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Fight cyberattacks with ethical hacking

Fight cyberattacks with ethical hacking

Dr. Fleischmann, What is an Ethical Hacker?

Ethical hackers perform security assessments. Through their proactive work, they help improve the company’s security posture.

What are the basic concepts of ethical hacking?

Staying Legal: Ethical hackers always get proper approval from the offending company before accessing and conducting a security assessment.

• Scoping: Ethical hackers work with management to define the scope of their activities so that the business remains within the approved limits of the company.

• Report vulnerabilities: Ethical hackers notify the company of any vulnerabilities discovered during the evaluation and provide in-depth advice on how to fix them.

• Respect data sensitivity: Depending on the sensitivity of the data, ethical hackers agree to a non-disclosure agreement if necessary, as well as any other terms required by the site being evaluated.

How does the work of ethical hackers differ from criminal hackers in detail?

Ethical hackers use their knowledge to secure and improve organizations’ technology. They perform an important service for these organizations by searching for vulnerabilities that could lead to a security breach.

On the other hand, criminal hackers intend to gain unauthorized access to a resource for financial gain or personal recognition. The methods used and the vulnerabilities found usually remain undetected.

What problems does ethical hacking expose?

When evaluating the security of an organization’s IT resources, ethical hacking aims to pirate attack tradition. Attack vectors are searched for the target. The initial goal is exploration to gather as much information as possible. Once the ethical hacker gathers enough information, he uses it to search for weaknesses in the object. Then it performs a hacking attack, usually using a combination of automated and manual techniques. Even sophisticated security systems can be overcome, provided they contain the appropriate vulnerabilities.

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So an ethical hacker not only exposes vulnerabilities, but also targets them to demonstrate how a malicious attacker can exploit them. Some of the most common vulnerabilities that ethical hackers have discovered are:

• Bad authentication

• Incorrect security configurations

• Use components with known vulnerabilities

• Disclosure of sensitive information

After the testing phase, a detailed report is generated. This documentation includes steps for resolving detected vulnerabilities and suggested actions to fix or mitigate them.

Where is ethical hacking practiced?

Ethical hackers are usually employed by public organizations, governments, and companies of all kinds to look for security weaknesses and programming errors (bugs). They often use the expertise of professionals in so-called penetration testing.

A distinction is often made between penetration tests for IT infrastructures and web applications. Previously, for example, server systems, Wi-Fi networks, VPN access and firewalls are tested and analyzed. In the field of web applications, experts examine, among other things, network services, websites, online stores, customer management portals, server monitoring systems and services. Penetration testing can refer to the network and application layer in this regard.

Ethical Hacks’ concrete routine tests include discovering open ports using port scans, verifying the security of credit card data, logins and passwords, and simulating hacker attacks on an entire network. Since the TCP/IP protocol is usually used for this purpose, these tests are also called “IP-based penetration tests”. Systems are checked frequently to see if smuggled viruses and/or Trojans can steal sensitive corporate data. These strategies can be complemented by social engineering techniques that take into account the human risk factor and explicitly examine employee behavior as part of the security concept.

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Various standards have been established for penetration tests. Internationally, the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Guide (OSSTMM) is one of the well-known standards for security tests.

What is the “status quo” of ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking has now established itself around the world. The hacker simulates the other side, so to speak, and thus can detect vulnerabilities that often fall through vulnerabilities with regular security tests. As a result of the rise in cybercrime, the importance of these countermeasures is increasing.

About Dr. Ewan Fleischman

Dr. Ewan Fleischman is the founder and head of Offensive Security at IT Security Specialist Redlings. As an information security expert, he has over 10 years of experience in all areas of IT security, including penetration testing and the red team.