Saturday, 24 February 2018

Ethical Hacker or Forensic Investigator? The Ideal one for you...

Ethical Hacker, EC-Council Tutorials and Materials, EC-Council Learning

Security of information is a matter of prime concern in today’s information based economy. It is the responsibility of every employee of a company to keep important data safe from the intruders and hackers. The increasing use of social engineering has increased the risk of attacks on the information data of any company or business establishment. To secure  company’s data from attackers, everyone in the company has to be a part of its security system. It has been proved through various studies that most of the incidents of data theft occur due to lack of training and knowledge of keeping it secure. To ensure security of data, most of the companies have started taking services of ethical hackers or computer hacking forensic investigators. In order to understand who is better of the two, you must know some basic facts about them.

Ethical Hackers

Some institutes provide training program for certified ethical hackers to train the aspirants about keeping the data safe from malicious hackers. One must have foundational knowledge of computer Operating Systems and Networking protocols to be a part of this training program. After completing their training program, certified ethical hackers use their knowledge and tools to reveal the weaknesses in the computer system of an organization. They also suggest about the precautionary, remedial and defensive measures after detecting the weaknesses of a system. They are trained to protect all types of networks from unwanted hackers.

During the training program of certified ethical hackers, the students get familiar to an interactive environment in which they are taught about scanning, testing, hacking and securing their own computer system from attackers. Each student is provided with detailed theoretical and practical knowledge about the essential current security systems in the lab intensive environment. They gradually start understanding the working of defense systems along with scanning and attacking their own computer systems without harming them. They are also taught about the escalation of privileges done by intruders and how to save the system from them. Policy Creation, Intrusion Detection, DDoS Attacks, Social Engineering, Virus Creation and Buffer Overflows are the other fields of learning for a certified ethical hacker. After completing this program successfully, one can start his career as a certified ethical hacker with any business organization or security agency to save their computer systems from malicious hackers.

Ethical Hacker, EC-Council Tutorials and Materials, EC-Council Learning

Fig: Architecture of a D DoS Attack

Forensic investigators

Forensic investigators, or hacking forensic investigators, are the professionals who work for detecting the attacks of hacker on the computer system of an organization along with extracting the evidences properly to report the crime to the higher authorities. They also help in preventing the hacker attacks in future by auditing the system thoroughly. The simple meaning of computer forensic is the application of the techniques of computer investigation and analysis to determine potential legal evidences for the safety of the computer system of the organization in future. These evidences can be required to resolve a number of computer related misuse or crimes along with theft or damage of intellectual property, frauds and theft of trade secrets etc. In order to discover the data or recovering encrypted or deleted data or information of damaged files from in the computer system of an organization these computer hacking forensic investigators use various methods.

With the increase in number of cyber-crimes and other conflicting situations, it has become necessary to analyze the computer systems through a competent investigator to find out and secure the evidences on electronic system. These evidences become important in various situations including hacking of computer, disloyalty of employees, breach of contract terms, misuse of pornography, email frauds, industrial surveillance, disputed sacking of employees, bankruptcy, theft of company’s documents and defacement of web pages etc.

One can be a certified computer hacking forensic investigator after attending the training program and passing the exam offered by a number of institutions. You must be having fundamental knowledge of the operating systems of the computer along with networking protocols to be an eligible candidate for this certification course.

After completing this course you are enabled to identify the evidences carefully and systematically in case of any abuse of computer system or in case of computer related criminal. For this purpose you will have to trace out how the hacker has intruded the computer system of your client to find out the signs of fraud and trace the creator of offensive emails. The candidates of this course are provided with the skills necessarily needed to identify the signs of hackers along with gathering the evidences properly to put the culprit on trial in the legal court.

The course of computer hacking forensic investigator is beneficial for defense and military personnel, police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies, system administrators, security professionals of an e-business, Banking and Insurance professionals, legal professionals, IT managers and professionals of government agencies etc.

Which is ideal Ethical Hacker or Forensic Investigator?

