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The Growing Need for Information Security Specialists

The need for information security specialists with real network penetration assessment and ethical hackers’ expertise is growing as cyber-attacks become more common.

Many ethical hacker’s courses promise to teach these abilities, but only a small number of them are genuinely effective [1]. We will be fully prepared to execute effective vulnerability scanning and penetration testers projects if we take Penetration Tests Testing as well as Ethical Hacking classes. Following a thorough introduction to appropriate planning, planning, and reconnaissance, the course delves into scanners, target penetration, password assaults, as well as wireless and online applications, with full hands-on activities and recommendations for future for doing the work safely and efficiently in the field.

Computer security has become more important as the internet has grown in popularity among businesses and governments. Digital economy, marketing, and database access are among the many applications that these firms use to do business on the Internet. System and information security, on the other hand, is a critical problem that needs to be addressed. Credit card details, contact information, names and addresses, banking details, and other private information that is accessible on the internet may readily be stolen by criminals.

Hacking as a term was introduced in the year 1970s but it was in the next decade that it became more popular [5]. The prominence of information technologies and growing reliance on technological infrastructures became the reason considering hacking on a serious note. It is a fact that with every passing day the events of cyber attacks are on the rise and thus there is a requirement for having ethical hackers hired who can inform the organizations on the sources of vulnerability [4]. Once they get to know the sources of vulnerability, mitigation strategies can be implemented or necessary steps taken. Thus, the growing significance of ethical hacking can be attributed to the increase in hacking incidents.

Hacking and penetration testing are preventive measures that include using a series of authorized tools to start exploiting security flaws in a company's infrastructure. It employs similar or slightly similar approaches used by malevolent hackers to target critical weaknesses in a security and compliance system, which may subsequently be neutralized and closed after the vulnerability has been identified [2].

Ethical hackers are generally hired before any new system goes live and organizations provide bounty scheme. There is often a financial reward kept for the ethical hackers who are efficient enough to find out a system’s flaw. Here in this context penetration testing is taken to be as specific type of ethical hacking that includes hiring a certified professional for assessing the strengths of an existing system [1]. Generally, the pen testers are provided with the privileged information and make use of it to find out the exploitable flaws. There is a need to understand that the difference between the two terms of ethical and unethical hacking is that in the former consent is something that matter the most. In this context the hacker needs to have all the authority to act and a specific organization must hold required permission from the customer’s side to provide confidential data. There are some best ways to keep parties safe when going for ethical hacking [2]. This can be signing of legal agreement that meets conditions such as a statement of work (SOW), NDA, total transparency and liability release form.

Effective Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking Courses

In other terms, ethical hacking may be characterized as reaching through the entrance rather than grabbing the door.  These tests indicate how easily a company's security measures may be breached, and how simple it is for hackers to get access towards the organization's secret and sensitive personal information.

Consequently, penetration testing is an effective weapon that, when utilised appropriately, may aid CA experts in better understanding an organisation ’s information technology and strategies, as well as in increasing the degree of assurance and the effectiveness of IS audits.

Based on the style of the Hat, hacking might fall into one of three subcategories. As shown in traditional westerns, the warrior's hat became "White" as well as the villain's cap was "Black," as well as the name Hat was coined. The intention to injure is lower when the object is a lighter shade of grey. Black Hooded Cloak An approved and compensated hacker is someone who has noble intentions and a solid moral standing. The term "IT Professionals" is also used to describe them. They are responsible for preventing crackers from infiltrating the Internet, companies, and internet technology. In certain cases, organisations hire IT experts to hack into their own workstations and servers in order to evaluate their security. For the company's gain they hack.

For the purpose of evaluating the robustness of their very own security measures, the group deliberately violates the rules of the game. Ethical hackers, or white hat hackers, are other names for white hat hackers. Black Hat Hackers, in opposition to White Hats, aim to cause damage to computers and networks. Their goal is to injure or destroy data by breaking into the system in order to render it useless. They vandalize websites, steal information, and violate security protocols to do so. To obtain access to the illegal system or a network, they use brute force to decipher the programmes and credentials. Such actions are motivated by self-interest, such as monetary gain. In addition to "Crackers," they're also characterized as "Computer Attackers."

