How To: Plan, Execute & Cover Your Tracks
Gone are the days when a teenager would spend hours on end in his parent’s basement, tinkering away at clunky junk computer parts and edging ever closer to becoming an esteemed hacker of software.
In its place is now what remains – our dark age: where hacking has become more than just something you can do with your hands but instead becomes synonymous for one who uses their mind as weapons against those around them; harnessing creativity like fire-breathing dragons until all that is left standing before him or she is scorched earth and eventual victory.
This new era demands not only technical prowess but also pure intellect mixed together into some potent cocktail of destruction they will unleash upon any foe brave enough to take up arms against it.
There are many misconceptions about how hackers attack companies. One of the most common is that they will just wake up, have a cup of coffee and decide to target any company on a whim; this is far from true.
If your company has been targeted, it means you’ve got something worth their attention – but if you implement Data Classification well enough beforehand, then hopefully by now, we all know what’s coming next: protection and countermeasures for securing those assets before disaster strikes!
These days, hackers are more likely to target a company’s databases that contain information about their customers and internal projects. These cyber-attacks can be state-sponsored as they’re less costly than traditional methods of warfare. The main reason for this is the ease with which these programs have been developed by governments in order to penetrate other countries’ defenses so easily.
Hackers have been targeting company proprietary information, corporate secrets, and other sensitive pieces of knowledge in order to get ahead in their craft by selling them off for a profit or using it as leverage against companies.
The decision to attack a company is never an easy one. Careful planning, coordination, and stealth are essential for success. The specialized knowledge and skills that it takes to attack a company successfully are not for the faint of heart.
Organized hackers use this specialization as leverage in their cyber-attacks, which can be costly if unprepared businesses do not have proper security measures in place. The success of these attacks is just one proof point among many demonstrating how organized they really are–and what could happen when you fall victim to a professional opportunistic hacker or revenge-seekers looking for mischief!
Hackers are a different breed of criminal that uses various tools in the course of their work. Some hackers develop these tools and sell them to other malicious actors, but skilled actors create custom-built malware with no parallel counterparts on the market.
The Dark Web is notorious for its black markets where exploits can be bought by anyone willing to pay for them – thus posing an immense security risk because it’s not known what resources are available or how they will act when executed.
Hacking is a delicate art, one which requires patience and strategy. The hacker is a cunning strategist with a well-organized plan. To execute a cyberattack, they must first gather intelligence on the target and be sure to remain undetected throughout their attack for maximum success.
First of all, each successful attack follows five basic principles that are part of the 5 phases of ethical hacking.
1. Intelligence & Information Gathering
The first step in a successful attack is intelligence and information gathering. This should be done before any other steps are taken because there’s no point in launching an attack if you don’t know what the target’s weaknesses are.
One of the first steps in hacking is to find a target. And while you might have an idea about who your mark may be, it’s important to know their strengths and weaknesses as well before striking. You can either do this through physical or logical analysis-or both–depending on what type of hacker you are yourself, but for now, we will focus on looking at things analytically only.
Hackers will research the company and find out as much information about it before executing an attack in order to have a better understanding of how they work. The type of data that is collected should be based on what’s most valuable or important, which could lead attackers to target specific people within the organization.
The accuracy of their intelligence gathering often determines how successful an attack on a target business is executed – with most hackers doing whatever they need to in order to gather accurate intel (from social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn).
Social media provides a gold mine of personal information for hackers to exploit.
Social media and hackers go together like bread and butter, especially when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other form that can be used in networking with potential employers.
Social sites give away valuable pieces of information such as your name, age range (you don’t want them knowing you are over 40), where they went to school if they have degrees from respected universities under their belt – which gives the hacker an idea on how much money is being made by this person – even what kind of car he/she drives!
The more data someone has about these sorts of things will make hacking into bank accounts easier because there’s less guessing involved without ever having met the individual.
Hackers are increasingly targeting executives of organizations as they know that the C-level staff has access to a large amount of sensitive data. An awareness training program can teach employees about the risks associated with providing too much information on social media channels.
Companies that take the time to educate their staff can reduce the risks of a data breach. The company should also be aware and give special attention to C-level executives because they are targeted by hackers with phishing campaigns.
2. Reconnaissance & Probe
As a hacker, the reconnaissance and probe phase is extremely important. A hacker will use the reconnaissance and probe phase to survey their target in an effort to identify additional information not identified during the intelligence-gathering stage. This often includes what type of systems and software are installed and how vulnerable they may be.