In fact, the basic purpose of ethical hacker and computer hacking forensic investigator is to keep the important data of a business organization or a security agency safe from the malicious hackers. But ethical hackers investigate only the probabilities of hacking a computer system and fix the weakness of the system. The computer hacking forensic investigators, on the other hand, also collect evidences to prosecute the hackers in the court of law along with detecting the reasons of intrusion by the hackers. Both ethical hackers and forensic investigators are performing well in their respective fields.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

How To Become a Professional Hacker

EC-Council Tutorials and Materials, EC-Council Certifications, CEH Certifications

Demand for IT Security professionals is very strong right now, and many people are wondering how to get into the action. You need only turn on the news to hear of the latest cybersecurity breach, and this visibility means more companies are paying attention to Information Security than ever before. This is good news for IT Security Professionals with the right skills and experience, as well as newcomers to the field. You have come here to learn how to become a Professional Hacker, an elite cybersecurity professional with a very bright employment outlook.

This article discusses one particular role in the cybersecurity career landscape, the Penetration Tester, and examines the job responsibilities, skills, and personality traits that allow an individual to thrive in that role. We also examine how one might learn those skills and position oneself optimally as a candidate for employment as a Penetration Tester.

What Is a Hacker?

The term “hacker” has several meanings, beyond the obvious, which is “one who hacks.” Originally a derogatory term for someone lacking sufficient skills to do a task with finesse, “hacker” has come to mean an individual with sufficient knowledge to misuse computer software or infrastructure to achieve results that are inconsistent with their design and purpose. Simply put, a hacker uses computer resources in ways that achieve their own ends, not those of the owners. Very often this means the theft of valuable sensitive information for monetary gain. In fact, this is the type of hacker that we hear most about, because news of large breaches are shocking, scary, and newsworthy. This type of hacker is a criminal and is breaking the law as they go about their work.

What Is a Professional Hacker?

A “Penetration Tester,” on the other hand, is employed or engaged by an organization to test its defenses and report any vulnerabilities discovered and how they could be exploited. This individual has a highly valued skill set that allows them to examine an organization’s software and infrastructure and make specific recommendations on how better to secure them. Penetration Testers are in great demand and command impressive compensation.

A Penetration Tester is a professional hacker.

What Skills Are Needed?

Clearly, penetration testing requires extensive knowledge as well as a broad and advanced skill set. This includes a strong grasp and effective mastery of the following:

◈ Computer networking concepts, protocols, appliances
◈ Software, web-applications, including architecture, and the software development lifecycle (SDLC)
◈ Penetration Testing methodology, tools
◈ Vulnerabilities, malware, and weaknesses
◈ Cybersecurity best practices
◈ Communication Skills, written and verbal
◈ It is not for the faint of heart, but nor is it out of reach. With planning and a deliberate approach, each of these topics can be mastered in time.

IT technical roles can be broadly categorized into two categories: software development (a.k.a. applications) and infrastructure (a.k.a. networking), so it is often the case that Penetration Testers master one side or another early in their career before bolstering up the other side. The greater the degree to which an individual has mastered the areas above, the more versatile (and therefor more employable) is that individual as a Penetration Tester.

Skill Development

As we noted above, other roles in IT can provide a springboard into cybersecurity and penetration testing positions. An individual with strong expertise in networking or infrastructure will often just require concentrated training on core Penetration Testing skills and tools to round out their qualifications. Indeed, there may be much in the way of review in the journey.

Of course there are training courses that can help you acquire the necessary skills, some more focused and concentrated than others. College and university offerings are likely to be the most in-depth, albeit at greatest cost and time. Private training classes are another option, but be sure to have a comprehensive plan to ensure that all relevant subject matter is addressed within whatever patchwork of offerings are cobbled together. Yet another approach, which is faster and less expensive than the others, is to study specifically for the Penetration Testing role. This can be an effective approach for individuals with significant overlapping IT experience.


One important way to distinguish yourself from the competition and land that next job may be to earn one or more relevant industry-recognized certifications. This demonstrates a commitment to the profession and role to which you aspire, as well as an independent endorsement that a certain core knowledge base has been achieved.

In fact, in the face of high demand for qualified Penetration Testers and a low supply of qualified applicants, hiring managers will be practical and will naturally bias towards hands-on ability vs. formal education. This means the right certification(s) can get you past the gatekeeper for an interview.

Our favorite for Penetration Testing is the EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification. Hiring managers know that a CEH certified candidate for a Penetration Testing role has made a commitment to the field and is familiar with all the relevant skill areas. A certification such as CEH can be a discriminating factor in landing you a job.