Grey phishing is another kind of hacking in addition to white hat nor black hat. Just like in inversion, in which the abstract methods gain characteristics both from the base and descendant classes, a grey-hat hackers gains both the basic and descendant class characteristics. It is they that possess a code of ethics. In order to alert the network administrator to security flaws and the possibility of a hack, a Grey Hat Hackers obtains data and breaks into a computer network to breach security. Then they can provide the solution themselves.

They are ethical and improper; thus, they are prone to acting in a bad manner at sometimes.  Antivirus software may be breached by a Gray Hat, which might be used to exploit and deface the system. It's common for them to make modifications to existing programmes that can be fixed. After a period of time, it is the employees themselves that alert the company's administration to security flaws.

There are various phases in the ethical hacking approach that ethical hackers use to uncover these vulnerabilities. This includes investigation, screening, getting access to a target system, maintaining connection, and clearing the trail of the hack. Step-by-step instructions for a more effective hacking strategy may be found in this guide [3]. A deeper look at the hacking stages will reveal more of their potential.

The Importance of Information and System Security

Reconnaissance

Before doing any real penetration testing, attackers leave a trail and collect as much data as possible about the systems. Reconnaissance is a first step in which the hacker records the requests of the company, obtains important system design and usernames and passwords and explores the networks [13]. This phase is also referred to as Footprinting as much of the information collection or rather all of the information collection is done in this phase. Some of the data that is generally included in this data collection are IP addresses, TCP and UDP services, identification of the vulnerabilities and more. Footprinting is of two distinct types that are active and passive. Active Footprinting means directly interacting with the target and thereafter collecting the information about the target [13]. While on the other hand, passive means putting in efforts to gather information about the target without accessing the target in a direct way. Here the hackers make use of social media, public websites and so on.

Scanning

At this point, the ethical hacker starts looking for vulnerabilities in networks and computers. Automated scanning technologies are used to acquire information on all network computers, users, and applications. In this phase, the hackers tend to find a quick way for gaining access to the network and find out the information. This is the phase where tools such as dialers, network mappers, vulnerability scanners, port scanners are to be used. Three kinds of scans are often used in ethical hacking:

Creating a network model

You have to find out all there is to know about your host network in order to do this. White hat attackers can see and plan out the future phases of the vulnerability scanning process after they have mapped out the current situation [4].

Scanners at the Port

To find out whether a network has any port numbers, ethical hackers employ automated tools. If you're looking for a quick method of identifying what's available in a system, then this is a good option.

Gaining Access

As soon as cybersecurity professionals have discovered vulnerabilities during the first and second cracking steps of the process, they attempt to exploit flaws in order to get administrator access. The third step is trying to transfer a malicious program to the program across the system, an adjoining subnetwork, or directly by utilizing a machine that is physically linked [5]. Here the hacker gains access to the system or the network and goes on to escalate user privileges to control the systems that are connected to it [5]. Thus, it can be understood that when a specific system is hacked, the other systems that are related to it also get affected.

Maintaining Access

A hacker must be able to access the programme in the future in order to complete penetration testing. In order to learn how much power an attacker can wield after they've been beyond access to classified information, a white-hat hacker regularly probes the system for new flaws and raises their level of privilege [10]. This is the stage where the hacker succeeds to get access to the organization’s networks and exploits the vulnerabilities of the system [10]. Thereafter, additional attacks on these systems or networks are launched.

History of Hacking: From the 1970s to Present Day

Cover Tracks

Hackers undertake procedures designed to remove any evidence of their destructive behaviour in order to prevent it from being traced back to them. Script removal, log cleaning, and folder deletion are all on the list [6]. This is the most important step as it involves covering tracks. Doing so helps the hacker to escape the security personnel. Clearing of cache and cookies, tampering log files and lastly closing ports are some of the important tasks done to cover the tracks [6].

Strategy for external testing - When we talk about external testing, we're talking about network assaults from outside the organisation ’s activities, such the Internet or Computer - to - computer, on the perimeter of that infected system. Whether or whether the environment in issue is made public is up to the tester [7]. After enumerating the industry's outwardly visible services and equipment, including the dns server, personal server, Web host, or firewalls, the test often starts with knowledge that can be made available to the public about just the client.

