The term ‘Hacker’ was first used to describe experts in programing that would use her/his skill to improve computing systems.
Nowadays, hackers are mainly known as people who try to penetrate information systems in search of financial gain.
However, during the past few years, we saw the emergence of a new type of hacker named Ethical Hacker or White Hat Hacker.
It is important to differentiate the various types of hackers. There is the White hats, the Grey hats and the Black hats. The white hats does all testings with required authorisations whereas the grey hats do not always ask for authorizations before performing penetration testing. However, like the white hats, their goals are not to cause harm. Finally, there is the black hats, who have bad intentions.
The white hats practices Ethical Hacking, which is an authorized bypassing of security system to identify potential data breaches and threats in a network. Clients of ethical hackers allows such testing of their security systems to have a better evaluation of their security level.
However, in opposite to unauthorized hacking, the process is planned, approved, and more importantly, legal.
Ethical hackers will check for key vulnerabilities in security systems such as:
· Injection attacks
· Changes in security settings
· Exposure of sensitive data
· Breach in authentication protocols
· Components used in the system or network that may be used as access points
All those points mentioned above will be tested with the consent of the organization employing them. There is a predefined scope of work and Ethical Hackers must follow certain guidelines in order to perform hacking legally. An Ethical hacker knows his/her responsibility and adheres to all of the ethical guidelines.
Here are the most important rules of Ethical Hacking:
· Before executing any security audit on the system or network, hackers should get complete authorization.
· Define the scope of their assessment and inform the organization of their plans.
· Report any security breaches and vulnerabilities found in the system or network.
· Keep their discoveries confidential. As their purpose is to secure the system or network, ethical hackers should agree to and respect their non-disclosure agreement.
· Erase all traces of the hack after checking the system for any vulnerability. It prevents malicious hackers from entering the system through the identified loopholes.
With the fast changing technology, it is recommended that organizations perform a vulnerability assessment and penetration testing at least once a year. If you want to know more about the different challenges of Cybersecurity, click on the link below.
If you feel that your organisation’s information security management system needs a review, you can contact us to plan a risk assessment or implement measures that are as per industry standards.