Familiarity With PenTesting Tools

Penetration Testing relies extensively on software tools, and while there is no official tool-set, there are certain tools and commands that you simply must be familiar with in order to have any credibility in the field. Note that we are not describing a superficial knowledge; to be productive you must have hands-on expertise with a certain critical core set of tools.

Another advantage of Penetration Testing-oriented training is that those tools will be covered, and you will have the opportunity to work with them. More importantly, you will come to understand the problems they solve and when they are the “right tool for the job.”

I have asked job candidates questions such as, “what would be a good tool choice in the following situation…?” as well as, “what are the trade-offs between using tool X and Y in this scenario?” This approach separates the book learners from the hands-on practitioners.

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification

One of the reasons we rate the EC Council CEH Certification so highly is that we are very familiar with it. Affinity IT Security is an EC Council Accredited Training Center (ATC), and we offer CEH Certification preparation training. The CEH Certification coverage is both broad and practical, and it includes the opportunity to get hands-on experience with a large set of Penetration Testing tools. The examination is carefully engineered to assess both the taker’s knowledge and abilities by including real-world scenarios and questions about specific tools.

Preparing for and passing the exam is one means by which you can acquire and strengthen the necessary skills to be a professional Penetration Tester, enhance your credentials, and distinguish yourself from the competition.

More information on Affinity IT Security CEH Training can be found here.

Is Hacking For You?

In addition to the technical skills and credentials discussed above, the ideal candidate for the role of Penetration Tester must possess the following personality traits:

◈ Strong analytical skills
◈ Natural tenacity and persistence
◈ Curiosity about how things work
◈ A pathological willingness to upend designer expectations
◈ Strong communication skills
◈ A strong moral compass

Thursday, 15 February 2018

On Hiring a Hacker

On Hiring a Hacker, Certified Ethical Hacker

One could argue that there are two crises in the IT world today. The first is the seeming inability of many (or even most ?) companies to secure their IT infrastructure, and the second is the shortage of talent to help them do so. This article will explore the motivations and challenges that businesses face in hiring qualified individuals for Information Security roles, with special attention to the roles that hackers play.

What is a Hacker ?

Let’s start by clarifying what we mean by a “hacker.” In its modern and colloquial meaning, it refers to an individual who has the skills necessary to bypass the conventional deterrent controls we deploy to protect our IT resources and sensitive information. The term is often prefaced by “black hat” or “white hat” (think: Western movies) to distinguish those that act in their own interest to defeat an organization’s security from those acting to improve the security of an organization. In practical terms, this means that “white-hat” hackers, also known as “Ethical Hackers,” have previously obtained the permission of the organization they attempt to breach, whereas “black-hat” hackers have not.

The irony, of course, is that there is huge overlap in the skillset of black-hat and white-hat hackers, and the same skills that enable one to breach an organization’s security also empower one to make specific and concrete recommendations as to how to improve it.

Why Hire a Hacker?

When I was a kid (totally dating myself here), there was a popular TV series called “It Takes a Thief,” starring Robert Wagner as a reformed elite criminal who assisted law enforcement in catching criminals. (As an aside, he was highly skilled, and very cool for the times.) The underlying premise of the show was “to catch a thief, you need a thief.” In other words, to anticipate what the bad guys will do, you need to think like them. You probably see where I am going with this.

The conventional approach to cybersecurity is to embrace a continuous ongoing improvement model that iteratively assesses risk, identifies and implements risk-reduction controls and policies, and then measures against practical success criteria; rinse and repeat.

The role of the hacker comes into play during the “measure against practical success criteria” portion of the process. A typical goal of cybersecurity initiatives is to reduce the number of network and software vulnerabilities, particularly those that are “exploitable” (i.e. can be used to effect a breach). Who is better qualified to find them and recommend deterrents that a professional hacker?

The professional job title is “Penetration Tester,” and it describes someone responsible for the ongoing security testing of network infrastructure, web-applications, and other software. The deliverables are typically test reports that detail the vulnerabilities found, whether and how they were exploited, and recommendations for their elimination.

Regardless of whether it is is full-time or part-time, employee, contractor, or vendor, a Penetration Tester is an essential role within any company that seriously hopes to thwart attackers.

