Cybersecurity is an integral part of IT technology; so to adequately establish defense system in the cyber world. Ethical hacking is one of the skills to acquire while being in cybersecurity. Ethical hacking teaches you to identify vulnerabilities, look for loopholes, and focus on knowledge-driven for the organization betterment. Following are five phases of pen testing or ethical hacking as a primary step in the process of penetration test:
1.Reconnaissance: The first phase is laying the groundwork to gather as much as information of the target. The act of the gathering preliminary data which is the longest phase can be performed actively by directly attaining the target or passively by going through a middleman for the information. The information includes identifying a target, finding IP address, range, DNS records, network, etc. These all information can be easily retrieved from internet sources, employees which are easily tricked into providing information here and there. Tactics such as social engineering, internet exploration, non-intrusive network scanning, etc. are widely used by the black hat hackers to learn about the target.
With proper management in safeguarding information such as leaking data which includes- names, email id, and position of the valuable personnel, software versions, direct contact information, etc.
2. Scanning- after the groundwork with enough information to attack the valuable business, the hacker will look for loopholes such as open ports, open services, vulnerabilities, weak protection, dummy model of the LAN/WAN equipment. Some of the following steps can prevent such sneaking around such as scanning the perimeter and internal devices, updating the system periodically.
Information from the previous step of reconnaissance will prepare the hacker to seek information such as IP address, computer names, user account details, etc.
3. Gaining access– This step is to extract information which is valuable to the hacker and can use against the target. The hacker must have some leverage or have gained access to the servers or the network devices. Vulnerabilities discovered during previous both the phases, the real hacking happens here. The hacker exploits the connection, scan and retrieves the data required.
To avoid all this, defensive steps such as IT security manager should make genuine efforts to encrypt the end user devices. Also, two-step identification code can be helpful too.
4. Maintaining access– once the access is gained, it’s the maintenance which is the goal for the hacker. Since it can be useful for future attacks. The hacker can either extract information or freeze the system by controlling the network system and ask ransom to release, or just sneak the virus in the system. The hacker will be cautious as not to get caught; in order to not lose any control over the access gained and data information.
5. Covering tracks- The hacker will cover the tracks to avoid detection or finding out evidence which may turn into legal action. The hacker will clean out the traces of the attack such as log files, unauthorized intrusions, etc. This phase is putting back things as they were before the attack so that there is no suspicion to the host.
The article is to alert you about the hacker’s game plan, strictly educational purposes, not to be followed on.
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