Exploits are pieces of software or snippets of code that take advantage of a security flaw or vulnerability to obtain unsanctioned access. Ethical hackers need to understand the concept of exploits in ethical hacking to strengthen their company’s security. They can quickly identify exploitable vulnerabilities before malicious hackers and mitigate them.
Exploits have become a popular technique in the ethical hacking profession, and the advantages are many. This article will look at exploits in ethical hacking, how exploits work, and the types of exploits in computer security.
What Are Exploits?
Exploits are specialized software, sequence of commands, data, or a script that takes advantage of a security flaw or vulnerabilities to obtain unsanctioned access. To understand exploits, you must first understand vulnerabilities.
Vulnerabilities are security flaws or weaknesses within a network or system that can access malicious hackers or actors. It has been compared with an accidentally open window that allows criminals a way into a building. Therefore, if a vulnerability is like an accidentally open window, then an exploit is like the ladder or rope that allows the criminal to access the open window.
Exploits in ethical hacking refer to the tools invented to take advantage of a particular vulnerability. Not every vulnerability is easily exploitable. Some vulnerabilities are complex for hackers to exploit, just like not all open windows can accommodate the size of different thieves. By the knowledge of types of exploits in computer security, ethical hackers aim to find flaws and vulnerabilities before a cybercriminal starts taking advantage of it.
How Do Exploits Work?
As earlier stated, an exploit cannot occur without a known vulnerability. After the attacker recognizes the vulnerability (open window), they can write codes to exploit that vulnerability. Cybercriminals can launch an exploit attack in different ways. Modern ethical hacking techniques use this technique to trace a cybercriminal’s movement and think like them.
One way is to write codes to distribute over a network to discover vulnerabilities, such as the BlueKeep and EternalBlue. There isn’t necessarily a need for interaction between the user and the exploits. The user can even be sleeping while the exploits strike your device.
Malware attacks are another example of the use of exploits in ethical hacking. Let’s assume you’re traversing the internet and come upon a site with a malicious ad. However, the ad appears normal, whereas it is packed with an exploit kit that checks your system for any known system flaw. Once it identifies a vulnerability, the ad will apply an exploit attack to penetrate your device using that vulnerability.
Afterward, it will slip its malware right into your device. This type of malware installation is known as a payload. However, exploits in ethical hacking aren’t regarded as malware because they aren’t intrinsically malicious. Nevertheless, the risk of an exploit stems from what the hacker does after manipulating it to penetrate your system.
What Is an Exploit Kit?
Exploit kits are programmed threats that implement compromised sites to run malware, redirect web traffic, and scan vulnerable browser-based applications. Based on their automation feature, exploits kits are a common approach for distributing malware and producing profits. Some of the cybersecurity exploit kits include Rig, Neutrino, and Magnitude.
Types of Exploits
There are two categories of exploits: Known vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits. Known vulnerabilities are the exploits that researchers already know about and have recorded proof of. Ethical hackers will find it easier to fight these vulnerabilities.
However, zero-day exploits or unknown vulnerabilities are exploits that are not listed on CVE nor yet reported to the public. As such, malicious attackers have identified these vulnerabilities before security developers have been able to release a patch. Zero-day exploits are also more popular among ethical hacking professionals due to diverse results.
So how can you mitigate the risks of exploits? Your organization can mitigate the risks of exploits by installing software patches the moment they are released. You can also ensure that your IT team members undergo different ethical hacking courses and training to create cybersecurity awareness and understand different types of exploits in ethical hacking.
Explore Ethical Hacking Tools And Techniques With CEH v11
EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is one of the most widely recognized ethical hacking courses. EC-Council’s CEH is both a theoretical and a simulation lab-intrinsic certification program. iLab range centers on the most popular techniques and tools applied by cyber-attackers.
CEH v11 covers a lot more than exploit writing in ethical hacking. The certification covers all the latest case studies and tools that help identify and thwart modern cybersecurity threats. With CEH v11, you’ll have to find more job options beyond systems administrator, a hacking tool analyst, vulnerability tester, or a security auditor. Ethical hackers with CEH v11 certification are assured of having both business and technical knowledge.
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