Who's an Ethical Hacker and Why You Should Hire Him
Enterprises of all sizes and fields suffer from cybercrime. Cybercriminals seek different ways to dig into a company's digital environment, exploiting and destructing data sets or other discovered intelligence. But no matter how sophisticated hacking attempts will be in the future, companies will develop more complex and impervious defensive strategies. Hiring an ethical hacker is one of them.
But before we move to white hacking, let’s go through the most common method of cybersecurity vulnerabilities detection - Penetration Testing, which includes several other methods.
Penetration Testing - What Is It For?
Penetration testing (white hacking, white hat hacking) is the most effective and informative way to detect cyber vulnerabilities. It gives complete, well-rounded analysis and helps to fix, reconsider and, lastly, remove weak points within the digital environment. Such processes could strengthen an enterprise, preventing financial and other losses.
The penetration testing method implies the simulation of a cyberattack as if it was a real hacker. The main advantage of this approach lies in the use of real hacking techniques and tools. Also, such operations are usually performed by ethical hackers - people who know such things firsthand. So the digital environment of any organization could experience a realistic cyberattack but without negative consequences.
Penetration testing includes several methods which allow to see a system’s vulnerabilities at different angles and test it at different levels. Those methods are:
In that case, a tester, or white hacker, only knows the target’s name, whether it is a big business enterprise, small business, or an individual user. This approach gives a wide-open field for “malicious” actions from the side of a tester. On the other hand, it also provides time for the defensive team to analyze and prevent the entire sequence of events. A double-blind approach is even more complex - security personnel are unwarned about the upcoming cyberattack.
This approach is a golden example of how well-organized teamwork helps to understand the logic of real attackers. On these terms, the defensive team maintains all-time communication with a tester/hacker to see what he sees or thinks and how he acts.
Such penetration tests represent the most common scenario of cyberattacks. The targets are the company's websites, products like apps or software, domain addresses, and emails. If a tester will succeed, it is bad news for a company and the reason to promptly fill the cybersecurity environment gaps.
This scenario skips a few major steps which real attackers usually take. A tester “appears” behind a firewall and then pulls out malicious insiders like malware, worms, trojans, spyware, etc. This approach helps the defensive team hone their skills, learn possible cyberattack variabilities, and neutralize malicious malware.
Who Is an Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker is usually a specialist whose main objective is to increase the company's state of cybersecurity and discover its vulnerabilities before someone else may intrude into it. This person helps companies protect themselves from people of his profession. A hired white hat hacker implements preventive measures by testing the integrity and the defense of the company's digital environment and local networks. Before malicious hackers invade, a hired ethical hacker will cover the gaps and blind spots in the security system, leaving no possibility for real threats to do some real damage.
The necessity of white hat hacking is well-grounded, considering how dangerous and widespread cybercrime is. More than 60% of business companies worldwide have been victims of cyberattacks, and, probably, many more haven’t found out about it yet, since the breach could remain undiscovered for years.
The described above penetration testing method is one of the most used tools in ethical hacker’s kit. His skills, roles, and objectives vary a lot, depending on a company he’s working for, but could be united in three main points:
Researching and Scanning
A hired white hat hacker should know all ins and outs of a company he’s collaborating with. The software it uses, the attractiveness for possible attackers, visible assets, all these matters are an open book for an experienced specialist. Constant scanning with vulnerability scanners is a daily routine of a white hat hacker, giving him a continuous picture of how good a system is protected. He could use open-source, customized (any experienced hacker has his own developments) or commercial scanning software.
Examining and Evading
One of the main testing methods is an attempt to circumvent firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (known as IDSs and IPSs accordingly), and deadfalls. Among other things, a tester examines security updates and patches for weaknesses and tries to penetrate a system armed with the newest updates and security solutions. These actions allow receiving practical feedback about the system’s security.
Planning and Implementation of Cyberattacks
An ethical hacker uses such well-known instruments and approaches as malware, spyware, man-in-the-middle attack, DDoS attacks, ransomware phishing, social manipulating, and many others. By collaboration with the defensive team, an ethical hacker explores and highlights all detected weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the company’s digital environment.Such an alliance learns from each other how to prevent, detect, and neutralize a cyberattack. On the back, it also generates an excellent, unique knowledge of how to protect, strengthen a system by fixing its weak spots.
How Businesses Benefit from Hiring a White Hat Hacker?
On the one hand, hiring an ethical hacker will make your system, software, or organization prepared for any kind of known cyberthreats. A white hat hacker service results make the cyber environment of a tenant company as adapted to the real threats as possible. Valuable insights along with great cybersecurity skills are forming a resilient and sustainable network. Besides, if an enterprise has CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification, it has an advantage over other enterprises that haven’t used such service.3.1
On the other hand, you have to choose carefully whom to hire. Since a white hat hacker will expose all your vulnerabilities, they must be trusted to make sure the company’s sensitive information is in good hands.