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5 Phases of Ethical Hacking or Penetration Testing

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Phases of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is a term used when the Ethical Hacker hacks or performs the test for the vulnerability or threat on the computer networks for the company or individual. The ethical hacker scans the target and identifies the threats on the network which they are used to avoid the attacks on the network by the Hackers(attackers). There are mainly five phases of ethical hacking which are followed during security testing and those are as follows:

  1. Reconnaissance
  2. Scanning
  3. Gaining Access
  4. Maintaining Access
  5. Covering Tracks

1. Reconnaissance

This is the primary and first phase in the hacking in which the Hacker collects them as much as information about the target which may include IP Address Range, Network, DNS records, etc.

The reconnaissance is of two types :

a. Active Reconnaissance

In this process, you will directly interact with the computer system to gain information. This information can be relevant and accurate.

b. Passive Reconnaissance

In this process, you will not be directly connected to a computer system. This process is used to gather essential information without ever interacting with the target systems.

2. Scanning

After gathering the information in Reconnaissance phase the next comes Scanning phase, In which the target is scanned for the vulnerability through which the Hacker can exploit the target, The scans performed in this phase includes usage of various tools to collect information about targets open ports, open services, dialers, network mappers, loopholes, etc.

3. Gaining Access

After the two above phases enough information about target has gathered and from that, the Hacker might have got the leverage(bug) from which the target can be exploited.

The main game of hacking comes in the picture in this phase because the Hacker decides the way to follow to compromise the target and in this phase, the target is exploited and the access is gained on the target.

4. Maintaining Access

After gaining the access on the target system sometimes Hacker uses that machine as the base for the further attacks and from that, the whole network can be compromised so it is necessary to Maintain that gained access, Also the access gained system is referred as zombie system.

5. Covering Tracks

After compromising any system, the primary goal of the Hacker is not to get caught or leave a y digital footprint that reveals’s his identity. The attacker must have skills in Anti-Incident Response and Anti-Forensic techniques to cover his tracks. After gaining access to the target, the Hacker must clear all his tracks on the target system such as server logs, temp files, unauthorized actions, registry, event logs, etc.

The article is just to provide you with the basic idea of how a typical hack looks like. As you may have understood already it’s not easy and requires great planning and effort by oneself while following all the phases of ethical hacking.

Soon we will create a new article on the most important tools used during different phases of ethical hacking. If you liked the article to share and give your feedback and requests in the comment section and donate to malc0de if you can.


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