Cybersecurity: the Rise of Ethical Hacking

Business leaders must push to educate their staff about simple social engineering scams like phishing. But they can do more: hire an ethical hacker.

Simple firewalls and antivirus applications are no longer sufficient1 security measures. Since cyber threats can originate at any company level, business leaders can no longer rely on IT experts to protect their data alone. Instead, business leaders must push to educate their staff about simple social engineering scams like phishing and more sophisticated cybersecurity attacks that render intellectual property and personal data at risk. But that's not all. There's a strategy the management can adopt besides educating its employees: entrust an ethical hacker


The Importance of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity refers to the practice of safeguarding computers, tablets, servers, smartphones, and other electronic devices and software applications and system data from cyber threats and malicious attacks.

The use of computers and smartphones has exploded in the last decade. A few days ago, on May 18, an article on Boomberg said that cyber criminals are winning, and experts thing cyberattacks are only going to get worse2. Hackers and cybercriminals are astute and professional enough to exploit security flaws3 in most cybersecurity systems to carry out cyber-attacks. As a result, businesses should install and have top-tier cybersecurity initiatives in place to ensure online protection.

Some of the most common strategies (mandatory password changes, multi factor authentication, training against social engineering) put the effort on the employee. But the company itself can take big steps such as switching to cloud services. The biggest benefit would be the automatic update to the latest cybersecurity patch.


The Rise of Ethical Hacking

As they say, modern problems require modern solutions. With that, ethical hacking4 is the process of identifying vulnerabilities in an application, system, device, or organization's infrastructure that an attacker can exploit to harm an individual or an organization. Ethical hacking prevents cyberattacks and security breaches by lawfully hacking into an organization's system to look for weak points and find ways to strengthen them. Simple but genius.


Importance of Ethical Hackers in Today's Society

The importance of hacking expertise in an enterprise cannot get overstated. Thus, smaller businesses and organizations must seek alternative but reliable ways to defend their data and infrastructure from external threats. One must first adopt a hacker's mindset to catch a hacker — the foundation of ethical hacking.

Some businesses employ hackers to carry out research and testing and give bug bounties. On the other hand, some (well, just a few) ethical hackers do not need a bug bounty program; rather, they volunteer their services without being paid. For whatever reason they may work (the glory? passion? self esteem?), the bottom line remains: ethical hackers almost always work with the organization's consent and permission to protect their computers, network systems, and infrastructures.

A famous With Hat Hacker was Dan Kaminsky. He discovered a bug in the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol that would have allowed cybercriminals to perform cache poisoning attacks.


The Strategy

Companies can take advantage of an ethical hacker's skills and relative freedom to discover weaknesses and vulnerabilities and better future-proof their systems against black hat hackers looking to cause damage. Ultimately businesses would need to get testing done on their plans by a professional with hacking skills. Data breaches (among other cybersecurity attacks) are much too frequent and expensive to ignore; thus, investing in cybersecurity now can save companies from the trouble of future cyber-attacks.



A survey of emerging threats in cybersecurity

2 Bloomberg Opinion

3 Top 10 Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities

4 Ethical hacking

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