Ethical hacking plays a key role in network security. The term "white hat" is often used to refer to ethical hackers. Ethical hacking is a key component of the computer and network security that checks security hygiene. The key responsibility of an ethical hacker is to employ different modes of well-defined practices to break the security of the system.
Ethical hacking is a proactive hacking used to find security loop-holes in the infrastructure, network, and system. This is used to identify potential security vulnerabilities and data breaches.
Ethical hackers often use the same tools used by malicious hackers, but this is done with proper authorization and the main intent is to pinpoint security weakness in the network.
Is ethical hacking legal?
While ethical hacking is still considered hacking of a system, yet it is a beneficial process to maintain the security of the network. This is done with complete authorization and perusal of the network or business owner. This includes penetration testing or using other popular tools to hack networks.
Businesses employ ethical hackers to simulate actual hacking or data breach attacks. Since this is done with complete authorization of the business owner, ethical hacking is legal.
Why is ethical hacking important?
Ethical hacking requires in-depth and advance network expertise to scan vulnerabilities. This is one of the best ways for any organization to identify security flaws in a network and consider employing corrective measures.
An actual network hack or data breach by a malicious user can be extremely risky and would damage the brand of the organization. Ethical hacking helps an organization to remain proactive and prevent such attacks.
Several organizations employ full-time ethical hackers or consultants who can provide ethical hacking services based on the organization's business. Every business domain is different and has different security needs. For instance, credit bureaus or banks maintain personally identifiable information (PII) and require more stringent security measures. Similarly, an online retailer will have a different security need where payments need to be secure.
Each business has different security requirements in which a professional ethical hacker can identify and employ security checks based on the business type. To make an organization's security more robust, ethical hacking is extremely important.
What is the difference between ethical hacking and hacking?
It is important to identify the difference between an ethical hacker and a malicious hacker. Similarly, it is important to know the difference between ethical hacking and hacking. The biggest difference is whether the hacking is done with the permission or not.
Some of the key differences are as highlighted below:
- Ethical hacking requires the approval and authorization of the organization. Hacking refers to a malicious user gaining unauthorized access to the network.
- Ethical hacking is done with the intention to employ corrective measures to fix the security vulnerabilities identified in the network. Hacking is done with destructive intent and to gain unauthorized network access, sniff packets, capture PII data, bring a bad reputation to a company, employ data breach attacks, install malware or ransomware.
- Ethical hacking is not hidden from the organization and is done with complete perusal. Hacking is hidden and is hard to detect. Many times, hacking remains undetected for several months. Hacking attacks are hard to identify and trace. Hacking is reported to cyber experts to identify and trace the root of the attack.
- Ethical hackers identify and also provide remediation for security vulnerabilities. Hacking is done with malicious intent does not include these.
- Ethical hackers use pre-defined tools and practices to break networks and scan for vulnerabilities. Hacking is hard to detect owing to the multiple tools which are used. With an improvement in cybersecurity techniques, malicious hackers employ more sophisticated techniques to employ a hacking attack.
- Ethical hackers are approved individuals belonging to an organization and working as ethical hackers. Malicious hackers do not possess any such profile and can be any individual trying to gain unauthorized access to a network.
- White hats refer to ethical hackers. Black hats refer to malicious hackers.
Roles and responsibilities of Ethical Hackers
Ethical hacking is one of the complex profiles in network security. As an ethical hacker an individual would have to do the following:
- Identify system security issues, vulnerabilities, and security pitfalls.
- Identify vulnerable entry points.
- Identify different attacks that are possible on the network and ways a malicious hacker can disrupt the network.
- Provide remediation to security issues and guide to fix network flaws.
- Identify business security requirements and risks.
- Employ re-attacks once a security upgrade has been placed to identify relapse of any identified security issues.
- Provide security reports, scans and analysis of network hygiene
- Need to be abreast of the latest vulnerabilities, attacks, and tools available in the market.
- Identify illegal access or activity in the network.
- At various stages, promote and reinforce security guidelines to various groups in the organization.
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