How to become an Ethical Hacker? Do you know what are the top and best programming languages used in Ethical Hacking?
When you talk about hacking, the first image that pops up in your head is probably clicking one button and hacking the entire Google.
Did you know that Google rewards people for hacking its products?
The reality is that hackers spend hours behind a computer, working their fingertips to input various codes. And so, the most fundamental step in becoming an ethical hacker is to learn the various programming languages.
To be able to protect something better, you need to first learn what it is made up of.
But before we get to know the top ten programming languages used in ethical hackers, let’s take a look at what hacking and ethical hacking is.
Hacking is the process of finding loopholes and vulnerabilities in a system and use them to complete malicious intents.
Ethical hacking, on the other hand, is finding and reporting these potential exploits using the means of hacking. It’s hacking without the actual intentions of hacking.
Now let us get into the top programming languages used in Ethical Hacking, you should learn to become an ethical hacker
HTML is probably one of the most basic programming languages used in ethical hacking.
It stands for HyperText Markup Language and is the most basic form of computer language. It is the easiest to understand and is used to design every website.
Technically, it isn’t a programming language but it makes it to the list due to its wide usage. Learning HTML will help you understand the various tags, structure, web actions, and much more.
It is an essential language to add in your hacking dictionary and should be the one to learn, to begin with.
HTML is a static markup web language that is a part of each and every website out there. From building Netflix’s website to every other website that you use to gain information, HTML plays a major role in development.
Moreover, HTML can help hack websites, web apps, along with hybrid mobile and desktop apps easily.
Here’s a simple example of an HTML code of a basic website
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
It is a widely-used programming language and is the most ideal to build a web application.
Some security experts even use it to build both front-end and back-end components. This language can help you explore both of these components of a web application as a hacker.
Moreover, to spread and reproduce viruses and malware, one can easily use XSS. An interesting example of this is Twitter getting infected with the StalkDaily worm. This was possible by exploiting XSS.
Python is a dynamic, general-purpose language that is used for various purposes such as writing automation scripts, testing the integrity of corporate servers, and so on.
Among all the programming languages used in ethical hacking, it is that one programming language that will make you socially active amongst your other hacker friends due to its popularity.
Python is one of the best programming languages according to hackers. The reason being, ethical hackers can use it to script their hacking programs on the go. There are many ethical hacking courses online that can help you learn Python, enrolling in them might not be a bad idea for your career.
Python is also easier to learn and its massive community and various libraries make prototyping, automation scripting, etc. a lot easier.
Moreover, these libraries can even find uses in a variety of domains such as artificial intelligence, data science, and so on.
Python is excellent for hacking because:
- Libraries like Pulsar, NAPALM, and NetworkX makes developing network tools easier
- Ethical hackers have to develop many scripts, python is not only quicker to develop scripts but it also provides optimal performance for small programs
- Python is very popular and has a huge community. So in case you get stuck, you just ask and get the solution pretty easily.
To acknowledge the popularity of this coding language, understand that Java codes now run on over 3 billion mobile devices probably including yours. This makes Java present everywhere, so it comes with no surprise that it is also used widely in hacking.
Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language that is designed to have a low implementation dependency. It is the language that powers modern servers such as Spring MVC and Apache Tomcat.
If you get a good grip over Java, you can use it to reverse engineer any of the billions of applications powered by it and can use it to identify mods of any of those apps.
Although there are many attacks that involve Java, here’s a couple that you should know about:
- 2012 Trojan malware: This malware infected Macs along with creating a botnet of Mac-based endpoints. It is a suspicion that the ease provided to the attackers by Java in creating the malware was the reason behind the largest scale threat to the Mac platform to date.
- 2013 zero-day: The attack was on internet explorer by targeting a zero-day vulnerability. While this was a reconnaissance step, it was intended to compromise the host in the future.
It stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (earlier known as Personal Home Page) and is an HTML-embedded, server-side scripting language designed to develop websites. It is a dynamic programming language upon which CMS like WordPress and Drupal, has been built.
WordPress powers over 70% of the internet’s websites and so having a deep knowledge of PHP can help you compromise or protect them.
