According to Matt Davies Stockton, the word hacking gets a bad rep for justified reasons. Over the past few years, you’ve read reports of hackers taking down everything from a major US pipeline to Ukraine’s state energy agency. Ethical hackers who fight against such attacks are rarely mentioned. Let’s dive deeper into ethical hacking and figure out how it is used.
- Ethical hacking – Ethical hacking is the authorized practice of identifying vulnerabilities in a system, an organization’s infrastructure, or an application and bypassing the system’s security to identify threats and breaches in the network. Ethical hackers investigate systems for detecting weak points that can be exploited by malicious hackers.
The aim is to improve the cybersecurity of companies, governments, and other such organizations. The entire process is planned, approved by the relevant authorities, and legal, unlike Black Hat hacking.
- Role of ethical hackers – Ethical White Hat hackers must adhere to certain guidelines while hacking legally. They know their boundaries and responsibilities and stick to them. Let’s check out how an ethical hacker works:
- Before hacking a system, an ethical hacker obtains complete approval from the owners of the system.
- After getting approval, these hackers figure out the scope of their assessment and let the owners or the organization responsible for the network or system know the plan.
- After that, the hacker proceeds to breach the system and report detected vulnerabilities.
- The hacker only lets the system’s owners know about the security and keeps that information confidential. Ethical hackers usually sign non-disclosure agreements with the organization that owns the system before they start assessing the network.
- Finally, the ethical hacker erases all traces of the hack so that malicious hackers aren’t able to identify those loopholes.
- Benefits of ethical hacking – Ethical hacking benefits the whole society, from individual consumers who use a service to corporations and even nations. Ethical hacking helps to assess the vulnerabilities of systems and studies the mindset of malicious black hat hackers. It is often used for defending and improving corporate networks. Moreover, with cyber warfare becoming more common, countries would eventually hire more ethical hackers to defend their infrastructure and state secrets from rogue nations.
- Skills that are required for ethical hacking – If you’re interested in ethical hacking, you need to have in-depth knowledge about programming languages, systems, security measures, and the architecture of complex systems. Here are a few skills that may help your career in ethical hacking:
- Scripting knowledge for host-based and network-based attacks.
- Deep knowledge of database management systems like SQL.
- The ability to adapt to the latest hacking tools that pop up in the market including Nmap, Kismet, Invicti, and Intruder.
- knowledge of multiple platforms like Unix, Linux, Windows, and more.
Matt Davies Stockton suggests that you start acquiring the knowledge and skills required for this field if you want to get into ethical hacking. You can use several online free resources and participate in hackathons or workshops to gain practical experience.