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Essential Ethical Hacking Terminologies

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Hacking is the act of gaining unauthorized access to data on a system or computer. However, the term “hacking” has two meanings. The first term relates to computer work as a pastime or a job. The second term relates to changing the creator’s original purpose by modifying computer hardware or software.

It’s also known as the practice of abusing computers to get access to information that would otherwise be restricted. Now that the world relies on IT systems to acquire, store, and alter critical data, it’s more vital than ever to ensure that data is safe. No system, however, is without flaws. Security systems frequently have flaws that, if exploited, allow hackers to get access to information that would otherwise be prohibited.

A hacker is someone who seeks for and exploits flaws in computer systems and networks in order to gain access to them. They are typically knowledgeable in computer programming and security.

Ethical Hacking’s Significance

Cybercriminals are the most serious risks to any business or government entity in today’s digital age. As more businesses enter the e-commerce ecosystem and adopt new technologies such as cloud computing, the potential of impending security breaches has become more apparent, necessitating the implementation of effective information security solutions.

Financial institutions may experience a loss of business as a result of hacking. Ethical hacking allows them to stay one step ahead of cyber thieves, who would otherwise cause them to lose money.

Application testing, remote or war calling, local network testing, wireless security, system hardening, social engineering, and other services are all part of ethical hacking.

Hacker Definition

Hackers have existed for a long time. We’ve been hearing more and more about hacking since computers and the Internet became extensively utilised throughout the world.

The term hacker has two meanings, similar to how the phrase hacking has two meanings:

A hacker is someone who enjoys tinkering with software or electronic systems. They like investigating and learning about computer systems.

A hacker has recently gained a new definition as someone who exploits flaws in computers and computer networks, however the phrase may also apply to someone who has a thorough grasp of computers and computer networks.

Hackers are those who attempt to obtain unauthorised access to your computer.

Classification of Hackers

Hackers are categorised based on their motivation and nature of work. The following list will help you comprehend the many sorts of hackers.

Hacker with a white hat

A computer security professional that specialises in penetration testing and other testing techniques to assure the security of an organization’s information systems is known as a white hat hacker. Ethical hackers are another name for them. White hat hackers, in general, are the nice folks in the hacking industry.

IBM invented the phrase “ethical hacking” to refer to a larger area than just penetration testing.

Hacker with a black hat

A black hat hacker is a person who has considerable computer knowledge and whose goal is to break or circumvent Internet security. Crackers and dark-side hackers are terms used to describe them. Computer security hackers break into systems and networks, as well as creating computer viruses. In general, ethical hackers create things, whereas crackers destroy them.

Grey Hat Hacker

A grey hat hacker is someone who wears both black and white hats. It might be about whether they allegedly behave unlawfully in good faith on occasion, or about how they report vulnerabilities. They seldom hack for personal gain or malevolent purpose, but they may be willing to commit technical crimes in the course of their technological exploits in order to improve security.

Script Kiddie

A script kiddie (or skiddie) is a non-expert who unlawfully gains access to a computer system or network by using existing scripts, code, or other tools without knowing how the tools operate or how the system or network is built. Script kids don’t have the experience to create their own programmes that attack vulnerabilities, even if they have some programming skills.


A hacktivist is a person who uses technology to spread a message that is social, ideological, religious, or political. The majority of hacktivism is defacing websites or launching denial-of-service assaults.

Phases of Hacking


Reconnaissance is the first step of the hacking process, during which the hacker obtains information about a target through active or passive means.

Gathering information about a potential target without the target’s awareness is known as passive reconnaissance. It is generally accomplished by conducting Internet searches for a people or organisation. This is referred to as “information collecting.”

Sniffing the network is a sort of passive reconnaissance that can provide important information including IP address ranges, naming standards, hidden servers or networks, and other system or network services. Sniffing network traffic is similar to building monitoring in that a hacker observes the flow of data to see when and where particular transactions occur.

Active reconnaissance is breaking into a network to identify specific hosts, IP addresses, and services. It carries a higher danger of being discovered than passive reconnaissance. It’s also known as rattling doorknobs.

