When you hear the term "hacker," you probably think of a devious person who is involved in trying to steal information from companies and individuals via the internet. In many cases, this type of person does exist.
However, there is another side to hacking and cyber-security that is actually positive. It involves ethical hacking, which is the practice of trying to find network vulnerabilities so that they can be eliminated.
What is Ethical Hacking?
When a person is involved in ethical hacking, they attempt to bypass the security that a business has put in place. An ethical white hat hacker searches for weak points that could be used by a malicious hacker to break into the database of a company. These vulnerabilities are usually found by exposing software or hardware flaws as well as system configurations that have been improperly installed or maintained.
White Hat vs Black Hat
White hat hacking is very different than black hat. A white hat hacker will conduct research on ways that they can thwart security leaks. They'll document their findings and discuss any vulnerabilities with IT and management teams.
This information is used by a company to improve the security of the system that they have in place so that potential attacks are eliminated. In contrast, a black hat hacker will attempt to get past security in order to gain information, let loose a virus, or steal secrets from the organization that they are hacking. Cyber insurance, for example, will typically cover damages caused by malicious black hat individuals.
Careers in Ethical Hacking
With the importance of cyber-security at many large companies, they will often hire a team of white hat hackers to test the vulnerabilities of their system on a consistent basis. Ethical hackers will also work with the government and the military to make sure that their networks are not vulnerable.
As technology continues to change and progress, the need for ethical hackers will continue to grow. You can get started towards a career in this industry by pursuing certification and becoming a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
This involves becoming educated in the area of security-related IT. There are many books available that discuss the subject as well. You can also begin your journey into the world of ethical hacking by watching videos or taking online classes that discuss various techniques used by an ethical hacker to test a system.
As you can see, some types of hacking are beneficial to businesses. By having someone attempt to bypass their security, a company can learn a great deal about the current strengths and weaknesses of their system. When it's required, they can use the information that the ethical hacker has gathered and strengthen their cyber-security.
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