For those who are not involved in cybersecurity or for those just starting out, there is often a lot of discussion about ‘Ethical Hacking’. Can hacking actually be ethical? And what exactly does ethical hacking mean? Why is it necessary? And what does it actually take to become a successful ethical hacker?
The definition of the term ‘Ethical Hacker
An ethical hacker is a computer and network expert who, on behalf of the owners, tries to penetrate computer systems or networks to find security weaknesses that criminal hackers could exploit. So what makes it ethical by definition is the fact that the hacking is done with the explicit consent of the target.
When finding a vulnerability in the system, the ethical hacker will document the problems and provide independent advice on possible solutions. Even if a test is successful, it does not mean that the system is 100% secure. In this case, it is often resistant to automatic attacks or amateur hackers.
Ethical hacking offers organizations an objective analysis of the status of their data security. This is useful for organizations at any level of security expertise. Because ethical hackers have no prior knowledge of the company’s systems, it really becomes clear what hackers without prior knowledge of the company can find out after doing such a security test.
Some practical examples
Any company can hire an ethical hacker to check how strong (or not) the company’s IT security is. Sometimes companies just want to be sure that the IT person on duty or the external consultant has done a good job. There may also be an external incentive to perform an ethical hack, such as meeting a certification standard (ISO 27001) or in the function of customers requesting an independent audit.
A hacker test is also always interesting when, for example, you have an IT migration behind you or want to launch a new webshop.
As vulnerabilities in security systems become increasingly complex, there is also a growing need for ethical hackers. Their reputation within companies has increased worldwide. By proactively scrutinizing their security in this way, organizations are better protected and can save a lot of money in the long run.
To become a successful ethical hacker, knowledge of scanning, testing, hacking and securing systems is required. In addition, a thorough understanding of how hackers can intrude is required and practical experience is needed to perform qualitative security tests. Because of this extensive knowledge, expertise and a large number of skills, ethical hackers are increasingly valuable to companies.