System Hacking Methodology (Detailed Guide)

System hacking is the process of exploiting vulnerabilities in electronic systems for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to those systems. Hackers use a variety of techniques and methods to access electronic systems, including phishing, social engineering, and password guessing.

Purpose of System Hacking:

Generally, the motive of the hackers behind System Hacking is gaining access to the personal data of an individual or sensitive information belonging to an organization in order to misuse the information and leak it which may cause a negative image of the organization in the minds of people, Privilege Escalation, Executing malicious applications to constantly monitor the system. 

How this is carried out?

This type of hacking is generally done by a Hacker who has a lot of information regarding the System security, network, software, and how the system communicates with others in the network, often called Footprinting and Reconnaissance. Then these hackers try numerous ways to carry out the attack but the common ways are:

  • By deploying Viruses, Worms, Malware, Trojans
  • Using phishing techniques
  • Social Engineering
  • Identifying and exploiting Vulnerability ‘

System Hacking Methodology

In system hacking, the attackers find and exploit the vulnerabilities in the systems for illegal benefits and unauthorized data access. For this, they find the information about the system, network, as well as relevant parts of computer science. 

Hackers utilize methods like email spamming, social engineering, trojans, worms, phishing, port vulnerabilities, etc. to conduct system hacking attacks because internet-connected systems are in some way vulnerable.

Searching for Exploits

For hacking a system, there is a need to find particular exploits in the OS, software, apps, or relevant systems. 

The exploits can be found using various techniques and tools, such as Exploit-DB and  Metasploit. Some vulnerability scanning tools like OpenVAS, Nexpose, and Nessus are also used. 

Metasploit Modules

Metasploit module is a software used to find the exploits and vulnerabilities in the target system or network. Modules can be used as exploit modules, auxiliary modules, or post-exploitation modules. 

Hackers must use the tool’s search operators to look for the module in order to configure an exploit. The use of many filter types, including module name, path, platform, CVE ID, application, and more, by the search operators aids in the creation of the appropriate query. It will display the list of outcomes in accordance with these filters.

Network Mapping 

This step is exactly as the name implies. Laying out an illustration of the target network includes taking all the resources, logs, target surveys, etc. to create a visualization of the target environment, this often looks different from the exploitative perspective.

Exploit-DB

Exploit-DB (Exploit Database or EDB) is one of the most preferred projects that shows category-wise exploits. These categories include platform, type, language, port, and more. These help in searching the exploit for specific circumstances. 

After finding the exploits that are likely to work on the target system, the hackers use these on Kali for carrying out attacks. 

Open a browser in Kali like Iceweasel and go to exploit-db.com. On the website, go to the Search option and click on it to search the exploits database. From here, you can find the exploits in a system. 

Gathering Passwords

Nothing poses a greater security risk to networks than the use of weak passwords. Hackers have methods for finding popular passwords. Furthermore, if the system or network is not secure, they can see the passwords exchanged in communications.

Techniques and tools like WinSniffer and Ettercap help hackers to gather passwords and attack the target system.  

Password Cracking

Password cracking means using methods and tools to crack the password of software, application, system, or network. Hackers can carry out brute-force attacks, use dictionary attacks, phishing, malware, etc., to crack the passwords. 

For instance, if a password is saved in the form of text, the hackers can use it to attack the database and get desired data and information. 

John the Ripper

It is free software for cracking passwords. John The Ripper is the preference of numerous ethical hackers for penetration testing because it supports fifteen platforms.

The commercial version- John the Ripper Pro, is also available for easier installation, targeting more systems, and better performance.

Rainbow Tables

In systems, the passwords are usually stored in the form of hash functions that can’t be decrypted. So, when someone uses the password, it is compared with the hash value to authenticate whether it is correct. The database used for cracking the hash functions and finding authentication is called a rainbow table.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities

Client-side vulnerabilities are those that happen at the end of the user, like a web browser. Since the server sides have the right security measures and practices in place to avoid attacks nowadays, hackers also look at the client-side vulnerabilities.

Post Exploitation

Post-exploitation means the actions taken by a hacker once he has compromised a system or network. These actions can be to access sensitive data, change user account passwords, or do other malicious things.

