Learn How to Hack with CEH
- 4th March 2016
- Posted by: Stacie Jansen van Vuren
- Category: Technology
Anonymous is a group of hacking activists (known as “hacktivists”) that have become a household name in recent years. The main role of the group appears to be initiating online hacking campaigns that show support for current social and political events. Some of the most famous targets of Anonymous have been the Vatican, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the Westboro Baptist Church, the CIA and the terrorist group ISIS. Opinions are divided as to whether Anonymous should be also be considered terrorists; or vigilantes fighting for the people. The hacker group has also released several guides for those who want to learn how to hack, in an effort to assist the group’s causes. Regardless of their intentions, the group has never failed to prove that they have the hacking abilities required to undertake their “missions”.
Gary McKinnon is another famous name in hacking. In the years 2001-2002, this Scottish hacker managed to access 97 American military networks. He is best known for the fact that he left the military a message on their own website which read “Your security is crap.” Today Gary McKinnon has reformed his life and is an SEO guru, but his hack is still called “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. Another former hacker is Stephen Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. However, it is important to mention that he is a white hat hacker – also known as an ethical hacker. Ethical hackers play a very important role in cyber security as they assist companies and organisations with determining security weaknesses in order to remedy them. Being an ethical hacker is legal provided that the correct procedures are followed.
Certainly not examples of ethical hackers, or smart ones, are Samy Kamkar and Eduard Lucian Mandru. Both of these men were caught out by their own stupidity when they each decided to learn how to hack and then used their skills for malicious purposes. In 2006, Samy Kamkar launched a virus-style attack which infected over 1 million MySpace accounts. He then bragged about his hacking skills in a blog post and his ego proved to be his downfall. The blog also contained a photograph of Samy Kamkar and in the background was license plate which was used by the authorities to locate him.
At first it would seem that Eduard Lucian Mandru was a skilled hacker due to his feat in 2006 when he succeeded at hacking the US Department of Defense computer system. His presence went undetected for years and the only clue that authorities had was his email address. It is quite possible that Mandru could have gotten away with his crime if it hadn’t been for one stupid mistake that he made in 2009. When posting his CV on numerous job boards in an effort to seek employment, Mandru used the same email address that the authorities had flagged for hacking. He was subsequently located and arrested.
If you want to learn how to hack it is vitally important to understand that cyber security crimes are taken very seriously all across the world. This is increasing at a rapid rate as most organisations have an online presence in the modern world. Being an ethical hacker can result in a highly rewarding career path but using these skills for nefarious purposes can end in a prison sentence.
What is a Hacker?
There is still a common misperception that all hackers are criminals intent on doing harm to others and that all hacking is illegal. Although this is very true in some cases, recent years have demonstrated the rising need for ethical hackers who protect rather than harm. There are many people who want to learn how to hack without knowing exactly what a hacker is or what they will need to do within this job role.
Hackers tend to have an enthusiastic passion for exploring the full details of computer systems and their abilities. They enjoy pushing themselves to learn more and figure out how to take the actions that they are exploring. For these people, the desire to learn how to hack is born from the need to challenge themselves and increase their skills. These professionals are of great value to the cyber security of the organisations who hire them. They are able to spot weak points and low level security measures which then enables them to make informed suggestions on how to rectify these vulnerabilities. If you decide to learn how to hack and pursue an ethical hacker career, you will be able to explore your passion in a legal manner which can prevent harm from coming to those who would have otherwise been susceptible to the criminal hackers.
3 Common Types of Hackers
The first thing that you should know when you decide to learn how to hack is that there are different types of hackers. More people are becoming aware of the difference between a criminal hacker and an ethical hacker, but things are not as simple as black and white when it comes to cyber security and hacking – there is also a grey area that you must be aware of when you learn how to hack.
1. White Hat Hacker
A white hat hacker is also commonly referred to as an ethical hacker and this clearly denotes that fact that these hacking experts do so for ethical reasons; and by using ethical methods. The main distinguishing feature of this type of hacker is that they learn how to hack in order to assist others and only do so with permission from the “target”. The work done by an ethical/white hat hacker is legal due to the procedures that are followed and the fact that they have been provided with the authority to do so.
