When the processes of footprinting, scanning and enumeration are complete the next step is the system hacking phase. At this point, the process becomes much more complex. You will most likely go through the system hacking phase in more than just one single pass.

It involves using a methodical approach that includes but is not limited to the following
  • Cracking passwords
  • Escalating privileges
  • Executing applications
  • Hiding files
  • Covering tracks
  • Concealing evidence

The purpose of this step is to gain access at the operating system level, application level or network level. The attacker can escalate his privileges to obtain complete control of the system. In this process, intermediate systems that are connected to the initially compromised system are also compromised.