“As a young boy, I was taught in high school, hacking was cool.”
– Kevin Mitnick
Tell me what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘hacking’? Brighten up your imagination a bit more and tell me how do you portray a ‘hacker’? Well, I am sure most of you will imagine a hacker as a geek, who is mysteriously attractive and is surrounded by many computers with codes running on them. One adjective that is used by the majority of the population to describe a hacker is ‘cool’. Today, we will try to know a bit more about this cool topic of hacking and to be precise, we will discuss ethical hacking.
What Is Ethical Hacking?
Before understanding the term ‘ethical hacking’, you should have a brief idea about the word ‘hacking’. So, let’s begin by defining the word hacking. Hacking is the act of using technical knowledge to change the normal and stable behaviour of any network connections and connected systems. A person who engages himself into hacking is known as a hacker. Don’t you think disrupting the normal functioning of a network connection is wrong? It’s not always wrong. The justification of your actions depends on your objective. Now that we are talking about objective and purpose of the action, you should know that on basis of this, hacking can be divided into two categories:-
- Ethical Hacking (Good Hacking)
- Cracking (Bad Hacking)
Yesterday, when I was discussing about this topic with a friend of mine, I was explained about the concept of ethical hacking in a childlike manner. I would love to pass that knowledge to you as it will help you to understand the concept of ethical hacking in a simpler manner. Crackers are the attackers and the ethical hackers work like a defensive mode against the crackers. Ethical hackers came into existence because of the hackers. Perhaps, this is the reason behind the transformation of so many crackers into ethical hackers. If there is a villain out there who can attack you, obviously you will look for a hero to save yourself. The same concept can be applied for crackers and ethical hackers. Ethical hacking is a hacking done by a group or individual for a good purpose. Ethical hackers are not much different from the crackers. There is only one huge difference between them. Ethical hackers do the hacking legally. Now you must be wondering why are these people legally permitted to hack? There are various reasons behind this. You must have heard the idiom ‘Prevention is better than cure’. The ethical hackers act like a prevention.
What Do Ethical Hackers Do?
Most of the companies hire the ethical hackers to hack the stuff stored in their systems. Why will a company do this? There are four main reasons behind it. These are:-
- To check the power behind their security system.
- To see which information will be available to the hackers if they hack the system.
- To know about the consequences that will take place after hacking. What can the hackers do with the information available to them?
- To know whether someone is able to notice the changes that take place when the hacking is carried out.
The ethical hacker hacks the system with a mind of a cracker. Ever heard about the idiom, ‘To catch a thief, think like a thief?’ There is one more thing that makes hackers sound cool. We use the slang white hat to refer to an ethical hacker and a black hat for a cracker.
“Some people play video games. I play the internet.”
How Can You Become A Hacker?
If you have now developed a bit of interest on Ethical Hacking, you next question perhaps is how will you be able to become an ethical hacker. There are few requirements like you should be knowing about stuffs related to scripting languages (like Python), networking, SQL and Linux. But are these stuffs sufficient to make you an ethical hacker?
“Hackers are born, not made.”
– Stan Hanks
Does that answer your question? So, what can make you an ethical hacker? The answer is, you should have the spirit of a hacker. It means you should have the passion for learning about your field of interest. You should have the desire to excel in it. You can’t look up to fixed guides for showing you the road, you need to be creative and experimental to be a hacker. You should be a risk taker who can take the risk of learning new stuff without any guidance. Obviously, you will need the basic knowledge for hacking but then you can use that piece of information to be an ordinary penetration tester. Hacking demands something more than that.
“My primary goal of hacking was the intellectual curiosity, the seduction of adventure.”
– Kevin Mitnick
Top 5 Ethical Hackers Of The World
Would you like to know the names of few famous ethical hackers? Here are the top five ethical hackers of the world:-
- Kevin Mitnick (a.k.a. The Condor)
- Kevin Poulsen (a.k.a Dark Dante)
- Adrian Lamo (a.k.a The Homeless Hacker)
- Stephen Wozniak (a.k.a Berkeley Blue)
- Loyd Blankenship (a.k.a The Mentor)
If you are also planning to become an ethical hacker, I guess you should pay attention to your nickname. A cool nickname for a cool hacker doing a cool job. I would like to end the post with a statement made by Adrian Lamo.
“There’s no such thing as 100% safety, security, or privacy. All you can do is mitigate risk.”