NMAP, Hping, Maltego, and Google Dorks are some of the most commonly used reconnaissance programmes.


Scanning uses the information obtained during the reconnaissance phase to seek for flaws in the perimeter and interior network devices. It includes checking for running services, open ports, firewall detection, identifying vulnerabilities, and OS detection, among other things.

Dialers, port scanners, network mappers, vulnerability scanners, Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) scanners, ping sweeps, and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) sweepers are some of the tools a hacker can employ during the scanning process.

Hackers are seeking for information such as machine names, operating systems (OS), user accounts, IP addresses, and installed software that might enable them carry out an attack on a target.

Nessus, Nexpose, and NMAP are some of the most commonly used scanning technologies.

Gaining Access

A hacker uses data acquired during Phase 1 (Reconnaissance) and Phase 2 (Strategy) to strategize the blueprint of the target’s network after scanning (Scanning). The hacker would use a weakness to obtain access to the target at this step. It usually entails gaining control of one or more network devices in order to gather data from the target or to utilise that device to attack other targets.

Stack-based buffer overflows, denial-of-service (DoS), and session hijacking are examples of hacking attacks used by hackers. A local area network (LAN), either wired or wireless; local access to a PC; the Internet (online); or offline can all be used to deliver this hacking assault to the target machine. In the hacker community, gaining access is referred to as “owning the system.” Because once a system has been hacked, the hacker has complete authority over it and may operate it as they see fit.

Metasploit is the most important tool in this procedure.

Maintaining Access

The hacker wants to maintain access after acquiring it for further exploits and assaults to acquire additional data. Backdoors, rootkits, and Trojans are sometimes used by hackers to make the system more secure so that no other hackers or security employees can penetrate it.

A zombie system is a computer connected to the Internet that has been hacked, infected with a computer virus, or infected with a Trojan horse programme, and may be used to carry out harmful actions under remote control.

Covering Tracks

Hackers hide their footprints in the last stages to prevent discovery by security professionals. Hackers erase evidence of hacking by deleting or altering log files, exfiltrating data using DNS tunnelling or steganography, wiping out sent e-mails, and erasing temp files to avoid legal action.

Types of Hacking Attacks

Hackers can use a variety of methods to target and attack devices and networks. As a result, these are some of the most frequent hacking techniques:

  • Social engineering is a set of tactics used by hackers to trick ordinary people into giving personal information, infecting their computers with malware, or clicking on links to infected websites.
  • The most popular kinds of online hacking are SQL injection and cross-site scripting.
  • Malware attack: A malware attack is a method used by cybercriminals to gain access to or damage a computer without the owner’s knowledge by introducing harmful software over the Internet or other storage media.
  • Password cracking is the process of deciphering a password in order to obtain illegal access to a computer without the computer owner’s knowledge.
  • Session hijacking is a technique for gaining control of a Web user session by stealing the session ID and impersonating the authorised user. Cookie hijacking is another term for it.
  • DoS (denial-of-service) attack: This aims to bring the network to its knees by flooding it with meaningless traffic, such as invalid authentication requests, bringing the entire network down.
  • Phishing: When one programme, system, or website successfully impersonates another by obtaining private information such as user IDs, passwords, or bank account numbers, the user or another programme treats it as a trustworthy system.

Some More Terminologies

  • A backdoor is a secret entry into a computer or programme that overcomes security measures such as logins and passwords.
  • A bot is a hacked computer that may be controlled remotely by a hacker after being infected with malware. A hacker can then use the bot (also known as a zombie computer) to carry out further attacks or to add it to a botnet (a network of controlled computers).
  • In software, a bug is a defect or mistake.
  • Breaking into a security system for malicious intentions is referred to as cracking.
  • An exploit is a method or procedure for exploiting a computer or application’s flaw or vulnerability.
  • A phreak is someone who illegally taps phone lines or breaks into the telephone network to make free calls.
  • A vulnerability is a flaw that allows a hacker to get access to sensitive information.

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