Internally testing plan- Internally testing is carried out inside the company's own technical infrastructure. If an employees or visitor with normal access rights attacks the network infrastructure, this test duplicates that attack [14]. The goal is to comprehend what may happened if the networks boundary was breached or what an authorized user could do to get access to specified network resources.

Both forms of testing use identical methods, yet the outcomes might differ substantially.

Strategy for testing inside the darkness - Using a blind testing technique, a hacker's tactics and processes are simulated for testing purposes [15]. Prior to executing the test, the screening team is given just a little amount of knowledge about the target company. Publicly accessible information (including a company's Web site, domain registration registrar and other sites of information) is used by the vulnerability testing team to obtain relevant data [11]. There are a number of benefits to doing blind vulnerability scanning, including the discovery of new Internet entry points, directly linked networks, publicly accessible sensitive material, and so on. However, the testing team must put in more time and money to learn about the objective.

Doing double blind testing is a smart option - Adding the double check is an expansion of the oblivious method. Organizational IT and security professionals are not alerted or aware of the scheduled testing activities in just this operation, and they are "blind" to them. This kind of testing is critical since it may test the institution's video surveillance and incidents identification, escalation/response processes [8]. As stated in the test's purpose, only a few individuals in the company are aware of something like the assessment. Just the program manager is responsible for ensuring that the testing processes and the institution's incident management procedures may be stopped when the goals of the test are met [12].

Selective testing- Penetration testers and internal IT staff work together to conduct the targeted assessment, or the "lighting on" technique, as it is more often known. The aim and the network architecture are well understood, as are the testing operations. Focusing on the channel's architecture, rather than the institution's incident management and other operating procedures, could be an expedient and expense way to conduct a targeted test [9]. This kind of test may be completed in less work and exertion, but it does not offer as detailed a snapshot of an institution's security weaknesses and emergency preparedness. Each vulnerability scanner must have their very own approach established and ready to deliver to the customer for maximum efficacy and efficiency.

Role of Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking in Preventing Vulnerabilities

There are many security benefits of penetration testing that are as given below:

Real-world experience: The experience that is gained in penetration testing can be proved to be invaluable when responding to practical security incident. Here the comparison can be made with the tests that are generally conducted to assess the organization’s level of disaster preparedness.

Sealing of security holes: A thorough penetration test will expose any existing weaknesses or flaws present in the network of the organization. This in turn will help address the security breaches [15]. The security prowess can be strengthened with the use of penetration testing.

Improving business continuity: If a business encounters more downtime, there will be greater impact on the operations and the bottom line. In this case, proper pen testing can highlight the potential threats to business continuity and also help ensure the maximum uptime.

Maintaining compliance: Penetration testing can be said to be a legal requirement in some specific industries [16]. If it is made sure that these tests are done properly, the organizations will be able to avoid the hefty penalties.

Complementing enterprise security: Penetrating testing can be taken to be as a potent tool of security. When this is combined with security policies, threat intelligence processes and more, this can play a vital role in adding weightage to the defenses.

Conclusion

Hacking offers both advantages and disadvantages, as well as rewards and hazards. Hackers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They have the potential to bankrupt a corporation or to secure the data, therefore boosting the firm's income. The conflict between unethical or white fraudsters and malevolent is a long-running conflict that has no clear resolution in sight. In contrast to ethical hackers, who assist firms in understanding their security requirements, malevolent hackers’ trespass into networks without permission and cause damage for their own personal gain. A Networking security is critical in order to guarantee that the industry's information is properly safeguarded and secure. Ethical and innovative hacking are important in network security. Meanwhile, it enables the organisation to discover, and afterwards implement corrective actions to close any flaws in their security system that might allow a malevolent hacker to get access. They assist firms in identifying and resolving current and future hidden issues in company computers and internal networks.

