Ethical Hacking

Due to growing of IT hacking activity worldwide, people are becoming more and more concerned about their security system failures. Throughout your business or everyday life you probably came across with such issues as hacking, system security, data protection etc. The ‘cancer’ of modern technology, hacking, is having rapid development and expanding its targets absorbing business, state and other confidential systems. If you are running a business which deals with huge amount of data and networking then you should really care about your systems’ security and protection…

But is it possible to ensure system security in this age of technology and networks?
The answer is ‘Yes’ and we will find out how it works.

Anatomy of Hack
When protecting against hacking it is essential to understand precisely its anatomy and the phases it passes from preparing the attack to gaining access. Usually hack passes this type of activity cycle.

1. Reconnaissance: trespasser or attacker gathers information on potential target and plans his attack.
This may be complemented with either passive or active reconnaissance.

a. On Active Reconnaissance phase attacker carefully probes the network structure with an objective of finding open hosts and ports, routers, operating systems.
b. Passive Reconnaissance assumes monitoring and scanning of system data or operating system components to identify available parts for hacking.

2. Scanning: this is the scanning of the target system to detect its vulnerable points for access. This kind of exploit points can be found in different parts of the system like open ports, software and hosting systems.

3. Access or Attack: at this phase attacker is gaining access to the targeted system and launches their attack. Hacking can have different forms and affects; system and servers hacking, passwords cracking, viruses and worms, cryptography, sniffers, manipulating of log files, service denials or termination, protocol attacks etc.

Most hackers are inclined to maintain access of the system and periodically attack it. If the system is not protected and monitored properly they succeed mostly. In such cases damage and data loss cannot be measured and reverted.

The White Hat Concept
The process of monitoring, testing and securing of IT systems is called Ethical Hacking or White Hat (also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing, red teaming).

Ethical hackers or white hat hackers specialize in scanning, securing and protecting systems and networks. They are penetration testers who deploy various testing techniques and tools, to uncover system security vulnerabilities and protect them from external intrusion.

Ethical hacking assumes not only scanning and securing systems. It also handles the task of exploring different aspects of hacking and engagement of effective methodologies.
a. Detection of vulnerable parts in the system
b. Defining level and extent of the usage of accessed information
c. Catching potential threats and preventing them successfully
d. Capability of tracking any attempts of external access to system

Identify your security priorities
Actual needs bring in new problems and require optimal solutions. The more a company expands the more it requires utmost attention for IT system and network security.

Before you hire any ethical hacker service you should first distinctly identify security priorities for your system or network. You may need to review your company’s privacy policy or business requirements to understand what to protect and when, thus revealing your system security cases.

Mostly, when possible to identify possible direction or sources of danger, planning and implementation of penetration testing will be more effective.

Time to ‘eth-hack’!
Today they are many companies and experts who provide ethical hacking services. Except reviewing their experience and portfolio you should also do some research on methodologies and tools they utilize for ethical hacking. While getting acquainted to some new software you may find some of them comprehensive or useless for you.

Furthermore, some of them provide user-friendly features and GUIs so that one could find them handy for personal use. If you find one actually you will save your time and money planned for testing your system security.

Many companies focus on reviewing and rating of software and applications available in market. Rating is provided through such factors as features, user-friendliness, performance, support, value for money etc. So if you are interested in deploying effective software and tools for your IT security you should have closer a look at some popular ratings by authoritative reviewers.

Originally posted at Network Security Magazine

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