In This Chapter
Examining steps for successful ethical hacking
Gleaning information about your organization from the Internet
Scanning your network
Looking for vulnerabilities
Before you dive in head first with your ethical hacking, it's critical to have at least a basic methodology to work from. Ethical hacking involves more than just penetrating and patching a system or network. Proven techniques can help guide you along the hacking highway and ensure that you end up at the right destination. Using a methodology that supports your ethical hacking goals separates the professionals from the amateurs and helps ensure that you make the most of your time and effort.
In the past a lot of ethical hacking involved manual processes. Now, tools can automate various tasks. These tools allow you to focus on performing the tests and less on the specific steps involved. However, following a general methodology and understanding what's going on behind the scenes will help you.
Ethical hacking is similar to beta testing software. Think logically — like a programmer, a radiologist, or a home inspector — to dissect and interact with all the system components to see how they work. You gather information, often in many small pieces, and assemble the pieces of the puzzle. You start at point A with several goals in mind, run your tests (repeating many steps along the way), and move closer until you discover security vulnerabilities at point B.