The job of an ethical hacker is to use their computer knowledge and skills to attempt to compromise the systems of the organisation that has hired them. They generally use the same techniques as a criminal hacker would, however, they do not use their findings to commit crimes. Instead, an ethical hacker will compile a report which contains the information on how the hack was achieved and provide this to the organisation. This report is then used to fix the vulnerability so that the cyber security of the organisation can be improved. This is a highly valuable exercise and ethical hackers who learn how to hack from legal training courses are in demand by many companies across the globe.
2. Black Hat Hacker
Black hat hackers are criminal who learn how to hack in order to cause harm to others and often to reap personal benefits. These are generally the hackers that come to mind when hearing about hacking as these are the ones that the media tends to focus on.
These days there is a vast wealth of personal information available on the internet and this is usually only protected by the security measures put in place by the organisation that holds the information – such as banks, credit companies, government organisations and even companies with their employees details stored on the company systems. This is a far more convenient method but it does mean that if compromised, this information can all be stolen and used by a black hat hacker. These types of hackers will either use the information for their own personal gain or they may even sell it to other criminal organisations.
The other form of black hat hacker is the kind that decides to learn how to hack and then performs their hacks for no reason other than maliciousness. These are the ones who create and release computer viruses, worms and other software that can cause absolute devastation to those who become infected. These hackers can be compared to school yard bullies who hurt others for no reason other than to prove that they can.
If you want to learn how to hack, you should be aware that becoming a black hat hacker is highly illegal and you could spend time in prison if caught. And with the increase in ethical hackers, black hat hackers are being caught far more easily than before.
3. Grey Hat Hacker
As with most things in life, there is also a grey area when it comes to hacking. Generally a grey hat hacker does not learn how to hack to perform hacks for personal gain or to cause destruction, however, they do things which are technically criminal and unethical.
Where a black hat would compromise a system without permission for their own criminal purposes and an ethical hacker (white hat) would do so with permission and for beneficial reasons, a grey hat hacker may compromise a system without permission but then inform the organisation that they were able to hack them – which would then allow the organisation to fix the vulnerability. Although the end result is not necessarily bad, the actions taken were still illegal.
There are also those grey hat hackers who discover a security flaw and then disclose the flaw publically instead of contacting the organisation privately. These hackers do not benefit personally by their actions but they do enable black hat hackers to gain access to this information which can then be used in criminal actions. If you decide to learn how to hack, be very wary of this grey area as you will be deemed a grey hat hacker even if you simply try to practice your new skills by hacking a site or system without permission. Even if you do not use the information gained for any purpose, it is still considered illegal and can destroy both your reputation and your future.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification Course
To defeat a hacker, you need to think like a hacker. This is the principle behind the Certified Ethical Hacker certification from EC-Council. If you want to learn how to hack, then you should learn how to hack with CEH. This is the most advanced ethical hacking course in the world and gaining this certification will ensure potential employers that you know how to be an ethical hacker and will protect their systems. Being an ethical hacker is a great responsibility and your reputation is as important as your skills. It would be very difficult to trust someone to purposefully try and hack your security systems if they have no proof of their integrity. This is gained when you learn how to hack with CEH as you will be required to sign an agreement where you state that you will abide by all legal laws pertaining to being an ethical hacker.
The EC-Council follows a very strict code of ethics and has a Governing Board which oversees the certifications that are awarded by the organisation. All members of the EC-Council Management Committee are experienced and respected professionals and the EC-Council holds firm to its hard-earned reputation for an ethical approach to hacking.
When you take the ethical hacker training to learn how to hack, you will be taught about the following and more:
• Penetration testing
• Malware threats
• Viruses and worms
• Hacking Webservers
• Trojans and backdoors
• Scanning networks
• Hacking wireless networks
• Hacking mobile platforms
• Hacking web applications
• Cloud computing
• Footprinting and reconnaissance
To learn how to hack is a very interesting and fulfilling path to follow and it can lead not only to achieving career goals but also to financial rewards as a highly skilled ethical hacker can command a high salary. Freelance ethical hackers are becoming more common as well as this is a way to constantly challenge yourself by working on different security systems for organisations of all types, sizes and locations. As with other job roles in the IT field, it is important to remember that after you learn how to hack, you will need to constantly improve your techniques, increase your skills and expand upon your knowledge. Criminal hackers change tactics regularly to prevent getting caught so it is imperative that ethical hackers keep up to date with new attack methods and how to defend against them.
If you want to learn how to hack, then we recommend that you have a look at our IT Security Library bundle details to ensure that you make an informed decision.