Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking overview

As I mentioned previously in the Introduction, I am NOT a teacher. All I'm going to do is to share my learning experience with you, Dear Reader, and explain in short what I have learned. Even though I am NOT a teacher, the basic recommendations are still the same to explore this exiting area. So, what are the basics, and what do we need to start this journey?
1. First and foremost: We need a Computer with Internet access :) (I hope it didn't come with the element of surprise :))
2. You need to know how Computers work (bunch of zeros and ones together in a sequence to form data with different sizes)
3. You need to know how the World Wide Web works, and how those tricky machines, a.k.a Computers navigate. (Servers, Browsers, Applications)
4. You need to know what lies between You and the World Wide Web. (Networks, Routers, Firewall, etc.)
5. You need to know Theories and Possibilities. What a Hacker can do to you, what a Cyber Security Analyst can do, etc, etc.
Let's break down the last step, and I also attach a short history of Web development which I believe pretty much affected the entire world of Cyber Security. We all saw Hackers in films. We all saw their counterparts to defend some systems, and track down the criminals. These are real events, happening at this very moment thousand of times while you are reading this line. And now you reached the next line, imagine that within a few seconds, at least ten thousand hacking attempts took place and defensive actions were deployed around the world. Now you are at the next line, another ten thousand. Pretty Impressive, isn't it? You might think "Oh my god, They are coming to me soon, I'm the next in those attempts." Well, you are wrong, and also you are right. You are wrong, because you are not a millionare that holds the passcode for all the gates of houses in a .txt file. Also, You are right, because there are attempts that affects everyone, without exception.
Either you are right or not, the preparation and awareness never hurt anyone. Which means knowing the Theories and Possibilities can be beneficial to protect ourselves.
As I mentioned above, Cyber attacks happen all the time. Some important corporations are under attack 24 hours a day. Some attempts can be easily defended, but the others (Luckily a smallest portion) are quite powerful and may affect the life of thousands of people.
Due to the continuous and never ending Cyber attacks, defenses and countermeasures must be in place or to be monitored in some cases throughout the day. The basics of these defenses are the well known Antivirus, Firewall, Windows Defender, and many others. These mostly repel low level automated Cyber attacks and aspiring hackers, however, against a serious Cyber Attack, they are kind of useless. There are techniques to get through firewall (Firewall evasion), helping the attacker pose as a member of the network (Spoofing), Social Engineering to steal sensitive information via members' lack of knowledge (Spam, Scam, Phishing), and countless others.
A powerful Cyber Attack can only be stopped by a professional Cyber Security Team. There are also techniques how to do that, and if nothing works, they might consider other options like station isolation, closing entry ports, network shut down, just like in films.
Now we reached the roles in this field, that take part of the process of Cyber events.
Events always start from offensive actions. The people who do this called Threat actors (They are moslty Hackers, but they can be an old employee, or a neighbour with some knowlegde of harmful capablities). The most common and most powerful of these actors are Hackers, so let's stick to this name. Hackers are mostly divided into three groups, but there are many others.
Black Hat Hackers: They are the Cyber Criminals. They attempt to steal data, personal information, bank details, or even blackmailing someone by encrypting the files on the target computer (Ransomware), changing access to members (Active directory), injecting databases (SQL Injection), defacing websites (Server Side Request Forgery) and many other.
White Hat Hackers: They are the Ethical Hackers, or Penetration Testers, or Red Team. They simulate a real attack mentioned above, and instead of causing serious damage to any files, system, or computer, they provide detailed reports about how they managed to get in and how the target system can be more protected.
Grey Hat Hackers: Thet are mostly on thin ice. They have the ability to act as a Black Hat Hacker, and also to act as a White Hat Hacker. If I want to come up with some kind of similarity from real world, they are the so called mercenaries. Whatever we hire them for, they do that with high level of professionalism.
These groups have a powerful arsenal to get into personal computers, phones and networks to steal sensitive information, shut down CCTV, even cars, shutting down power plants, taking control of traffic system.
This was just a short introduction of the offensive elements, but we will get into their activity at the Ethical Hacking Journey.
Now to hold the line against these offensive elements, we have the previously mentioned automated defense, and if it's not enough, the Cyber Security Operation Centre steps into the picture. The first line of Defense is the so called Cyber Security Analyst. They monitor logs, analyse them, and if any suspicios event occurs, they report it to the Stakeholders (they are in a hierarchy). Once a suspicious event spotted, more skilled members of the Security Operations Centre step in, and take actions. It can be closing down ports as it was mentioned before, isolate infected machines, or restore networks to a previous state. The SOC team's responsibility is quite high, a successful hacking attempt that leads to stealing Personal Information like bank card details, passwords, must be stopped as soon as possible.
Now here comes my Personal view that brings AI, web and app development, and Cyber Security under one roof. Although I spent quite some time to watch interviews with professionals, read and investigate a lot about this topic, I may be wrong at some point.
Remember: this is my personal view, not fact.
In 2022, a Major breakthrough happened when the first official Artificial Intelligence was released. It's called ChatGPT. Within a few months, ChatGPT provided sophisticated solutions for low or Junior level of Web and App Development, and made everything possible within short hours. It made a perfect match with the high demands for various softwares, and the race among companies could only be won by more profit.
ChatGPT made a great job, but it wasn't perfect and required debugging. Now if anyone is familiar with software development, they all know that debugging a software may take way longer than writing the code itself.
Due to ChatGPT developing speed, more softwares could be released, but not all of them were perfectly secure. So the aforementioned offensive elements, A.k.a Hackers became extremely active. They are like hunters, and the preys are all the softwares released into the public with tons of bugs and vulnerabilities. Not every bugged and vulnerable software is a product of ChatGPT of course, but a significant amount of them. The holes were not patched, information got leaked, and if one day we get a phone call from an unknown number, we begin to wonder "where did they get my number?"
Software companies to find the bugs in their sofware released to the public launched the so called Bug Bounty process, which can be legally completed if we have enough knowledge in Hacking.
Let's take a look at Hacker's methods. How do they get into our system, computer, phone? How do they steal our data? This is a huge topic, requires years of learning and practice, and there is no human being on earth that knows every possible methods. Let's just do a brief introduction:
Social Engineering: This method is underrated, but it might have the most powerful results. I think we all experienced phone calls from unknown numbers, claiming you won a car/phone/holiday, and just need to give them your details to fill up their forms and the prize is all yours. The same way is via emails, called Spam, and it also can be many different topic, including dating, love life, gift, healthcare, fake jobs. To summarise in short: Social Engineering is mostly interaction among people.
Brute Force Attacks: This is a password guessing game. Hackers use a predefined wordlist that contains even millons of possible passwords, and the software attempts to use them one by one (of course, it means thousands per second).
Backdoors: This requires an installed backdoor on the target machine. The backdoor might be installed by mistake (Opening suspicious email and running a script), or intentionally, or even placed by the Hacker.
Shell privileges: Shell is the command line on every single computer. On the command line, we control our entire operating system. Funny, that once someone has access to our shell, they can do anything they want on our computer.
Exploitation: Many operating systems and softwares as it was mentioned before are not perfectly designed. The previoulsy mentioned bugs are just one of them, but there is a general weakness in almost every system, and it is categorized in an international database. Once we know our target, we can look for weakness, and exploit them. Once exploited, the system allows the Hacker to take control of the target machine by operating it via RAM. The nasty thing is that this attack cannot be detected, does not leave a trail behind, but can also be easily prevented by shutting down the target machine in time.