Ethical Hacking remains a term which hasn’t entered most of our dictionaries. For the uninitiated, it would certainly come as a shock, as the obvious question would be how can one be ethical while doing an offensive work like hacking.
However, you would be surprised to know that ethical hacking is actually a respected profession, unlike hacking itself. And an ethical hacker can earn a lot (now, please don’t say that hackers too, earn a lot!) while working for businesses or government agencies.
These days, cybercrimes are on a sharp rise, globally. With incidents of hacking, phishing, malware and ransomware attacks jumping by leaps and bounds, cybersecurity has become a growing concern for businesses as well as government organizations.
In this regard, ethical hacking is playing an extremely significant role in keeping cybersecurity threats at bay. Moreover, it has a more important part to play in the coming days and we are desperately in need of mass awareness, in order to facilitate the process.
Let’s delve deeper and unravel the brave new world of ethical hacking, which will be a deciding factor in our battle against the black hats.
Ethical Hacking: White Hats Vs Black Hats
With the cybersecurity attacks growing manifold, the call for cyber insurance is getting only louder, all around the tech world and beyond. In the worst possible scenario, we saw cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Labs’ ‘prophecy’ of more than 90% of the global businesses failing to thwart the next wave of cyberattacks, turning into a reality at the stroke of the new year.
While the wounds of the Deribit hot-wallet hack were still fresh and continued to spill blood, we came across the shocking revelation of the GoDaddy hack incident. When businesses, government agencies and last but not the least, individuals are marred by the fears of hacking, ethical hackers are helping out with a much-needed breather.
To go by the basics, ethical hacking is a critical process in which an authorized attempt is made to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, application, or data. Ethical hackers, who are known as White Hats, emulate the strategies and actions of the Black Hats i.e. the malicious attackers. This is done to check the chinks in the armor and take necessary measures to strengthen the security system.
In a way, this is similar to vaccination, where weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism (antigen) are injected in the body to trigger an immune response within it. Nowadays, intelligence outfits run by the state, are aggressively hiring ethical hackers, most of them in their teens or early twenties, to get the better of the criminal minds, around the globe.
However, ethical hackers need to keep certain protocols in mind while executing this immensely challenging task. These are namely, staying legal (having proper approval), defining the scope (working within the boundaries of the legal parameters), reporting vulnerabilities (along with suggested changes) and most-importantly, respecting data sensitivity.
Jay Bavisi, CEO of EC-Council, highlights the importance of ethical hackers in today’s cybersecurity landscape — “Government agencies and business organizations today are in constant need of ethical hackers to combat the growing threat to IT security. A lot of government agencies, professionals and corporations now understand that if you want to protect a system, you cannot just do it by locking your doors.”
Meanwhile, in recent times, incidents like ‘Jailbreak ChatGPT’ have blurred the fine line between the White Hats and the Black Hats and opened up a whole new debate altogether.
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