What is Ethical Hacking and Can It Prevent cyber-attacks?

What is Ethical Hacking
1What is Ethical Hacking?
2What are the benefits of Ethical Hacking
3What exactly do ethical hackers do?

Ethical hackers are often portrayed as heroes who save companies from being hacked. While they certainly play a role in preventing attacks, their actions also put them at risk. So, what happens when you get caught?

Ethical hacking is the practice of breaking into computer systems without permission or authorization. Hackers usually gain computer access through social engineering techniques such as phishing emails and phone calls. Once inside, they look for weaknesses in security measures and exploit those vulnerabilities to steal data. Let’s explore more details about what ethical hacking is and what they do.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Hackers are individuals or groups of people who use computers or electronic devices to break into systems such as networks, databases, systems, or websites. Hackers sometimes target specific organizations or individuals, either because they want something from those targets or simply because it’s fun to see how far they can push things. They do this to steal information, disrupt operations, damage infrastructure, or otherwise cause harm. I call them Cybermonsters.

Every day millions are affected by cybercrime and identity theft. Many types of cyber-attacks include browser hijacking, ransomware, phishing attacks, malvertizing, Denial of service attacks, aka DDOS attacks, and the list goes on and on.  

However, not all hackers are Cybermonsters. Ethical hackers are also known as white hat hackers. They are trained professionals who use computer tools and techniques to test security systems such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and network monitoring devices. They usually work for organizations or corporations to identify weaknesses and provide solutions to secure the network. 

Non-Ethical Hackers is a group of hackers that do not necessarily intend to cause harm. However, some go beyond just exploring or testing the limits of a network and start causing problems. They sometimes don’t follow the rules and regulations established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They are sometimes called script kiddies because they learn how to hack using online games and watching videos on YouTube and are tech-savvy individuals. They are usually teenagers or young adults.

What are the benefits of Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is one of the fastest-growing careers in information technology. With cybercrime increasing daily, there is a massive demand for people who understand what it takes to protect organizations and individuals against threats.

There are many reasons why ethical hacking is a great career choice. Here are some of the key benefits of becoming an ethical hacker:

  • To be able to work anywhere – whether is working remotely or traveling around the world, individuals can always be able to find a job as cybercrime is one the fastest growing problems affecting governments, all kinds of businesses, education, healthcare, and regular people like you and me.
  • To become part of a rapidly expanding industry – the number of jobs in this field is expected to grow as the pressure to fulfill Cybersecurity jobs continues. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there is a shortage of over 3.5 million jobs.
  • To start with a high salary – the median annual pay for ethical hackers is $85,000 per year. There are additional bounty programs available for other income opportunities.
  • To make a difference in the cyber world – while being paid well, you’ll be doing something good for others too. Protecting organizations and individuals against online threats and Cybermonsters can make a tremendous difference so people and companies can have Peace of Mind Online. 
  • To develop and continue expanding technical knowledge – ethical hacking requires a lot of technical know-how. Individuals need to master programming languages, operating systems, networking protocols, and so much more to succeed.

What exactly do ethical hackers do?

Ethical hacking requires you to know what you’re doing and how to break things. A white hat hacker does everything within reason to keep systems safe, secure, and reliable. He/she/they doesn’t try to break into computers to see how far he/she/they can go; instead, white hats focus on helping companies improve their security.

White hats don’t necessarily work for law enforcement agencies, although some do. Instead, they work for large corporations, government institutions, and smaller businesses. So if you want to become an ethical hacker, here are some tips.

1. Study up

You’ll need to understand basic concepts like networking, operating systems, and programming languages. You’ll also need to know how to identify potential problems. For example, if someone tries to log onto your server without permission, you’ll need to figure out why.

2. Get certified

There are several certification programs available online. Two popular ones include CompTIA Security+ and EC Council Certified Secure Programmer. These certifications show employers that you have the skills to protect data and prevent attacks.

3. Find a mentor

I am blessed that mentors have shown up throughout my life in the form of teachers, coaches, classmates, teammates, coworkers, supervisors, and even strangers to offer wisdom and guidance. When I started my career in Cybersecurity, Dave Tyson was my mentor, and then he became my boss. Then many leaders in the industry contributed to my career success and helped me find what areas I’m most passionate about in the cyber world. Today you can reach out to Cybersecurity leaders on social media platforms and ask for their advice and mentorship.

Whether you become an ethical hacker, a cybersecurity professional, or continue with a different career unrelated to technology, my biggest advice is to find your passion. Find what makes you happy and fulfilled. 

I love Confucius’s quote

 “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” 

What are the characteristics of a job you love? Share below!


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Live Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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