PHP can help perform object injection, an application-level vulnerability that gives the attacker the authority to perform various tasks. Some of these malicious tasks include:
- SQL Injection: When you enter SQL in the web URL of the form fields, it affects the execution of SQL statements.
- XSS: Cross-Site Scripting is an attack executed by entering some data to your website that includes client-side scripting as mentioned above.
- Session fixation, capturing, and hijacking: PHP stores a session’s ID in a cookie which is the attackers consider as PHPSESSID. Sending this ID with page requests can grant you access to session information.
Furthermore, it can trick a victim to use a specific session to fulfill many malicious intentions. It even enables an ID or phishing attack.
It stands for Structured Queried Language and the main purpose of it was to manage data. This language used to interact with databases in order to add, edit, or retrieve data.
You can see why SQL has become one of the most favorite programming languages for ethical hackers. Learning SQL is very important since it is used to manage data in database management systems or for stream processing in a data stream management system.
While SQL itself isn’t a programming language for hacking. However, it acts as the doorkeeper to grant access to the database(s).
Whenever a data entry is made in the field, SQL receives it and decides what to do with it. If as a hacker you don’t know the fundamentals of SQL, you won’t be able to manipulate or steal data.
You’ll find SQL screaming, “You shall not pass!” at your entries
On the other hand, with some clever entries, you can confuse SQL and make it mishandle them. This could then lead to an information leak and even the possibility of you taking over the entire database server.
This is a low-level programming language and has the ability to easily manipulate and access hardware components such as RAM. These two highlights of C gives it an edge over other languages and thus makes it the first choice in the security sectors.
C even gives penetration testers the ability to write socket programming scripts on the go.
Now, C++ on the other hand is an extension of C with features that simplified programming. Thus, it is a high-level programming language that is widely used to hack or reverse engineer corporate software.
If you ever get in the mood of building proprietary hacking programs or reverse engineer enterprise software, you should have a good knowledge of C++.
Both C and C++ can perform the following:
- Building your own malware that leaves no signature
- Exploiting programs more efficiently
- Build viruses
- Create your own exploits
This is a web-focused programming language that is synthetically very similar to Python. It is among the best programming languages for hacking multi-purpose corporate systems.
With Ruby, one can easily write automation programs. It also offers superior flexibility while writing exploits.
If one of the most infamous penetration testing frameworks, Metasploit, chose Ruby as its base language, it can be considered as an ideal language for any ethical hacker to learn.
Here are the advantages of using Ruby:
- It is easier to write functional like codes and to chain commands.
- Consistent Object Orientation
- You can open a class with ease and simply add a method to it while having less coding and more clarity.
- Every method implicitly supports passing in an anonymous block.
Perl is a family of two high-level, interpreted, and dynamic programming languages. Initially, it had been designed primarily for text editing. But now it fulfils purposes like Linux system administration, network programming, web development, and so on.
Perl is like an old and rusty weapon that is still used by many veterans. A large sum of corporate tools is still occupied by Perl codebases, despite Perl losing its charm.
Building exploits, payloads, and backdoors into old machines like Unix software has its own thrill and a hacker will probably do it using Perl. That makes it an important tool to keep at your disposal as an ethical hacker.
Perl has integrated web-databases. So you can easily break into them if you are able to master it.
Perl being a generic language made for beginners, can signify two things:
- Firstly, it results in the users having the ability to insert anything in it without any restrictions.
- Secondly, beginners can quickly start with the real work but that’s not to say that experts do not benefit from diving deep into Perl.
Simply stating, Lisp stands for list processing. It is a family of high-level programming languages.
The veterans or old hackers made Lisp their preferred solution to craft new solutions for software problems in the old days. Today, Lisp is among the best programming languages to hack into highly complex networks.
Modern-day languages like Python and Ruby are quite verbal. In-front of these, when you look at the complex nature of Lisp, you will understand why it has lost its appeal.
But at the same time if you are able to learn Lisp and also master it, then you will gain immense respect amongst the community of hackers.
You can call, Lisp the John Wick of programming language. With the right skill set, you can easily perform any function with it, for which you otherwise use other generic programming languages.
There is a suspicion that during the Clinton era, the white house used Lisp to make their website. And now, Artificial Intelligence is also making the use of Lisp.
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