Finding a “Hacker”

Assuming that you agree with the premise that you would be better off having a friendly hacker testing your infrastructure before a hostile one does, the question becomes how you find one that best serves your needs. The avenues are fairly obvious:

◈ Try to hire one
◈ Try to grow one inside the organization
◈ Contract one

As you ponder which of the options is viable within your organization and situation, recall our earlier premise that there is currently a dearth of cybersecurity talent, and consequently proficient Penetration Testers are neither common nor cheap.

Qualifying a “Hacker”

Candidates must be carefully screened to ensure they have the necessary skills. This is often especially challenging because the hiring organization may be completely lacking in those skills themselves. The organization might engage a specialized recruiter or consultant to assist them, but this is sounding more expensive by the minute. I can hear managers saying, “I was lucky enough to get the headcount to begin with; I can’t go asking for more funding to qualify them.”

Thus, we broach the topic of Certifications: topic-specific industry standard accreditations that professionals may earn to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise, and commitment to their profession. Such professional certifications are essentially third-party endorsements that an individual has demonstrated a core knowledge of a particular subject.

IMPORTANT: Certifications are no substitute for a rigorous interview and qualification process for candidates, and I am not suggesting otherwise. It is safe to ask, however: if all other things are equal, why wouldn’t you choose the candidate with relevant industry recognized credential(s)?

In the context of Penetration Testing, one such certification is the “Certified Ethical Hacker,” developed and managed by the EC Council. It is one of many, but a good example of a widely recognized, highly respected credential that demonstrates the holder has made a study of Penetration Testing.

A “Certified Ethical Hacker” (CEH)

If we consider the actual skills that an effective Penetration Tester must bring to the table, the list is extensive and intimidating.  The individual must be knowledgeable in the following areas:

◈ Networking, wired and wireless
◈ Host and service discovery
◈ Network and Application (desktop, web, and server) Vulnerability Scanning
◈ Vulnerability Exploitation
◈ Social Engineering
◈ Technical Writing
◈ Technical Presentations

We must then consider the hundreds of tools available in each of these areas and acknowledge that a working competency of at least one tool in each area is necessary.

It is a formidable skill set, which leaves no wonder as to why such individuals are in scarce supply.

The Certified Ethical Hacker certification realistically acknowledges these requisite skills and does its best to test for them in the form of a 125 multiple-choice, 4-hour proctored examination. Exam preparation training is typically grueling: 5 full days of lectures and hands-on labs, punctuated with thought-provoking mock exam questions.

Concluding Thoughts

Readers (who remain conscious at this point) will note that we made the following arguments, which I am elaborating slightly for dramatic effect at the end of the article:

◈ It is a good idea to have a Penetration Tester around, at least periodically
◈ Penetration Testers need to know a lot about a lot of things, and consequently they are hard to come by
◈ Due to high demand and scarce supply, truly qualified individuals will command premium compensation in the marketplace
◈ Current market dynamics incentivize individuals to present themselves as more qualified than they actually are
◈ Industry standard certifications distinguish professionals who have earned them, as being committed to their role and the industry
◈ It may be more practical to grow Penetration Testing skills internally rather than seek to recruit them
◈ Encouraging and incentivizing existing employees to obtain industry standard Penetration Testing certifications such as Certified Ethical Hacker can be part of a strategy to grow much needed cybersecurity expertise in-house

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

What is Ethical hacking? What are different Types of Hackers

Ethical hacking, EC-Council Tutorials and Materials

Before talking about Ethical Hacking, let’s discuss what hacking is. Hacking can be defined as the practice of modifying the features of a system, in order to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose. In general words, hacking is unauthorized use of computer and network resources. Some other specialists refer it to the hobby or profession of working with computers.

The person who is involving in hacking activities, and has accepted hacking as a lifestyle and philosophy of their choice, is called a hacker.These hackers get into the networks of all the other governments and the organizations because this helps them to gain some money from it either directly or indirectly. They gain money directly because they are able to hack into the account of other people’s bank account and get money from the account. They gain from the hacking indirectly because they may be paid some money by various other organizations to get them data from the systems and networks of various other governments.

The word hacking has strongly negative connotations and obvious is the right for the most part. But there is also a new term used i.e Ethical hacking. Ethical hacking is a hacking that is done to help a company or individual identify potential threats on the computer or network. Ethical hacking is completely different from the kind of hacking that has been mentioned already. Ethical hacking is done when the person is able to get into the network of other organizations and the result of this hacking is used for the betterment of humanity.

