Ethical Hacking Practice: Places and Websites

Ethical hacking is a method of testing the security of a website or application by replicating an attack. Its purpose is to find and fix vulnerabilities before an attacker can exploit them.

Ethical Hacking Practice: Places and Websites

The practice is essential for mastery of an art. Hacking is mostly an art since it’s more about how you use the tools you know and less about how many tools you know. While it might be easy to get a basic idea of what a certain technique is about during introductory phases, getting comfortable with that technique is highly improbable without hands-on practice.

The majority of ethical hacking skills can be practiced with a decent computer and an internet connection only. Some of the skills may require additional hardware like adapters and controllers. For example, WiFi hacking on Virtual Machine will require an external WiFi adapter. Similarly, RFID hacking will require an appropriate RFID kit with the scanner and key cards.

Setting up a system for practicing will require download and installation of tools.

The best way to learn ethical hacking is through practice. If you want to learn how to hack, you need to take cyber security classes online. In addition, many websites offer ethical hacking challenges where users can test their skills and earn badges by completing various challenges.  

Ethical Hacking Practice: Places and Websites

1. PortSwigger’s Web Security Academy Labs

You must have heard of BurpSuite, the tool used for penetration testing of web applications. The developers of BurpSuite now provide free of cost online training in web application security. The training contains tutorials and labs on almost every vulnerability commonly found in modern web applications. Once you are good enough, you can compete with others in solving a newly added challenge before others. They have a HOF for expert hackers and provide swag for top performers.

2. HackTheBox

HackTheBox is a collection of vulnerable applications called “machines”. Each of the machines is unique and contains a set of vulnerabilities, the hacker has to compromise it and gain the required privileges. The good thing about HTB is that a large number of machines are already there for practice and walkthrough tutorials are available in case you are stuck. New ones are added regularly containing most recently found vulnerabilities. The free version offers access to “live” machines only, old machines and walkthroughs are available on a paid subscription. 

3. HackThisSite:

This one is very famous among hackers, probably because its founder got arrested for illegal cyber activities. The negative fame has helped well in marketing HackThisSite without significant efforts. HackThisSite is versatile. The hacking challenges on this site are called “missions” and are classified like:

  • Basic missions
  • Realistic missions
  • Application missions
  • Programming missions
  • Phone phreaking missions
  • Javascript missions
  • Forensic missions
  • Extbasic missions
  • Stego missions
  • Irc missions

As quoted on hackthissite.org, “You should Tune in to the hacker underground and get involved with the project”.

4. PentesterLab

One of the biggest platforms for web application security, PnetesterLabs hosts tutorials and labs on a very wide range of vulnerabilities of the web. But its quality content costs more than a decent sum. We advise you to keep checking the website for promos, as the courses can be grabbed at as little as 25% of the original price during certain promo events. PentesterLab has exercised on XSS, SQLi, XXE, CSRF, SAML related vulnerabilities, cross-site leakage, and many more.

5. HellBound Hackers

The name sounds badass, and the site lives to its name. It has articles, tutorials, hacking challenges, and a forum. You can practice web hacking, email tracking, software cracking, encryption challenges(which are decryption challenges), steganography, and even social engineering. Hell Bound Hackers have been under controversy for allegedly distributing “hacking tools”. 

6. VulnHub

VulnHub is a community for hosting and learning about security vulnerabilities. It's a great place to learn about web application security and common vulnerabilities. Also, you can check the heath adams ethical hacking course for a better understanding. The website hosts virtual machines with different vulnerabilities that can be accessed through SSH. When you find a vulnerability, you can report it to the VulnHub team so they can fix it. Once the vulnerability has been fixed, you get points based on how severe the vulnerability was. 

