The word hacking brings up the thought of cybercriminals sitting in a dark room with multiple computer screens, trying to break into NASA’s computer database or something like that. The truth, however, is that there is more than just one type of hacker, and there is a type of hacking that you may not know about which actually keeps us safe, the ethical hacker.
Bharat Bhise HNA security founder has been spending a great deal of time recently giving speeches throughout cybersecurity conferences across the country about the importance of ethical hacking and how we need to encourage more people to look at this as a real career choice. There are even colleges that offer degrees in ethical hacking for those people who want to work in this industry, and the truth is that these men and women play very important roles in helping cybersecurity companies to create the very best software available. The people who do this job, of course, must have a very specific set of skills and they must also be incredibly passionate about what they do, this is a key role and here is why it is so important.
Cat and Mouse
What generally happens with security companies is that they create a piece of software that they believe to be incredibly secure and they then launch it on the market with such guarantees. What invariably happens is that the gauntlet is then thrown down to any hackers, who either hack for sport or for criminal reasons, and they will then try to find ways in which to break the system. Eventually, someone finds a way of getting through the security system ad for a short while the software company will be able to plug gaps through the use of security updates. Eventually, however, there will be too many gaps in the software, and the company has to go back to the drawing board in order to create some new software that won’t be vulnerable, and the entire process starts again.
An ethical hacker, however, will work with the security company and help them by pretending to be a hacker with bad intentions, and see if they can break the system even before it is launched on the market. What this does for the cybersecurity firm is help them to tighten up their software even more than they usually would, before it goes on sale.
There are a number of ways in which an ethical hacker is able to help a company save money, the first is that they are able to prevent any claims against the company should their software get hacked and business lose information or money. Secondly, this greatly increases the length of time which it will take for their products to be breached, essential leaving it a lot longer before they have to go back to the drawing board in order to create a new product, which of course comes at great expense. Finally, the ethical hacker is able to maintain a high standard for the software which is then rolled out, which ensures that the company maintains a high reputation and credibility. Nothing is worse for business than releasing a new product on the market only for it to be hacked shortly afterward.
Who Are The Hackers?
Traditionally this would have been a position filled by ex-criminals who had been caught for hacking offenses, who would work with private companies as a way of reformation or punishment, or sometimes both. Whilst this is something that worked very well, this was not a sustainable way of doing things because companies can’t rely on a new hacker getting caught the next time that they need this service. And so the ethical hacker was born and shortly afterward there was a university course which would help those with programming and hacking skills, to learn all that they need to in order to perform this job.
These days ethical hackers have never committed a felony and they are trusted implicitly with being able to keep the software of their employers safe and secure.
Ultimately ethical hacking has risen becasue so too has the rate of cybercrime which we are witnessing. In the past, it would be big businesses that were at risk of an attack but in the modern-day, that can be anyone and more and more we are seeing private individuals and small businesses at an increased risk of a hack. This is becasue we are more connected than ever before and each of us uses the internet and computers for highly personal things, which of course offers a real bounty for anyone who wants to hack into our systems and try to take our information. Ethical hackers are the ones keeping us safe.