Explain top 6 types of ethical hacking

Securing and Defending Digital Infrastructure: Essentials Concepts of Cybersecurity

Ethical hacking has emerged as an established route for businesses to test the capabilities of their network security systems and understand the level of robustness in the IT infrastructure. An organisation usually either sets up an internal team or outsources the task of ethical hacking to a set of professionals. The key task here is to understand the level of security in the IT infrastructure and identify the possible weaknesses for corrective action.

Ethical hacking is of various types. Each type of ethical hacking has its set of advantages and disadvantages. A business needs to have clarity about the various types of ethical hacking so that we can make the right decision about the future roadmap.

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking is a solution with which a business can test a computer system or network for possible threats and gaps. The role of ethical hacking is to ensure that a business has an IT infrastructure that is not prone to any hacking threats.

As businesses are stuck with the day-to-day operational requirements, they often end up ignoring the role of ethical hacking in maintaining the IT infrastructure. These tests are usually performed by skilled professionals without the intent to take advantage of the gaps. Rather, the intent here is to break into the system to help improve the level of security in the organisation.

Top 6 Types of Ethical Hacking

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Ethical hacking work requires a combination of skills, techniques, and methods to test the level of security in IT infrastructure. Here are the top 6 types of ethical hacking:

1.       Black box testing

In the case of black box testing, the ethical hacker does not have any prior information about the system and software being used. It is a use-case scenario where the ethical hacker is approaching it from the outside and trying to break in with brute force. Black box testing is known as one of the most practical instances of ethical hacking. As a hacker would try to exploit security loopholes to do damage, a similar scenario is created in this type of testing.

2.       White-box testing

In the case of white box testing, the ethical hacker is aware of the system, its working, possible weakness, and other related detail. It is usually performed in cases where companies want to test how their systems hold up against pressure in real-world scenarios. It helps a business identify how a system performs in a production environment where the actual attackers will try to exploit the possible vulnerabilities. Ethical hackers work closely with IT departments to ensure that they do not break any laws in the process. Code inspection, statement coverage, and data-flow analysis are some examples of white-box testing.

3.       Grey-box testing

Grey-box testing is placed between white and black-box testing. It is a scenario where ethical hackers have some level of information about the system. Professionals use technical knowledge along with deductive reasoning skills to identify possible loopholes in the IT security system and network. Some of the popular grey-box testing examples include security tests, performance tests, and usability tests.

4.       Web application hacking

Web application hacking is mainly used to assess the possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities in web-based applications. These applications are usually written in languages like HTML, Javascript, and CSS. In addition, other languages like PHP and Ruby on Rails can also be used to develop web applications. The nature of these languages is such that specific actions on an application or website can be performed without proper authorization. For instance, cross-site scripting (XSS) can include injecting malicious code into the HTML structure of the website. Web application hacking mainly includes protecting the developed application against such attempts.

5.       Hacking wireless networks

It is a type of ethical hacking where the strength of wireless networks is tested to ensure their safety. Accessing a computer network without proper authorization requires exploiting the weak points in the security system of the network. Wardriving is a common example in the case of hacking wireless networks. It is a type of hacking in which a hacker drives with a laptop or any other device that can catch wireless networks. Poorly protected networks are a key casualty in this type of hacking.

6.       Web server hacking

Any website or software requires a web server on the back end. This type of ethical hacking requires checking the strength of the web server. A server usually includes details of the database like user details, passwords, etc. DoS attacks, port scans, and Sniffing are the usual type of hacking that is used to attack web servers to gain access.

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