Hacking and hackers are popular topics that are known and uttered by almost everyone, yet ethical hacking is rather a mystery to most. In this article, we will explain what it is and how it can be beneficial for your organization.
What is ethical hacking?
Ethical hacking (also known as pen testing or penetration testing) is a term that covers the intruding practices aiming to discover any threats and significant cyber security vulnerabilities that can be found and exploited by an ill-intended attacker. Such vulnerabilities can cost organizations their valuable data, hard earned image or even billions of dollars. That is why ethical hackers exist. They try to find weak spots and issues of an organization’s security system before ill intended hackers do.
An ethical hacker seeks the answers of the following questions in order to help security teams improve an organization’s security posture.
What kind of vulnerabilities are there? How many of them are visible to the attackers?
What information or part of the system is most attractive to a hacker? Where would they want to gain access to?
What can a hacker do with the information they gain from the organization?
How many people in the cyber security team noticed the ongoing attack? Were they able to stop it? How? When?
What is the most suitable way to fix this vulnerability?
In order to find answers to the questions above, ethical hackers attack an organisation and test their security measures.
Why is ethical hacking important?
There is no doubt that information is the most valuable asset in today’s business environment. From government agencies to private companies, all kinds and sizes of organizations deal with massive amounts of sensitive and valuable data on a daily basis. As a result, they are often targeted by terrorist groups, hacker teams, cyber criminals and such.
In order to be safe and protected, organisations of all sizes take numerous security measures but simply locking your doors and shutting your windows can’t ensure your safety. In today’s world, organizations need to take proactive measures and update their security on a regular basis. Every day, hackers find new methods to penetrate through the barriers of firewalls, antivirus software and such, so your organization needs to keep up.
Ethical hackers, or white hat hackers, offer a new approach to safety. In order to test your security measures, they perform ‘pen tests’ on your organisation. In other words, they ‘hack’ your systems for you and provide you with insight and valuable information regarding your organization’s security posture. As a result, you catch the opportunity to see your organization from the perspective of a hacker without facing actual threats like sensitive data theft.
When you know how hackers see and approach your organization, you can update your security measures accordingly. Thus, you can make sure that the walls around your organization are thick and protective enough.
What are the types of ethical hacking?
There are different kinds of ethical hacking practices since almost every component of a system can be hacked and these ‘hacking’ performances require deep knowledge regarding that component. Below you can find a list of different ethical hacking practices.
- Web application hacking
- Social engineering
- System hacking
- Hacking wireless networks
- Web server hacking