WHAT IS ETHICAL HACKING
Ethical hacking, cybersecurity's great ally
Hackers are experts, making them essential to companies threatened by ever-more-severe cybersecurity issues. These are the so-called ethical hackers or white hat hackers and they are employed to spot weaknesses and offer solutions.
A solitary individual, shielded from prying eyes behind lowered blinds, his face lit up by his computer monitor, typing indecipherable codes to steal sensitive information... This is the archetypical image of a hacker, which most people look upon as a 21st century villain. But the picture we have just painted is no more than a cliché. Plenty of hackers put on a suit and tie and walk in and out of large corporate offices every day. What's more, they are considered heroes!
There are many reasons that lead hackers — also known as software pirates — to invade our computer systems: from financial gain to boosting their egos, — competitiveness among peers, making fun of the system, personal challenges — or quite simply, adrenaline. However, this is just one side of the coin, the side that represents black hat hackers. The other face is less familiar, but is becoming more important every day: the white hat hacker, better known as the ethical hacker.
WHAT IS AN ETHICAL HACKING?
Ethical hacking seeks to strenghten security of an organisation's information systems. How? They launch supervised attacks to evaluate a company's cybersecurity and anticipate unforeseen attacks with potentially devastating consequences. Ethical hackers work directly for large enterprises or as consultants employed by cybersecurity companies. They are even recruited by government intelligent services!
An ethical hacker's day consists of analysing scenarios on a practical level. The first thing a white hat hacker does is put himself in a black hat hacker's shoes to attack a large company's security environment, for example. Once these preventive attacks are complete and the gaps in corporate cybersecurity have been revealed, the white hat hacker suggests solutions to seal these cracks.
HOW TO BECOME AN ETHICAL HACKER?
IT security jobs require computer and technology expertise. If you have IT qualifications, you'll find it easier to learn the profession and get jobs. If you already work in the IT sector, you will have experience and knowledge of — network basics, operating systems, scripting language — which are key for this job.
An ethical hacker's job also requires understanding and knowing how to use several tools. The following are vital:
- NMap, to carry out security audits.
- Wireshark, to monitor networks to detect data leakage.
- BadMod, to measure web application security.
To learn more, you can sign up for specialised courses like Red Team Certified Professional, Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Cisco network certifications and infrastructures, MCP professional certificates by Microsoft, etc. Becoming an ethical hacker is not easy, nor is it a short-term goal. Also, the world of IT, technology and security is changing fast, so you need to keep acquiring new skills all the time.
ADVANTAGES OF ETHICAL HACKING FOR COMPANIES
Nowadays, ethical hacking is essential to protect all corporate computer systems and networks. Ethical hackers are in increasing demand. This requires in-depth knowledge of black hat hackers' tactics, tools and motives. They also need to understand the enterprise's systems, cybersecurity teams and policies. Employing ethical hackers is beneficial to companies in many ways:
They improve cybersecurity by detecting possible weaknesses and offering solutions.
They prevent computer system down time, reinforcing security protocols.
They prevent industrial espionage and safeguard the integrity of client information.
They aware of the importance of cybersecurity and foster the improvement of internal processes.