Hacking is a technical term for accessing data without authorization, which typically involves breaching security. However, it can be ethical when done right. In fact, the hacking community has set guidelines for hackers when performing ‘ethical’ hacking. As such, this community expects ethical hackers to adhere to these guidelines at all costs.
As more people become dependent on computer technology, especially when it comes to storing critical information, the number of hackers, especially professional ones, also increased.
Although this is more likely to cause worry, there’s a useful side to hacking when it’s done in good faith, especially when it can benefit more people. For example, there are professional hackers who are called on to test a system’s security. If they can get through, then that means the system requires improvement until it’s somehow ‘hack-proof.’ This is very helpful for systems that are either containing highly classified information, or powerful systems that should only be accessed by authorities, like the ones that governments use.
What is Ethical Hacking?
As you’d probably know by now, ethical hacking is an authorized breach of security systems to access information. It’s the most useful method employed by organizations to identify potential security threats within their system or network. If you or your business runs a computer system that you feel may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, check out Red Team Secure’s post and see how you can get a proper assessment.
Pros Of Ethical Hacking
With the rise of illegal hacking, more people are now susceptible to cyber terrorism. As we all continue to rely on the internet, we also leave more of our information online, which may be accessible to hackers with ill intentions.
This is another tech issue that ethical hackers can help with. If you think about it, it’s like a ‘good vs bad’ scenario. Both may have the same skills, and work in the same field, but the intentions are poles apart.
Here are the pros when you employ ethical hacking services for your business:
1. Better Assurance In System Security
When your security system has vulnerabilities that you’re not aware of, that’s already a risk. If there’s no routine check for system vulnerabilities, these weak points won’t be discovered until an attack happens, and by then it’ll be too late.
In companies that have a dedicated staff for IT, this can only be avoided if you have a cybersecurity expert, which most companies don’t have. Moreover, most hackers are very passionate and persistent with what they do, and would often sit in front of their computers for countless hours, and depending on their length of experience, they may already be at the same level, if not higher than an IT expert in terms of skills.
When you hire an ethical hacker, you get a better security assurance not only because of their skills, but also because they can mimic the behavior and mindset of real hackers. This gives your security system a better fighting chance against hackers because it’s just like using the very same weapon that they’d use against you.
2. Your Security Network Becomes More Robust
A team of ethical hackers will also help you beef up your network’s security walls. Depending on the potential risks and vulnerabilities they’ve identified, they may change or improve not only the layers of the system that protects your network, but also employ programs to enable your system to respond to potential attacks better.
So, if an attack happens, not only will your network be impenetrable, the system may also be able to log the suspicious activity, mark it, and even create an alert.
3. Fewer Liability Risks
Data security, in any business, can make or break your success. If your organization keeps records of sensitive information from clients, they must be protected at all costs. When your network’s security is vulnerable or compromised, there’s a big chance that these records will be leaked. Once this happens, you’ll be in deeper trouble because when your client sues your company for a data leak, you’ll have little to no chance against it.
Confidential and critical information is often the number one target of malicious hackers. And because ethical hackers are well aware of this, data protection is crucial to them. While they do work on the overall security of your network, they also pay a lot of attention to data security. And because they know the most common methods that hackers use to attempt to extract confidential information, they also know better how to protect them against exactly that.
4. Current And Updated Methods And Technology
Working with certified ethical hackers will also help you keep up with the fast-changing developments in technology.
Since ethical hackers have the best understanding of how illegal hackers work, they’ll also be able to supply you with more useful information that you can use against them. For example, they can warn you about their new strategies and give you advice as to how you can protect your business against them.
This also means that they’ll work based on the newest illegal hacking methods that they may be aware of, so you can rest assured that your network’s security system will be constantly updated.
Disadvantages Of Ethical Hacking
While the very purpose of hiring ethical hackers is to protect your business against cyber-attacks, it may also come with risks, which you should be aware of. Here are the biggest risks and how you can avoid them:
1. Risk Of Information Leak
When you work with professional hackers, they’ll require varying levels of access to your data, and in some instances, they’ll need full access to your systems in order to find all the weak points and get a bird’s eye view of your network. Unfortunately, there’s also a chance that your data will be leaked, either intentionally or unintentionally.
This is such a big risk that will definitely scare business owners. However, there are ways you can avoid this. First, discuss your concerns with the team and ask about the exact methods they use, and all the rules they have in place to avoid this, which will also give you peace of mind. More importantly, ask how they can mitigate the impact of a data leak in the event it happens. And finally, don’t forget to have all these on paper, preferably in a binding contract that will make them feel more accountable.
2. Risk Of Malware Attack
Another worrying risk when you work with professional hackers is the possibility of being exposed to damaging malware. In one of their many tests, malware may be used, among others, to simulate an attack. If this goes out of hand, there’s a chance that the malware they deployed will spread and damage your system.
To avoid this in the first place, make sure you only deal with certified ethical hackers with years of experience, and a reliable record. They should be able to present a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification. This way, you can make sure you’re hiring someone who underwent proper training and not just a DIY hacker.
If illegal hacking is a big concern for your business, you can turn the tables around by employing the services of a team of professional ethical hackers. While it may come with risks that are indeed worrying, you can easily avoid them by dealing with reliable and certified ethical hackers only, and making sure that you discuss all your concerns with them before contracting them. As much as possible, choose companies that specialize in ethical hacking, as they also adhere to standards and compliance requirements that guarantee reliability.