What are the Different Phases of Ethical Hacking in Cybersecurity?


With technology playing an increasingly crucial role in businesses globally, the need to safeguard business-critical applications and their underlying tech stack has become more significant. In 2022, internet users worldwide discovered over 25 thousand new common IT security vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs), the highest reported annual figure to date. The number of detected CVEs has significantly increased in the past decade.

As the threat landscape evolves, relying solely on automated tools to detect real-time vulnerabilities can be impractical. To address this challenge, ethical hacking has emerged as a highly effective approach in simulating real-world attacks and pinpointing potential weaknesses. IT Support Anaheim experts specializes in protecting businesses from ethical hackers.

This article explores ethical hacking, the different types of ethical hacking, and the five stages of the ethical hacking process.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is the process of identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. It can be done with the owner’s permission and aims to improve security measures. Ethical hackers use various techniques to assess a system’s security posture, including scanning for vulnerabilities, exploiting them to gain unauthorized access, and documenting their findings.

Ethical hacking aims to identify weaknesses before they can be controlled by hackers and help organizations strengthen their security defenses. By conducting regular ethical hacking assessments, businesses can stay one step ahead of potential cyber threats and protect their sensitive information from unauthorized access or data breaches.

4 Different Types of Ethical Hacking

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a psychological approach used by ethical hackers to exploit human behavior rather than technical vulnerabilities. This hacking involves manipulating individuals into divulging sensitive information or granting unauthorized access to systems. Ethical hackers use social engineering techniques, such as pretexting, phishing, and tailgating, to evaluate an organization’s resilience to human-driven attacks.

System Hacking

System hacking involves compromising computer software to gain unauthorized access to a targeted computer and steal sensitive data. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities within a computer system to obtain information and take unfair advantage. System hacking aims to gain access, elevate privileges, and conceal files.

Web Server Hacking

An application database server plays a crucial role in generating real-time web information. However, attackers employ various techniques, including Gluing, ping deluge, sniffing attacks, and social engineering, to illicitly obtain passcodes, and sensitive company data from the web application.

Web Application Hacking

Web application hacking involves exploiting security vulnerabilities or weaknesses in web-based applications. These applications are usually coded in languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby on Rails. The unique nature of these languages and how web browsers interpret them allows unauthorized individuals to perform specific actions on a website.

5 Phases of Ethical Hacking

  • Scanning Phase

The scanning phase is crucial in ethical hacking and cyber security, as it involves gathering information about the target system or network. During this phase, the ethical hacker will use various tools and techniques to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the system’s security defenses.

This may include conducting port scanning to identify open ports and services, performing network mapping to create a blueprint of the target environment, and using vulnerability scanning tools to detect known security flaws. By thoroughly scanning the target system, ethical hackers can gain valuable insights into its weaknesses and develop an effective penetration testing and vulnerability remediation strategy.

  • Gaining Access Phase

Gaining access is one of the phases of ethical hacking in cybersecurity. During this phase, the ethical hacker attempts to gain unauthorized access to the target system or network. This is done through various methods, such as exploiting vulnerabilities, using social engineering techniques, or brute-forcing passwords.

The motive of this phase is to identify any weaknesses or vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious hackers and provide recommendations for improving security. It is important to note that ethical hackers always obtain proper authorization before attempting to gain access and follow strict guidelines to ensure that their actions do not cause any harm or damage to the target system or network.

  • Maintaining Access Phase

In ethical hacking, it is vital to maintain access to the target system to gather more information effectively and continue exploring. Once initial access has been gained; the hacker will work to establish a persistent presence on the system, ensuring that they can maintain access even if their initial entry point is discovered and closed off.

This may involve creating backdoors or installing remote access tools that allow them to bypass security measures and continue accessing the system remotely. The goal of maintaining access is to gather as much information as possible without being detected, allowing for a thorough assessment of the system’s vulnerabilities and potential areas for improvement.

  • Enumeration Phases

When it comes to cybersecurity, the enumeration phase is an essential step to consider in the ethical hacking process. During this phase, the ethical hacker gathers information about the target system or network to identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses. This involves actively probing the target, using various tools and techniques to collect data such as IP addresses, open ports, network shares, user accounts, etc.

Enumeration is a crucial step in the ethical hacking process as it allows the ethical hackers to gather extensive information about the target. This information serves as a foundation for the subsequent phases, including vulnerability assessment and exploitation. It is essential for ethical hackers to approach this phase with utmost care and responsibility, adhering strictly to legal and ethical guidelines.

  • Vulnerability Analysis

Vulnerability analysis is an essential phase in the ethical hacking process that helps identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities within a system or network. During this phase, ethical hackers utilize various tools and techniques to assess the security posture of the target environment.

This typically includes conducting vulnerability scans, penetration testing, and analyzing system configurations to uncover potential vulnerabilities malicious actors could exploit. By identifying these weaknesses, organizations can take proactive measures to patch or mitigate them before they are used, thereby enhancing their overall cybersecurity defenses.

Summing Up

Ethical hacking plays a crucial role in cybersecurity by proactively identifying and addressing vulnerabilities within a system. It prevents hackers from exploiting these weaknesses for malicious purposes. The ultimate objective of ethical hacking is to safeguard the security of a system and ensure it remains uncompromised.

Discover the world of hacking by exploring various types of ethical hacking with real-life examples. Enhance your understanding of different hacking techniques and concepts to safeguard your business.

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