What do you think of when you hear the word "hacker?" Many people think of teams of hackers, sitting behind a desk, trying to infiltrate security measures for a meaningful gain, such as gaining access to:
- Critical data
- Login information
- Payment information
However, to counter these malicious hackers, there are ethical hackers.
What is Ethical Hacking?
An ethical hacker is contracted by a business to try and infiltrate a business's systems. If you have a cybersecurity team already, these professionals may also fill the role of an ethical hacker.
These professionals are paid to try and:
- Access your systems
- Break into databases or systems
- Override systems
In fact, your favorite software systems and apps have likely been hacked over and over again by an ethical hacker. Even Microsoft has its own team of hackers that are tasked with testing the security of systems and software.
Why Ethical Hackers Exist in the Business World
Ethical hackers may exist in many forms. You'll find that some will work to infiltrate your systems and servers. For example, the hacker may try to access your customer database and transaction information.
In other scenarios, these hackers will focus on your software's core features and functions to break through existing security.
However, the process is intense and doesn't involve immediate results like portrayed on television. Instead, the hacker will work through a series of steps, including:
- Planning out potential attacks and reconnaissance. The hacker will learn more about the software and system that they'll be working on.
- Scan the systems for common vulnerabilities.
- Work to gain access to the system or information.
- Scan for broken authentication systems to try and gain access to sensitive data and passwords.
- Maintain this access for as long as possible.
Throughout the entire process, the ethical hacker will document every step they take to initiate the attack. Additionally, they'll attempt to repeat the attack to ensure that there is a security flaw and what parameters must be met for the attack to take place.
Ethical hackers are considered "white hat hackers" because they work for the business. Rather than attempt to use the security hole for their own gain, they simply carry out the attack and help businesses strengthen their security measures to make systems safer.
Businesses must allow the hacker permission to search their systems for security risks.
In fact, the hacker will have to follow a wide range of guidelines and protocols, which include:
- Signing a non-disclosure agreement, which will provide companies with the assurance that the hacker will not divulge the security hole to third parties.
- Document all of the steps taken to initiate the attack so that your team can help repeat the hack and correct it.
- Undergo an intense approval system before being hired.
- Erase all information and data that relates to the testing from the system so that no footprints are left for others to follow in the future.
Ethical hackers are crucial to a business's security. If you have a modern business that uses any point-of-sale systems or other hardware, software or Internet-connected device, these hackers can help you strengthen your system.
Do you need help with your cybersecurity in Miami? Our team of professionals will help you harden your security to prevent unwanted access to your systems.