Privilege Escalation

When a hacker finds the bugs, flaws, or other errors in a system or application and accesses the resources that are not supposed to be available to them, it is called privilege escalation. 

The privilege escalation is of two types:

  1. Horizontal: accessing data or functionalities of users

  2. Vertical: accessing data or privileges of admins or critical users

Pivoting

The process of moving from one place to another in a compromised system or network is known as pivoting. For example, if an attacker has hacked a system in the network, he will try to gain access to other systems in the network.

Persistence

Persistence, also called maintaining access, is when the attackers look to maintain access in a compromised system or network for a long time. 

They want to carry out additional attacks, access more confidential data, until they get what they want to get. 

In many instances, they leave some additional vulnerabilities or points of entry to exploit the network in the future whenever required. Unless the victim fixes the vulnerabilities, the attacker can use it for several sorts of ill purposes.

Covering Tracks

Covering tracks is the process of clearing all the evidence that may allow the victim to reach the attacker. 

A smart hacker does this by clearing the cache and cookies, deleting sent emails, closing the open ports, changing or deleting the logs and registry files, uninstalling the apps used by him, and deleting files/folders.   

Data Collection 

The attacker is in the present to perform some activity, which involves extracting as much data as possible. Network traffic analysis is the key to this phase.

Prevention from Hacking:

  • Using Firewall.
  • Installing Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware packages.
  • Keeping the system up-to-date as security patches updates comes regularly.
  • Be Aware of various phishing techniques.  

Common mistakes which you can avoid, save your data from being accessible or penetrable by hackers!

  1. Same password for multiple accounts: If the hacker hacks one of your accounts, all your other accounts are up for a toss. The hacker most likely will gain access to other accounts as well. We recommend you to have different passwords for all your accounts, thereby not giving the hacker any sort of leverage.
  2. Short Passwords: When you use multiple passwords that are not complex, you expose yourself to the risks of attacks. It is the kind of attack when a hacker is using special software to hack your account.
  3. Using weak or no wireless encryption on your wireless network: If you have a wireless network in your home and that is not encrypted or using encryption then you are basically letting everyone to your internet connection. You are also helping potential hackers to enter your system. You might have your encryption turned on, but if it is outdated it will not help you anyhow. WEP can be cracked by most hacks, consider implementing WPA based encryption with a strong wireless network password.
  4. Using unknown flash drives: Backing up is important but be careful when inserting someone else’s flash drive or using it on your computer. External devices are risky to use and can be fooled with. Scan your device regularly for viruses to ensure that you are not a victim of hacking.
  5. Responding to Pop-up Messages and/or Unsolicited Emails: It is easy to hack your computer by this method. Treat such emails and messages with suspicion. Turn on your browser pop up blocking feature and consider using browser plugin such as nose clip to protect yourself.
  6. Answering Phishing Emails: 80000 users fall for phishing scams every single day. Most email systems have spare filters to catch such spams, but always check the sender’s name and email.
  7. Using unpatched OS and Applications:These days, it’s crucial to apply security fixes on schedule. Hackers and other cybercriminals rely on the likelihood that many of their potential victims’ systems contain unpatched vulnerabilities. These weaknesses will be used by hackers to break into the victim’s system. If you maintain your system updated with the most recent security updates, you can avoid these attacks.
  8. Using Public Wifi: Do not use any public wifi to access your personal information. These networks are not secure and can be a trap. As soon as connect to the wifi, you can give a hacker accessed password. This would harm your system and give easy access to the hacker.
  9. Turning off Security Features: People might disable their firewall to access a particular application, rather than troubleshooting the problem. They might forget to turn the firewall back on after they have finished working on that particular application. Anti-virus application is another application that frequently gets turned off, some people think it would boost their computer’s performance or another resource-intensive application. This feature secures your computer and data.
  10. Mistakes by Web Developers: Developing their own security methods which have flaws and vulnerable, moreover discoverable by hackers. Focusing on companies and not the overall system, adding security at the end of development. One must not store data and passwords unencrypted in the database.

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One Comment

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