Ethical hacking

dilusha sandaruwani
5 min readMay 29, 2021

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is the process in which the possible entry points of a system are recognized from which a malicious attacker can enter the system and steal sensitive information pertaining to business, research or anything eventually resulting in the damage or loss of data, financial losses or other losses to the security infrastructure. Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing or pen testing, is legally breaking into computers and devices to test an organization’s defenses.

Advantages of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is very useful because it helps an organization secure its systems from any security breach.

  1. Identifying Weak Areas
  2. Security Measures Testing
  3. Understanding Hacker Techniques
  4. Preparing for a Hacker Attack

Who are Ethical Hackers?

Ethical hackers are qualified technical experts in the field of security and network security. There are different types of hackers based on the activities. Some of the important types of hackers include:

  1. White hat Hackers

These are individuals who perform ethical hacking to assist organizations. These hackers believe that companies should inspect the network in the same way as criminal hackers in order to better understand the vulnerabilities.

White hackers perform these activities without any criminal intent. These professions test how safe a system, network, or application is and point out the vulnerabilities. Moreover, they leverage their skills and expertise to treat the weak points.

2. Black Hat Hackers

These hackers are also known as dark side hackers or crackers. They leverage their skills and exploit systems, networks, or applications with criminal intent.

They gain unauthorized access to computer systems to violate privacy rights, transfer funds from various bank accounts, steal sensitive corporate information.

Skills For Ethical Hackers

Getting deep into the system requires you to have extensive knowledge of different technical domains and coding skills. So the first step is to master the following skills:

  • Networking concepts
  • Computer appliances
  • Understanding of operating systems
  • Knowledge of software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Efficiency in penetration testing tools and techniques
  • Understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals
  • Strong knowledge of coding
  • Efficient verbal and written communication skills

Cyber Security

A very wide-ranging term with no standard definition. Cybersecurity is the protection of Internet-connected systems, including hardware, software, and data from cyber attacks. It is made up of two words one is cyber and other is security. Cyber is related to the technology which contains systems, network and programs or data. It covers all aspects of ensuring the protection of citizens, businesses and critical infrastructures from threats that arise from their use of computers and the internet.

What is the CIA Triad?

The CIA triad is a model that shows the three main goals needed to achieve information security. The CIA triad has the goals of confidentiality, integrity and availability, which are basic factors in information security.

  • Confidentiality: Prevents unauthorized disclosure of system and information.
  • Integrity: Prevents unauthorized modification of system and information. Even if an adversary can’t read your data, they can either corrupt it or selectively modify it to cause further damage later on.
  • Availability: Prevents disruption of service and productivity. Even if an adversary can’t access or modify your data, they can prevent you from accessing it or using it. For example, they can destroy or congest communication lines, or bring down the data server.

Security Controls

Security controls are countermeasures or safeguards used to reduce the chances that a threat will exploit a vulnerability. There are three main types of IT security controls including technical, administrative, and physical.

Technical Security Controls

At the most basic level, technical controls, also known as logic controls, use technology to reduce vulnerabilities in hardware and software. Automated software tools are installed and configured to protect these assets.

Examples of technical controls include:

  • Encryption
  • Antivirus And Anti-Malware Software
  • Firewalls

Administrative Security Controls

Administrative security controls refer to policies, procedures, or guidelines that define personnel or business practices in accordance with the organization’s security goals.

Physical Security Controls

Physical controls are the implementation of security measures in a defined structure used to deter or prevent unauthorized access to sensitive material.

Examples of physical controls are:

  • Closed-circuit surveillance cameras
  • Motion or thermal alarm systems
  • Security guards
  • Picture IDs
  • Locked and dead-bolted steel doors

Password Hacking

Passwords are in general the keys to get access into a system or an account. In general, people tend to set passwords that are easy to remember, such as their date of birth, names of family members, mobile numbers, etc. This is what makes the passwords weak and prone to easy hacking.

Brute Force attacks

— Try every possible character combinations.

—Use Rainbow tables(Pre computed hash tables.)

Dictionary attacks

— In a dictionary attack, the hacker uses a predefined list of words from a dictionary to try and guess the password.

Password Security Best Practices

One should always take care to have a strong password to defend their accounts from potential hackers. A strong password has the following attributes −

  • Contains at least 8 characters.
  • A mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • A combination of small and capital letters.
  • NIST[2] guidelines on password Security.
  • Use password manager.

— Different password for each account.

— Well-encrypted password vault.

— Stores random, Strong passwords for the rest your accounts.

Role of machine learning in security

Machine learning is a potentially transformative technology for cybersecurity. With machine learning, cybersecurity systems can analyze patterns and learn from them to help prevent similar attacks and respond to changing behavior. It can help cybersecurity teams be more proactive in preventing threats and responding to active attacks in real time. It can reduce the amount of time spent on routine tasks and enable organizations to use their resources more strategically.

Thank you 😊.



dilusha sandaruwani

Software Engineering undergraduate at University of Kelaniya