While the terms hacking and ethical might seem contradictory initially, since hacking can be associated with bad intentions, this is not always the case. Ethical hacking plays a big role in the landscape of many businesses that want to improve security. Especially as threats continue to grow, we need ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities.
Whether you’re new to the topic or a seasoned student studying the online masters in cyber security, this blog post will dive deeper into the realm of ethical hacking so you can understand how it works and what the benefits are.
What is Ethical Hacking and What Differentiates it from Regular Hacking?
In today’s digital world, the term hacking is commonplace, and while most associate it with cybercrime, there is also another side of the coin with another purpose. Also known as white hat hacking, ethical hacking involves bypassing security systems not for their gain but to identify vulnerabilities within systems, networks, and applications.
The purpose is to help organizations understand and mitigate threats before they can be taken advantage of by seasoned unethical hackers. So essentially, you’re hacking into systems with the owner’s permission to enhance the security of the system. Therefore the key distinction lies in the hacker’s intentions and legality. It is considered a legitimate profession and aims to make the digital world a safer place for everyone.
The Benefits of Ethical Hacking for Businesses and Organizations
Businesses and organizations are continually looking for ways to safeguard information from criminals. While general security methods can work, ethical hacking has gained popularity as more of an active way to find vulnerabilities in security measures. There are many benefits to this practice, so let’s look at a few.
Find and Fix Potential Weaknesses
The main advantage of this form of hacking lies in its ability to help identify exactly where breaches can be made and address these security weaknesses before anyone else does. The ethical hacker uses his or her skills to provide valuable insights into individual security postures or organizations, which can vary drastically, especially between larger organizations and smaller, less secure ones.
Protect Sensitive Information
The safeguarding of important information is a major concern as more and more of us move to the online world. Ethical hackers play a role in shielding data from cybercriminals. They can detect weaknesses and try to infiltrate sensitive information that businesses hold, contributing to improvements or instigating change to secure this information.
Save Time and Money
Because so many of us shop online and businesses operate online, there is lots of money on the table for systems not safeguarded from hackers. If we can use ethical hackers to identify and rectify security flaws before anything happens, it means the bottom line can be saved. With millions being lost every year to hacking efforts, having ethical hackers to hold the fort down can be invaluable down the line.
Gain Customer Trust
Another significant advantage is the customer trust gained for companies implementing ethical hacking to improve their systems. With the proliferation of high-profile breaches, many customers are worried that their data might be at risk. If you can show that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect their essential information, then you will be in a better position to gain more customers as they trust your organization.
Ethical Hacking Tools and Techniques
It takes some skills and craftiness to ethically hack and involve tools to undertake these processes. There are many different tools at their disposal when they work to find security breaches within systems. While these are usually the same tools used by conventional hackers, they are used to aid in improving security rather than diminishing it.
The main tools that ethical hackers use can include network scanners, port scanners, and password crackers to aid them in their tasks. Also, methods like phishing and denial of service (DDoS) attacks can also be used to enhance the effectiveness of ethical hackers. In the world of hacking, we need to use everything at our disposal to stop criminals in their footsteps.
The world of ethical hacking plays a massive role today and will in the future. While the topic can be rather heavy, we have looked at its definition, some of the benefits, and even some of the tools used by ethical hackers. We would lastly like to emphasize the significance of continuous development of the skills of ethical hacking so we can continually keep ahead of malicious actors.
If you do have some hacking skills or wish to look into it, there are many career opportunities in the field that are not only lucrative, but also you’ll be helping society in the process.