Ethical Hacking Roadmap - 5 Phases to Success

Security breaks do occur. It's a problem that every company has to solve today. Price Waterhouse Coopers' latest "The Global State of Information Security Survey 2018" reveals that security threats posed by emerging technologies like automated or robotic systems have the attention of corporate leaders. For instance, over 32% of the 9,500 interviewed executives believe the quality of the product is vulnerable to damage, and 39% are worried about the loss or compromise of critical data.

The value of a company's reputation is at stake, making cybersecurity more than "simply an IT issue." Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, is one such entrepreneur who places a premium on safety.

Sensitivity of Ethical Hacking

A hacker is typically pictured as a lone male hunched over a desk surrounded by towering, gleaming computer equipment racks. Hackers get a bad rap because of widespread media; however, contrary to popular belief, not all hackers are evil. White hat hackers are those that practice ethical hacking. Due to the rise in cyber-attacks, more businesses are looking to hire ethical hackers to safeguard their systems from the more malicious black hat hackers. However, becoming one involves extensive study of hacking tools, methods, and penetration testing.

The need to keep sensitive information safe from hackers and other cyber threats is growing as more businesses move online. In light of the risks posed by such attacks, several companies are considering preventative measures, such as ethical hacking.

What is Ethical Hacking, and How is it Different From Hacking?

In ethical hacking, the same tools and techniques used in malicious hacking are employed to locate and repair security flaws in a system before they can be exploited. King says you have to think like one to defeat a hacker.

Different categories of hackers include −

l Hackers with bad intentions but exceptional computer skills are known as "black hats."

l White hat hackers are ethical coders that employ their expertise for security rather than theft.

l Gray hat hackers are experts in both offensive and defensive computer use; they may operate as security consultants daily and as black hat hackers by night.

Why do Organizations Recruit Ethical Hackers?

Today, businesses actively seek to employ ethical hackers to reduce the frequency and severity of hacking incidents. Discovering system flaws and assessing whether or not current security measures adhere to best practices are two of the primary tasks of ethical hackers. The next stage is to evaluate the company's cyber defenses. And also make recommendations for improving the organization's security policies, network defenses, and end-user habits. Ethical hacking, like self-defense courses, is perfectly legal and is used to protect against cyberattacks rather than launch them.

The Five Phases of Ethical Hacking

A white hat hacker would go through the same motions when testing a company's network. One uses it to break into the network, while the other uses it to keep others out.


Reconnaissance, or the pre-attack phase, is when a hacker obtains information about a target before launching an attack and doing so in stages before exploiting system weaknesses. Dumpster diving is an early step in the reconnaissance process. In this stage, the hacker does active reconnaissance and learns the in and out of business. And uncovers sensitive data like old passwords and the names of key personnel like the head of the network department. The hacker then uses a technique called "footprinting" to gather information about the network's security, narrows the focus area by, for example, only looking for IP addresses, finds vulnerabilities in the target system, and finally creates a network map so they can understand the network's architecture and exploit them. Domain names, TCP/UDP ports, system names, and passwords are just some details that can be gleaned from a network's footprint. Other forms of footprinting include −

  • Mimicking a website to impersonate it.

  • Researching the company via search engines.

  • Even posing as an employee to gain access to sensitive information.


In this step, the hacker finds a simple entry point into the system so that they may begin searching for data. Scanning can be done in three phases: pre-attack, port scanning/sniffing, and data extraction. In each stage, we see a different vulnerability that the hacker can use to access the system. Using the findings from the reconnaissance phase, the hacker performs a targeted network scan in preparation for the assault. Dialers, port scanners, vulnerability scanners, and other data-gathering tools are used during the scanning phase, also known as the port scanner or the sniffing stage. To carry out an attack, hackers must gather intelligence on their intended targets, such as IP addresses, operating systems, and available ports.

3.Gain access

When hackers break into a computer system, they can obtain access to any programs or networks connected to it and eventually gain enough user privileges to control any devices on that network.

4.Maintain access

The intruder gains entry to the company's Rootkits and Trojans and uses them to launch further attacks on the system.

5.Cover Tracks

Hackers may try to hide their tracks from security when they gain access. They accomplish this by closing all open ports, changing log files, and erasing cache and cookies. It is a crucial procedure since clearing the system's information makes any subsequent hacking attempts far more challenging to trace.


Ordinary people still need to become more familiar with ethical hacking. As a result, it increases the number of cyberattacks and security breaches. People have started to realize that hackers who adhere to ethical standards are the natural guardians of the system. Attacks on artificial intelligence are regarded as the subsequent possible risk of hacking (Artificial Intelligence is explicitly designed to hack a plan). Therefore, computer systems must take the same measures against AI hacking as against other advanced forms of computer intrusion.

If you are proficient in computer science, networking, and programming and have a solid understanding of the OSI model, consider getting certified in ethical hacking. Consider the various alternatives for obtaining a cybersecurity certificate, and choose the one that works best for your professional goals.

Updated on: 26-Dec-2022


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