Furthermore, according to the study's findings, the legitimate customers are morally acceptable hackers, at least until their intentions are clearly understood; otherwise, they pose a significant threat as they have direct connections to just about every portion of knowledge held by the organisation, as opposed to total as well as semi outcasts. This also leads to the conclusion that stealing is a significant component of the computer industry. It focuses with the positive and negative aspects of being nice and evil. Penetration testing is critical in the preservation and preservation of a large amount of sensitive information, but malevolent hacking has the potential to destroy anything [16]. All of this is dependent on the scammer's intentions. Because the human brain can indeed be mastered, it is almost difficult to bridge the gap separating ethical and malevolent hacking. Thus, from all the discussion done it can be said that penetration testing is not just an efficient but is also a cost-effective strategy that protects the organization against attacks. If this is done in a proper way, it will aid the organization to figure out the various internal practices that give rise to vulnerabilities along with other sources of vulnerabilities as well. Most important fact is that a penetration team need to be selected [12]. They have to be given the responsibility of leading the penetration test. Again, this has to be accepted that penetration testing cannot highlight all of the security vulnerabilities as it is just one aspect of testing. Therefore, organization are required to come up with overall security testing strategy that has to be tailored to its threat models and security policies. Thus, with the effective implementation of ethical hacking the sources of vulnerability that are identified can be worked upon timely. This will mean that the organization will be prepared for incidents of security breach having proper knowledge about the sources of vulnerability. Ethical hacking is much significant in the present times with growing number of data breaches.  However, security measures may be increased to close the gap. 

References 

  • Pradeep, I., and G. Sakthivel. "Ethical hacking and penetration testing for securing us form Hackers." In Journal of Physics: Conference Series, vol. 1831, no. 1, p. 012004. IOP Publishing, 2021.
  • Khokhar, Umar Mujahid, and Binh Tran. "Fundamentals of Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing." In Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIG Conference on Information Technology Education, pp. 149-150. 2019.
  • Meghana, K. R. "Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Using A mini computer." (2019).
  • Nicholson, Scott. "How ethical hacking can protect organisations from a greater threat." Computer Fraud & Security2019, no. 5 (2019): 15-19.
  • Devi, R. Sri, and M. Mohan Kumar. "Testing for security weakness of web applications using ethical hacking." In 2020 4th International Conference on Trends in Electronics and Informatics (ICOEI)(48184), pp. 354-361. IEEE, 2020.
  • Sahu, Prabhat Kumar, and Biswamohan Acharya. "A REVIEW PAPER ON ETHICAL HACKING." Technology11, no. 12 (2020): 163-168.
  • Hamra, Sam. "Ethical hacking: Threat modeling and penetration testing a remote terminal unit." (2020).
  • Chukhleb, M. V. "Ethical hacking." ???? ? ????? ???????????????? ????????????.—????????????, 2021(2021): 624-629.
  • Metso, Janne. "Penetration Testing: Ethical Hacking." (2019).
  • Wallingford, Jason, Mihika Peshwa, and Douglas Kelly. "Towards understanding the value of ethical hacking." In International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, pp. 639-XIV. Academic Conferences International Limited, 2019.
  • Saha, Sanchita, Abhijeet Das, Ashwini Kumar, Dhiman Biswas, and Subindu Saha. "Ethical hacking: redefining security in information system." In International Ethical Hacking Conference, pp. 203-218. Springer, Singapore, 2019.
  • Hawamleh, A. M. A., Almuhannad Sulaiman M. Alorfi, Jassim Ahmad Al-Gasawneh, and Ghada Al-Rawashdeh. "Cyber security and ethical hacking: The importance of protecting user data." Solid State Technology63, no. 5 (2020): 7894-7899.
  • ?isar, P., and S. Maravi? ?isar. "Ethical hacking of wireless networks in kali linux environment." Annals of the Faculty of Engineering Hunedoara16, no. 3 (2018): 181-186.
  • Rani, Seema, and Ritu Nagpal. "Penetration testing using metasploit framework: An ethical approach."  Res. J. Eng. Technol6, no. 8 (2019): 538-542.
  • Abbott, J., 2019. Utilizing the Raspberry Pi Platform for Hacking and Penetration Testing(Doctoral dissertation, Mercy College).
  • Conteh, Nabie Y. "Ethical Hacking, Threats, and Vulnerabilities in Cybersecurity." In Ethical Hacking Techniques and Countermeasures for Cybercrime Prevention, pp. 1-18. IGI Global, 2021.
  • Ushmani. Ethical Hacking. International Journal of Information Technology (IJIT), 4(6). 2018. 
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