What is Ethical Hacking? A Beginner’s Guide
Hacking is usually perceived to be a harmful activity based on the fact that most hacking exploits that make the news are negative. Contrary to the image the media paints about hackers, there is also ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking is a term used to describe the process of identifying potential threats on a system by hacking it. The person who does this is called an ethical hacker.
Most importantly, ethical hackers seek to understand security problems that exist with technologies to prevent exploitation by malicious hackers.
This type of hacking takes different forms from system hacking, web application hacking, and web server hacking to hacking wireless networks, and social engineering.
Although ethical hackers do not have the same intention as malicious hackers, they still have to think like them. This thought process allows them to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by other hackers.
Your hacking activity is ethical if it follows these principles:
- Permission: Ethical hackers always seek authorization before conducting penetration tests.
- Respect for privacy: Ethical hackers respect the privacy of individuals on a platform and the company behind the platform.
- Ethical hackers close loopholes found during their test to prevent other hackers from taking advantage of them.
- Finally, ethical hacking requires you to inform software developers of the cracks you found in their code to help them improve their platform.
Ethical hackers usually check for changes in sensitive data, data breaches, and injection attacks.
How Can You Become An Ethical Hacker?
Anyone can become an ethical hacker, provided you have the required skills. Ethical hacking is a viable job in the information and communication sector.
To become an ethical hacker, you need to have programming knowledge, scripting knowledge, networking skills, database knowledge, and a professional level of proficiency in the use of various operating systems.
Famous Ethical Hackers
Rutkowska is a cybersecurity researcher from Poland. She has built an operating system called Qubes OS, which focuses on user security.
Her ethical hacking presentation in 2006 made her popular in hacking circles. She demonstrated the vulnerabilities in the Visa kernel during her presentation at the black hat briefing conference.
She went ahead to give more presentations on hardware security loopholes, including an attack that targeted Intel Systems. Joana Ruthkowska has become a significant feature at several cybersecurity conferences worldwide.
Popularly known as one of the few hackers to kill the myth that Apple devices are secure, Miller has been exposing vulnerabilities in Apple products since 2007.
In 2008, he won the Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver. Charles Miller was the first to locate a critical MacBook Air bug at the hackathon.
In addition, he also discovered a bug the following year connected to the Safari browser. He won $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for his ethical hacking exploits in those two years.
Phiber Optik, real name Mark Abene, is a famous ethical hacker who pioneered changing the perception of white hat hackers. Optik was a prolific hacker in the late 80s and 90s.
Moreover, he debated and defended the definite advantages of hacking as an essential tool for the ever-growing tech industry. Optik worked for UBS, First USA, KPMG, and American Express.
Check out the Top 10 Best Hacking Books for Ethical Hackers in 2020 to understand what it takes to become an ethical hacker.