With the increase of cyber-attacks people fear the name “hacker”. Hackers do have the means to attempt and execute cyber-attacks. However, not all hackers are necessarily the bad guy. There are different kinds of hackers in the world of IT and its security. There is also another differentiation between hackers and crackers that you can find on an other article in our blog. Ethical hacking is one of the many types of hacking. What is ethical hacking? Who is an ethical hacker? What do they do? What are they good for? These are the questions at hand in this piece.
Ethical hacking is the act of penetrating a system with prior authorization. The use of this method of hacking is to find risks of the targeted system. In hacking terminology, the ethical hacker penetrates a system to identify and exploit its vulnerabilities. These risks can be external or internal to the data and the system’s features. Organizations and owners of system with sensitive data tend to use ethical hacking to preemptively protect their system.
With the pacy growth of technology hackers find more ways to hack into systems. If an organization wants to keep up to date in security matters they need to improve their systems’ security. Using the ethical hacking is the way to do so.
Ethical hackers are actually certified to ensure the minimum standards of credentialed individuals. It’s only a way to be sure who you are handing your critical data to. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification is a way to make these hackers trust-able to some extent. However, big organizations now know the importance of an ethical hacker. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security has deployed ethical hackers to find the weaknesses of the system.
What do they do?
Basically, a certified ethical hacker uses the same knowledge and tools a malicious hacker uses to penetrate to a system. In this way they can find the vulnerabilities exposed to the malicious hacker. Finding the weak points is the first stage of ethical hacking. Here they find new methods that can put the system at risk and mercy of the bad hackers. This stage is labeled under the “pen testing” or “penetration testing”.
Penetration testing can be both done automatically or manually. It can be done on computer system, network or web application.
This weakness revealing action is also called “white hat attack“. Pen testing has itself has three different approaches. Here we briefly go through these three approaches.
In this approach the external systems are at test. Web servers and DNS servers are the external systems that can be the target of attacks. Ethical hacker tries to find problems like DNS threats or DNS leak.
The authorized hacker will go through the system to find out vulnerabilities related to internal users. Users in the system have privileges and that can itself be a way to damage the system from within.
This is the approach in which the ethical hacker analyze the system to find the ways other hackers can attempt their attacks.
The main purpose, and the second stage is to help fix the problems. Ethical hackers provide the systems with security patches. Firstly they reveal the break entry points and then try to fix it. Thus knowing the weak spots and the method through which the system might face a security danger can help the IT and network system managers. They can prioritize their curative and preventive measures.
Hacking Yourself is Benefical
As we discussed in this article, with the new technologies there are new ways to bring damage to systems. If you want to keep your systems’ security up to date, you have to keep up with the threats. Consequently staying tuned with the new threats to your system can be a major help. Ethical hacking gives you this opportunity.
Needless to say, it is very important you pick the professional and certified ethical hackers. Obviously you don’t want to hand over your system security data to a hacker who might turn on you.