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Phases of Hacking and How one can pursue a certification in Ethical Hacking

Introduction to Ethical Hacking Since the world of cybercrime continues to evolve, ethical hacking has become a savior. As cybercrime continues to rise across organizations, across industries, and around the world, ethical hacking provides companies with solutions to combat this ever-growing problem. Organizations must work with ethical hackers to upgrade their cybersecurity measures and safeguard their data to prevent breaches from occurring. Information technology conditions are so poor that organizations often don't realize a breach has occurred for up to six months.It has been said that every 39 seconds, a cyber attack takes place, and age-old security systems are unable to deal with this flood of attacks. Organizations need top-notch security measures to combat the sheer volume and number of attacks that take place on a daily basis.The best way to guard businesses from this problem is to update and upgrade IT security systems on a regular basis. Different Phases of Ethical Hacking Hackers who are ethical are hired by organizations to simulate real cyberattacks on their systems and networks. They work in phases and take a lot of time and skill to find all the vulnerabilities and exploit them fully.Using this simulated attack, you can identify all the weak spots within the organization and work towards strengthening them. Following are the phases of ethical hacking;

Reconnaissance A hacker gathers information about a target by using this phase, also called fingerprinting and information gathering. It is during this stage that hacker gathers valuable information, such as old passwords and names of important employees. Footprinting is a means of collecting data related to a target computer. These data include important information such as: Finding specific IP addresses TCP and UDP services Identifying vulnerabilities Having such information is enough to launch a successful attack. To gather information about the target, a hacker can use sources such as social media, public web sites or others : Active: Attempting to directly interact with the target in order to gather data. Passive: Trying to collect the data without directly interacting with the target. By looking at a website using a search engine like maltego, searching for jobs or job titles on the target website, or downloading the entire website using a tool like HTTPTrack, the hacker will be able to find the following information : employees names, email addresses, DOB, sometimes owners information too, etc. Scanning It is likely that hackers are trying to gather any information that can help them carry out attacks, such as computer names, IP addresses, and user accounts. As a matter of fact, hackers identify a quick method for gaining access to a network and looking for information. Utilizing tools such as dialers, port scanners, network mappers, sweepers and vulnerability scanners allows data to be scanned in this phase. Here, the ethical hacker identifies potential attack surfaces on networks and machines. Through automated scanning tools, all machines, users, and services in the network can be gathered. Three types of scanning are typically performed during penetration testing : 1) Network Testing In this step, the network topology is analyzed, including host information, servers, routers, and firewalls in the host network. As the process of ethical hacking is mapped out, white hat hackers can strategize. 2) Port Scanning Automated tools are used by ethical hackers to identify any open ports on a network. As these systems operate in real time, it becomes a useful mechanism for enumerating services and establishing connections among them. 3) Vulnerability Scanning Automated tools are used to identify weaknesses that can be exploited for attacks.

Here are a few popular ethical hacking tools commonly used during the scanning phase:

  • Acunetix

  • Nessus

  • Nikto

  • Uniscan

  • Skipfish

Gaining Access Following the first and second hacking phases, ethical hackers then attempt to exploit those vulnerabilities to gain administrative access. It includes sending a malicious payload to the application through the network, an adjacent subnetwork, or physically using a connected computer. Hackers typically use a number of hacking tools and techniques to simulate attempted unauthorized access, including:

  • Buffer overflows

  • Phishing

  • Injection attacks

  • XML External Entity processing

  • Using components with known vulnerabilities and so on...

If the hacker succeeds, he or she has control over the entire system, causing him or her to simulate additional attacks such as data breaches and Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDOS). Maintaining Access Hackers use the fourth phase of the ethical hacking process to ensure they can access the application in the future. White-hat hackers continually exploit the system to find new vulnerabilities and escalate their privileges to learn how much control they can gain once they pass security clearance. The attacker may also remove evidence of an attack and install a backdoor to get access to the system later on to hide their identity. Clearing the Tracks The goal of every thief is to avoid getting caught. Intelligent hackers always make sure the evidence is clear so that later, no one will be able to find any traces indicating his involvement. To achieve this, we need to modify/corrupt/delete the values of Logs, modify registry values, uninstall all applications he used, and delete all folders he created. How can you pursue a certification in Ethical Hacking Consider getting certified in ethical hacking if you are well versed in the OSI model and are well versed with computer security, networking, and programming. Evaluate cybersecurity certifications to choose the one that best suits your needs. Please leave any questions you may have regarding ethical hacking in the comments section. If you want to learn Ethical Hacking visit : -By Rahul Siraskar CyberBugs

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