7. TryHackMe 

TryHackMe is another website where users can hack into vulnerable machines using their tools and techniques. The site lets users set up their servers and invite others to try and break into them using exploits they've found or developed themselves. This allows users to learn how real-world systems respond under attack while also allowing them to hone their skills by trying their hand at increasingly complex challenges over time as they become more comfortable with ethical hacking

8. Juice Shop

OWASP Juice Shop is a game that replicates an e-commerce site with several security issues. Visitors can hone their cyber capabilities by attacking flaws in a website that is very similar to the real one. Gamers can also exercise their bug-finding abilities since Juice Shop does not provide difficulties in a heading-wise order but rather replicates them on an e-commerce site. 

9. Security Shepherd

This OWASP fragile initiative focuses on web app and smartphone app flaws. The program is available for download on GitHub and can be installed directly on your computer. Skilled programmers can then work on various ethical hacker certification practice test tasks while improving their expertise. Users can also obtain help from hints if they get trapped. The tasks are centered on understanding the top ten OWASP problems and other frequent flaws. This platform allows users to take many different courses based on their expertise, from beginner to advanced levels. This is a reputable, ethical hacking practice website rapidly growing in popularity. 

10. Defend the Web

Defend the Web is another great website that offers free courses on ethical hacking and penetration testing. The courses are divided into web app security, mobile app security, and information security management system (ISMS). You can also check out their blog, where they post articles related to cybersecurity news, tools, and tutorials. The site also features an impressive list of tools that can be used by hackers and security professionals alike, including Metasploit, Nmap, and Aircrack-ng. 

11. OverTheWire

OverTheWire is a website that you can use to learn various hacking techniques and tools. The site currently has over 1,300 challenges available for users of all levels and interests. Many of the challenges teach basic security concepts such as encryption and authorization mechanisms. Others are more advanced and require an understanding of common exploits used by hackers. You can also play CTF games and compete against other players in real-time competitions. It's free to use, but you can pay for premium features such as access to private forums and better performance on certain challenges. 

12. Game of Hacks

This website offers challenges in various categories like cryptanalysis, reverse engineering, forensics, web security, etc. You must solve problems in each category and earn points based on the difficulty level of the challenge. You also get a rank depending on your performance in each challenge. Once you complete all the challenges at a particular level, you are promoted to the next rank, and if you fail in any challenge, you'll be demoted to the previous rank.

13. CTFlearn

CTFlearn is an online platform that provides users with various hacking challenges to help them learn the skills necessary to become an IT security professional. The site has many different categories, including cryptography, malware analysis, network security, web application security, etc. In addition, users earn points as they complete an ethical hacker certification practice test, which can be redeemed for certificates or badges from many different colleges and universities. The interface is user-friendly, and it has a large community where you can learn from other users. 

14. Root Me

Root Me is another free platform that allows users to learn how to hack into systems by completing challenges. There are currently over 100 challenges available on the site that cover several different topics like networking protocols (PPTP), mobile devices (Android), operating systems (Linux), and more. Each challenge has its own set of instructions, so you'll know exactly what needs to be done to complete it. This site provides an online learning environment for cyber defenders, who will use their skills to protect against attacks on their systems. 

15. HackerRank

HackerRank is a platform where you can solve coding challenges to improve your programming skills and get rewarded with certificates if you solve all the problems correctly within the time limit. The platform has over 1 million developers solving coding challenges every day to improve their skill sets in different areas such as algorithms, data structures, etc. It is one of the best platforms for practicing ethical hacking online, free of cost! 

Conclusions

There are several websites dedicated to ethical hacking. You can visit any of these websites to learn more about the world of hacking and can get a certified ethical hacker practice test. These resources will help you learn penetration testing and also increase your knowledge.  

Ethical hacking is not illegal, but some unethical hackers use the same techniques without permission. These hackers use their powers for illegal purposes such as stealing money, credit card numbers, and personal data like passwords and social security numbers. The main difference between ethical hacking and illegal hacking is that ethical hackers don't break into private computers without permission. Ethical hackers only access systems and networks with permission from the owner or operator of the system in question.