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An Introduction to Hacking (Pen Testing)

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By: Mahroof CM

November 25, 2016

Now-a-days most of the people are crazy and desire to become a hacker, hacking is not an art that can be mastered overnight. It requires knowledge, skills, creativity, dedication and of course the time. In simple, hacking is a technical skill of a person. So it is good to have some extra skills or knowledge about hacking.
A hacker is someone who likes to play with electronics or computer systems. Hackers like to explore and learn how computer systems work. They try to take advantage of vulnerabilities or weakness of a software and hardware. Hacking is the process of getting unauthorized access to a system, network or resources.

What Does Vulnerability Mean?

   Today computer software is very complex and it contains thousands of lines of code. Since software is written by humans, so it may contain programming mistakes which are known as vulnerabilities. These loopholes are used by hackers to break into systems, they are also used by authors of malicious software to launch their programs automatically on your computer.
A person who is involved in hacking is called a hacker. Hacking is not always illegal. Now-a-days it is a profession. Companies hire hackers to break into their security to know the security holes in their security systems. These people are typically called "Penetration Testers" because they find, exploit, and report vulnerabilities back to a company who has hired them. *Note, this is an ethical practice only when the service is requested by a company/individual. Do not perform these types of attacks/research on companies without permission.

Characteristics of a Hacker

  •  Person who thinks different
  •  Person who is interested in hacking and cracking
  •  Person who can learn programming quickly
  •  Person who enjoys doing programming rather than its theory
  •  Person who is loves computer and Internet
  •  Person who is interested to know how a computer, website and network devices works
So let’s start with basic of hacking. First, we have to understand the different types of hackers. There are mainly three types of hackers: 
 1. Black Hat Hackers
  2. White Hat Hackers
3. Gray Hat Hackers

1. Black Hat Hackers

These are all the bad guys, these people usually use their skills  for their own personal gains or fun.
This category of hackers is also known as "CRACKERS". These people are always tempted to gain a privilege of someone's system without authorization or permission. Usually, they work individually, but as a team, they can be deadly and their impact can cause trouble to a greater extent. They are the people that hack banks, steal credit cards, and deface websites etc.

2. White Hat Hackers

These are all the good guys, white Hackers are the lifesaving angels, 
these categories of hackers are also known as "ETHICAL HACKERS". These people don't use their skills for illegal purposes.
Usually, they are the Computer Security experts and helps to protect people from the hacking, they perform security tests with authorization and break the security to know the security holes in their security systems. These are people who write Anti -Virus programs and spend their time to fighting malware.

3. Gray Hat Hackers

These are all the both good and bad guys. This category of hackers hack for both good and bad, in short, they help and harm. Most of the people fall into this category.

Hierarchy of Hackers

Depends on the skill level of a hacker we can mainly divide them into three types:
                                             1. Elite Hackers                                             2. Intermediate hackers 
                                             3. Script kiddies

1. Elite Hackers

These are the skilled hackers, they are nothing but the programmers. They know how the system, network protocols, operating system works. They are the ones who write the many hacker tools and exploits (exploits a piece of code that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability in a piece of software that allows you to take control of a computer system),they can change the operating systems, they can write programs like virus, malware  etc.

2. Intermediate hackers

These people usually know about computers, networks, and have enough programming knowledge to understand relatively what a script can do, but these people will not develop any tools, viruses, malware or operating systems, they use pre-developed tools which elite hackers developed. 

3. Script kiddies

These are all the low-level hackers, they don’t know any technical things, like how programs, operating system, networks working etc.They usually don’t have hacking skills and they use the tools developed by other hackers (Elite Hackers) without any knowledge of what’s happening behind the scenes. They know simply how to use it that’s it.

Finally, we reach the question: Why do people hack?

People hack for different purposes, but the main reason is to acquire or access data, and it could be for good or bad reasons. For example, a person is coming to you and saying that an operating system is crashed or dead, so data recovery is necessary from my system so that you can hack into his system for the data recovery usually using some Linux live cd or Hiren's BootCD. So using this we can access the data from his computer hard disk. It is hacking for good, for bad means hacking to access credit card details, passwords etc. 

How to Start

First of all, you need to know that there is no trick or overnight process to be a hacker. There are hacking tricks and tools, but hacking is beyond the tricks and tools. Tricks and Tools are only a small part of it. If you really want to know how to be a hacker, you should follow many things with dedication and practice so many things a lot.Becoming a great hacker is not easy and it doesn’t happen quickly. You should have creative thoughts a lot. Because there is more than one way to solve a problem, and as a hacker, you encounter many problems. Another huge quality you must have is the will to learn because, without it, you will get nowhere. Because Knowledge is power, Patience is also a must be required because many topics can be difficult to grasp and only over time will you master of them.

Learn Programming

You may ask, "Do I need to learn a programming language?". The answer is both yes and no, it all depends on your goal. You can be a good hacker without knowing programming, but it is better to learn a programming language because tools have limits and therefore limit how far you can go/what you can do as a hacker. Don't solely rely on tools to do things that you can know and learn. So learn how things work. You should know how it works.
So programming is the most important thing that you should learn.  Like C, Java, PHP, Python, JavaScript and few other programming languages.  If you are good at programming, you will be able to create your own scripts and exploits to help you while hacking. It also helps you in analyzing things. If you are a good programmer, you can easily understand how web application or software works. It helps you in breaking it. 
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