows attackers to access restricted directories and reveal sensitive information about the system using dot and slash sequences. Man in the Middle Attack -  A Man in the Middle / Sniffing attack happens when an attacker positions himself between a user and the application to sniff the packets. The attacker's goal is to steal sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card details, etc. Phishing Attacks -  A Phishing attack is a social engineering attack to obtain sensitive, confidential information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc. It is a practice of fraudulent attempts that appear to come from a reputable source. Scammers mostly use emails and text messages to trick you in a phishing attack. Website Defacement - Website Defacement is an attack where an attacker changes the website/web page's visual appearance with their messages. SQL injection attack is mainly used in web defacement. An attacker can add SQL strings to craft a query maliciously and exploit the webserver.  Web Server Misconfiguration -  Web Server Misconfiguration is when unnecessary services are enabled, and default configurations are being used. The attacker may identify weaknesses in terms of remote functions or default certifications, and can exploit them. An attacker can easily compromise systems by some attacks such as SQL Injection, Command Injection. HTTP Response Splitting Attacks -  HTTP Response Splitting is a straightforward attack when the attacker sends a splitting request to the server, which results in the splitting of a response into two responses by the server. The second response is in the hand of the attacker and is easily redirected to the malicious website. Web Cache Poisoning -  A web cache is an information technology for storing web documents such as web pages, passwords and images temporarily. Web Cache Poisoning is a technique where the attacker sends fake entry requests to the server, wipes out all the server's actual caches and redirects the user to the malicious website. SSH Brute Force Attacks -  Brute force is where an attacker uses trial and error to guess login info by submitting many passwords or paraphrases. In an SSH Brute force attack, the intruder brute forces the SSH tunnel to use an encrypted tunnel. The encrypted tunnel is for communicating between the hosts. Hence, the attacker gains unauthorized access to the tunnel. Web Server Password Cracking Attacks -  In this attack, the attacker cracks the server password and uses it to perform more attacks. Some of the common password cracking tools are Hydra, John the Ripper, Hashcat, Aircrack, etc. Hacking Methodology Information Gathering Information Gathering is a process of gathering different information about the victim/target by using various platforms such as Social engineering, internet surfing, etc. Footprinting  Footprinting is a crucial phase where an attacker may use different tools to gather information about the target. In this phase, an attacker uses passive methods to find information about the victim before performing an attack. The attacker keeps minimum interactions with the victim to avoid detection and alerting the target of the attack. Footprinting can quickly reveal the vulnerabilities of the target system and can exploit them. There are various methods to gather information such as Whois, Google Searching, Operating system detection, network enumeration, etc.  Web Server Footprinting  In webserver footprinting, information is gathered using some specific tools that are focused on web servers such as Maltego,httprecon, Nessus, etc. resulting in details like operating system, running services, type, applications, etc. 1. Vulnerability Scanning -  Vulnerability scanning is the next process taken after performing footprinting to precisely target the attack . A vulnerability scanner is a computer program made to discover system weaknesses in computers and networks. Some methods used in vulnerability scanning are port scanning, OS detection, network services, etc. Common tools used for scanning are Nmap, Nikto, Nessus, and many more. Different Types of Vulnerability Scanning Vulnerability Scanning is classified into two types: unauthenticated and authenticated scans. Authenticated Scan: In this, the tester logs in as a network user and finds the vulnerabilities that a regular user can encounter. He also checks all the possible attacks by which a hacker can take benefit. Unauthenticated Scan: In this, the tester performs all the scans that a hacker would likely do, avoiding direct access to the network. These points can reveal how to get access to a network without signing in. 2. Session Hijacking -  Session Hijacking/ cookie hijacking is an exploitation of the web session. In this attack, the attacker takes over the users' sessions to gain unauthorized access to get information about its services. Session hijacking mostly applies to web applications and browser sessions.  The attacker needs to know the Session-Id (session key ) to perform session hijacking successfully. It can be obtained by stealing the session or just by clicking on some malicious links provided by the attacker. Once the attacker gets the key, he can take over the session using just the same session key, and the server will now treat the attacker's connection as the initial session.  3. Password Attacks -  Password cracking is a method of extracting passwords to gain authorized access to the legitimate user's target system. Password cracking can be performed using social engineering attack, dictionary attack, or password guessing or stealing the stored information that can help obtain passwords that give access to the system. Password Attacks are classified as: Non-Electronic Attack  Active Online Attack Passive Online Attack Default Passwords Offline Attack Defensive measures to Protect Webserver   For Securing a web server from internal and external attacks or any other threat, the essential recommendation is to keep it in a secure zone. Security devices like firewalls, IDS, and IPS must be deployed. Maintaining the servers in an isolated environment protects them from other threats.  Website Change Detection System is a technique used to detect any unexpected activity or changes in the Web server. Scripting is focused on inspecting any modifications made in the files used to detect hacking attempts.  To defend a web server from attack, do ensure that services on the web server are minimized. Disable all unnecessary and insecure ports. Always allow encrypted traffic only. Disable tracking. Continuously monitor your traffic to ensure there is no unauthorized activity. Use Port 443 HTTPS over 80 HTTP to secure web browser communication. Conclusion:In this article, we learnt about working of the web server, security issues, and hacking methodologies with various examples. As an ethical hacker it is important to know about the common web server attacks, and understand the use of best practices and defensive measures to protect web servers against any attack.
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How to Hack a Web Server?

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