Ethical hacking, EC-Council Tutorials and Materials

The information through the ethical hacking does not remain secret at all. The ethical hacking process is also known as the intrusion testing, penetration testing or red teaming. However, the ethical hacking also gives s professional certification to the certified ethical hacker where the hacking of the computer system or some other devices takes place. This service had been made available to the people by the international council of e-commerce consultants. There are many ethical hacking tools and techniques.

A company can’t know if their security system is solid unless they test it. It’s hard, though, for a company’s IT team to thoroughly ring out the system. An Ethical Hacker is an expert hired by a company and given ethical hacker training to attempt to attack their network and computer system the same way a hacker would. The organization trusts the ethical hacker as he is responsible for providing different services to the firm. Ethical Hackers use the same techniques and tactics as those used by illegal hackers to breach corporate security systems. The end result is the company’s ability to prevent an intrusion before it ever occurs. At first, it might sound strange that a company would pay someone to try to break into their system. But it is adopted in the real world. One of the earliest examples of using ethical hackers occurred in the 1970’s. At this time, the United States government utilized the knowledge and services of groups of experts, referred to as red teams. They enlisted these ethical hackers to hack into the United States government’s computer system. Many large companies employ teams of ethical hackers to help keep their systems secure, such as IBM. There is a number of ethical hacker jobs available.

Types of Hackers

There are a number of different types of hackers depending on the activities they perform. Some of the main kinds of hackers are –

1. Whitehat Hackers: These are the individuals that perform ethical hacking to help secure companies and organizations. Their belief is that you must examine your network in the same manner as a criminal hacker to better understand its vulnerabilities. A white hacker does it with no criminal intent in mind. Companies around the world, who want to test their systems, contract white hackers. They will test how secure are their systems, and point any faults that they may find. They use their skills and knowledge as a way to defend someone from attackers. That means that white hat hackers offer their services to corporations, public organizations, and educational institutions.

2. SCRIPT KIDDIES: Script kiddie is a pejorative term for a computer intruder with little or no skill; a person who simply follows directions or uses a cookbook approach — typically using other people’s scripts and shellcodes — without fully understanding the meaning of the steps they are performing.

3. CRACKERS: Those who will enter your computer just for the fun of it, or prove their technical skills.

4. Gray-hat Hackers: These individuals typically follow the law but sometimes venture over to the darker side of blackhat hacking. It would be unethical to employ these individuals to perform security duties for your organization as you are never quite clear where they stand.

5. Blackhat Hacker: A black hat hacker, also known as a cracker or a dark side hacker. He uses his skills with a criminal intent. Some examples are: cracking bank accounts in order to make transference to their own accounts, stealing information to be sold in the black market, or attacking the computer network of an organization for money.

Advantages of Ethical Hacking

There are various benefits of ethical hacking. Some of them are:

1. Fighting against terrorism and national security breaches

There are many terrorists and terrorist organizations that are trying to create havoc in the world with the use of computer technology. They break into various government defense systems and then use this for their terrorist activities. This can be prevented by using the services of ethical hackers who counter the terrorists by misleading them.

2. To take preventive action against hackers

The preventive action that is taken by the governments against the breaking of the networks saves money in billions of dollars as rectifying and building systems from scratch will cost a lot and also is very time taking. So the use of ethical hackers in doing this work of preventing the real hackers from getting to the important information helps save a lot of money and also time.

3. To build a system that helps prevent penetration by hackers

The ethical hacking is also used to try and test the existing defense systems. Ethical hackers are also used to build a foolproof system that prevents the breakdown of the existing system. Using the powers of the hackers to get a proper system built helps to prevent penetration by the hackers and saves the information in the various government networks.

Drawbacks of Ethical Hacking

As all things that have good side always possess bad side too. Some dishonest people present drawbacks too. The possible drawbacks of ethical hacking include:

◈ The ethical hacker using the knowledge they gain to do malicious hacking activities
◈ Massive security breach
◈ The possibility that the ethical hacker will send and/or place malicious code, viruses, malware and other destructive and harmful things on a computer system.
◈ Allowing the company’s financial and banking details to be seen.