In the reconnaissance and probe phase, a hacker will use logical approaches (port scanning, phishing) as well as physical ones (social engineering). This way, they can collect additional information not identified in the first stage.
The reconnaissance phase is the most important part of any hack, as it allows hackers to find out all they need before attacking. They can identify which systems have vulnerabilities and other information that could help them get into more protected parts of a system or network.
Hackers are able to gather information about the exploitable vulnerabilities in a target environment, which will help them find systems with little protection. The reconnaissance phase is also time-consuming, and hackers gain key intelligence that can potentially aid them in gaining access to internal networks outside of their reach on the internet.
Hackers employ a variety of techniques and tools to conceal their identities while they target companies. Some hackers may use VPNs, proxy servers, or DNS services when targeting an organization; this is called “anonymizing.” It’s one way that the hacker can be covert about hiding his location from the company he is attacking. For example: even if someone launches an attack on a company from China, but it turns out that he really lives in America!
Hacking is a tricky business to get into. You have the chance of getting caught, but with enough proxies, you can make it difficult for whoever’s trying to find out who did what, where, and when.
3. Scanning & Identification
The hackers will use a variety of methods to probe and scan the company’s defenses. Nonetheless, with countermeasures, a company can detect these attacks before too much damage is done to their infrastructure.
The use of an Intrusion Protection System (IPS), network sniffer, or Security Operation Centers equipped with specialized tools for network traffic analysis and advanced Threat Analysis all help identify potential breaches quickly so they can be stopped from happening altogether!
IPS, Network Sniffer, real-time monitoring, and Security Operation Centers equipped with specialized tools for network traffic analysis are all effective in detecting suspicious activity. These can detect things such as unusual network traffic or slow down unidentified traffic.
4. Vulnerability Assessment
A vulnerability assessment is when a hacker gathers information about the target to determine how they can take advantage of any weaknesses. This includes things like what technologies are in use, where vulnerabilities might exist, and if there’s an opportunity for remote execution or exploitation.
The information gathered here also helps the hacker figure out which tools would be best suited for attacking their chosen target will work—and this data should provide valuable insight into whether it makes sense to attack over email (social engineering) or remotely via software exploit.
Consequently, the hacker may discover an ID to use in a privilege escalation attack to obtain additional access to the targeted company’s systems and applications.
Organizations may protect against this probe by implementing a strategy for managing their IDs and system configurations, which ensures that IDs are evaluated, configured, monitored, and allocated ownership.
Additionally, this procedure must include tight privilege credential management.
Finally, HR, information administrators, and the company’s internal security team must enforce a controlled “Leavers” procedure that assures the quick disablement and destruction of employee IDs upon their departure.
5. Exploitation & Analysis
In the exploitation phase, the hacker will put all of his hard work into action by launching an attack against any vulnerabilities and weaknesses identified through research. He could be exposed to detection during exploitation, which is why he must pay attention not just to what tools are at hand but also to how best they can cover their tracks on a network or system.
Sophisticated companies have the resources to detect and stop attacks in real-time, but most small businesses are not properly equipped for Advanced Persistent Attacks. That’s why it is important that you know some of these telltale signs if you want your company to avoid a costly attack: a sudden influx of phishing emails; unrecognized logins or access; data relocation; unusual connections.
Like the white hat hacker, black hat hackers analyze their attack results with a lessons-learned approach. Depending on how they feel about what happens after an attack is executed determines if and when it will be used again in future attacks. In either instance, these strategies teach them more knowledge that can eventually become useful to create new tactics for cyberattacks down the line, which becomes almost as much of an art form over time as any other profession or skill would be (particularly since there are so many different ways you could go).
Cyberattacks are not random, they follow these five phases
It’s important to know what you’re up against. Hackers are a different breed of criminal that uses various tools in the course of their work, and they have many tricks up their sleeve. In order to protect yourself from hackers, it is essential for businesses not only to educate themselves on how hackers operate but also to keep abreast with technological advances in cybersecurity so as not to be vulnerable targets.
I’m sure by now you’re convinced that being a professional penetration tester is no easy task. You’ve got to be on top of your game in every area, and it takes time and practice before you can even think about becoming one. But the rewards are worth the effort, so get started today!
If your company has been hacked or if you want help securing your networks, contact us today! We can share some tips on how to mitigate the risk of being hacked by cybercriminals – after all, we specialize in ethical hacking.