Every good company not only focuses on its strengths, but is also aware of all its weaknesses. The term ethical hacking is used to describe the practice performed by any company itself to identify any probable threats or potential breaches in their security system.
Ethical hackers use their skills to bypass the company’s computer system and try to break their defenses. However, unlike unethical hackers, they do not use the vulnerabilities found to their own benefit. Instead they document and report them to the organization they are working for and also advise the actions that can be taken to improve overall security and stop any oncoming threats. By determining and further eliminating any susceptibilities in a networks infrastructure, hardware, software or any operational and technical flaws, ethical hackers have become necessary for any high refuge organization. Their work includes permission to probe a company’s network to search for any security risks while respecting its privacy and closing out your work once it’s done without exploiting your findings in anyway.
The first recorded ethical hacking is back from the 1970’s, when the United States of America’s government decided to hire a group of hacking experts called the ‘red team’ to infiltrate their own systems. In more recent times, the hacking of Sony Networks online framework and releasing of 77 million customer records in 2011 was a huge wake up call for all multinational IT corporations to step up their game when it comes to security. Now a days, ethical hacker is seen as a derogatory word and computer security experts is preferred over it. Those interested in making ethical hacking a career choice can working towards a certification provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). The exam costs $500 to take and includes several version with multiple choice style questions. After succeeding one can become a certified ethical hacker (CEH) and can carry out several penetration tests for whatever organization chooses to hire them. If we look at USA’s statistics alone, the industry of ethical hacking represents approximately $4 billion and grows by 21% each year.
In the United Kingdom, the government launched a hacking challenge in 2011 to recruit and later select the most talented experts they could find in their country. They also pledged to spend 650 million pounds to strengthen their security. Even private businesses in the developed countries spend around $25billion yearly to keep up their defenses against cyber-attacks. One wonders why these countries are willing to spend so much on this. The concept is to beat the ‘evil’ hackers, if one may use the term, by playing their own game with them. Its point is to go through every possibility that a hacker may come up with and then to make your defenses according to that. Hacking is an art, and with the ever increasing technology it has become even more pronounced. It is for this reason that there is now a thriving industry, completely based around the concept of ethical thinking.