When people hear the term hacking, they often think of someone infecting their computer with a virus, crashing a network and stealing money, or holding a company hostage from their daily operations with ransomware. Most people do not know that ethical hackers are people who are hired to think like a hacker or bad actor. They meticulously probe a company's systems to find any weaknesses and bring them to the attention of the business before the bad actors exploit them. Ethical hacking is an investment that companies in the modern world can't afford to do without.
Why Not Just Use Automatic Hacking Tools?
More and more lately, companies are buzzing about using the latest automatic hacking tool instead of ethical hackers to find vulnerabilities in their networks and software. They question why they need ethical hackers when they can execute an automated tool to find vulnerabilities while investing so much less.
Most organizations can't digest the long reports produced by these automatic hacking tools. They struggle to decipher the data and what to do with the information. Automated hacking tools are just tools in part of an arsenal that could potentially be used to help support a business's cybersecurity efforts. But these tools could never replace the sophisticated, continued complex activities of a dedicated hacking team.
Hackers will spend endless hours to bypass and penetrate systems learning every bit and byte. They become experts in the business' systems, gathering all the information they can find, and use everything they learn to form a sophisticated attack, based on a series of actions, causing a lot of damage to a company's systems and organization as a whole. Automatic tools by themselves cannot replicate all of these actions. A written tool can't discover a situation that it's not programmed to find, unlike a human who can observe, identify, learn and adjust.
Why Ethical Hacking Teams?
An organization will make the necessary investments in protection measures to ensure their data is secured when they are concerned about their cybersecurity and the price of becoming a victim of a cyberattack. Some organizations even over-invest in many different cybersecurity products to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect their business. But bad actors still manage to get in, due to lack of knowledge, wrong processes and insufficient configurations.
Whether a company utilizes all of the security options available or not, it is highly recommended for organizations to validate the immunity of their systems. Unknown players will target a company and use all the means available to them to penetrate their systems and products.
The best solution is to invest in a strong cybersecurity team that has the right knowledge and experience using ethical hacking to conduct high-quality immunity tests. These tests simulate the actual activities of real bad actors presenting the exact status of a business's security level and protecting their valuable data before an attack. While the team continually researches the latest vulnerabilities and uses protection measures to maximize the security of the organization and its products.
How Do You Find a Good Ethical Hacker?
A good ethical hacker is a unique combination of a brilliant person with a love of technology and a passion for bypassing it while still possessing the honorable qualities of trust, honesty and devotion to ethical practices. These are people that care about a company's security and will do their best to validate it and report their honest, clear and organized findings. They'll explain the reasons for each vulnerability and help the business to mitigate that flow in the most effective way.
An excellent ethical hacking team is planned out strategically with each of its members being an expert in different technologies. Together they execute complicated projects and examine all aspects of the system through different sophisticated scenarios.
Exceptional ethical hackers will spend endless amounts of time researching and learning about every system and thinking of creative ways to exploit design flows and procedures. They find beautiful combinations of phases and manipulations that result in an amazing but unwanted behavior in a business's systems and products. These kinds of attacks are essential to identify before they catch a company by surprise while damaging their finances, reputation and priceless data.
This article originally ran in Today’s Cybersecurity Leader, a monthly cybersecurity-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.