From Reconnaissance to Covering Tracks – 5 Phases of Ethical Hacking

Hacking Phases Tech Hyme

Hacking is an art or a technique which is used to find the solution for a typical problem by implementing either the legal or illegal ways. It may or may not be done with the concern of the owner. The person implementing this or such kind of technique is called Hacker/Cracker.

The term “Hacker” is often used for a computer pirate who posses in depth knowledge of a certain computer procedure or a process.

Hacking is defined as unauthorized access to anyone’s premises with or without their acknowledgement.

Types of Hackers

In real life, there are various types of “Attackers or Hackers” categorized in the function of their respective relevant experience and their spirit of self-motivation:

  1. White Hat-Hackers – White Hat Hackers refers to computer security geeks and also generally known as Ethical Hackers who never focus on harming any individual or corporate data. These types of hackers generally focus on securing IT Systems.
  2. Black Hat-Hackers – As the name indicate, a Black hat hacker works only for themselves. It is a person who compromises the security of any computer system without the permission of the user of the system with malicious intent. They only work for their personal profit even by causing loss to anyone.
  3. Gray Hat-Hackers – Gray Hat hackers are also known as Skilled Hackers who sometimes act legally and sometimes illegally. They are those who gain all the illegal information by stealing anyone’s data without their acknowledgement but implements their knowledge for a corporate motto.

So let’s look at the 5 main stages a hacker or penetration tester will go through along with the tools they use to break into a network.

1. Reconnaissance

It is the earliest phase of hacking in which the hacker prepares and investigates about the target before launching the attack or we can say that it the preparation phase in which the hackers prepares themselves for the attack. It involves full scale investigation about the target.

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There are two types of Reconnaissance:

  • Active Reconnaissance.
  • Passive Reconnaissance.

2. Scanning

Scanning is the next phase of Hacking which feeds upon the information gathered during the reconnaissance.
It involves acquiring the particular information or the categorized information about the target such as Port Scanning, Network Mapping, Vulnerability Sectors, etc.

This Phase provides a hacker with the information for his entry point and exit point into the target machine. It also involves knowing about the most vulnerable factors of the target machine.

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The Key information used during this phase involves the IP Address and Mac Address, Networking used, Security Measures, etc.

List of popular Information Gathering Tools:

3. Gaining Access

After scanning, the next phase is Gaining Access to the system. The Attacker analyses and uses the most vulnerable factors and points gather during the scanning process to gain access into the target machine.

The method of Entry may be silent or loud but usually the silent entry method is always followed so that the target should not know about the intrusion.

The attacker can gain access at various levels namely, Network Level, Operating System Level or Application Level.
Each Level requires specific tools or techniques for gaining access.

Tools or Techniques that can be helpful for this process are – DOS Attacks, Brute Forcing Attacks, Buffer Overflow Attacks, Session Hijacking, Cookies Stealing, etc.

4. Maintaining Access

It is pre final process of Hacking which involves the compromisation of the system to retain the ownership of the system.

It may be a slow process because it involves taking over the system slowly and gradually without letting know the owner about the attack in process.

The Compromised system thus becomes the property of the attacker, which can be used as a launch base for further attacks onto the further systems.

The attacker also tries to block the other entry points into that system to prevent other hackers for gaining access to that system.

5. Covering Tracks

The final phase of hacking involves covering up or clearing the attacks of his activities.

This does not mean that the system is being released; it simple means to continue the attack or the ownership being unnoticed. It may include the modification of the registry entries, system log files and altering the antivirus activities.

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