Cybersecurity, Simplified: Ethical Hacking 

October 15th, 2020

The worst way to find vulnerabilities in your company’s data security is when you’ve been robbed - when a cybercriminal utilizes these weak points to gain unauthorized access to your sensitive systems and data.

The best way to find out you have vulnerabilities in your network? By having an “ethical hacker - sometimes referred to as a “white hat hacker” - test your system’s security and report back any vulnerabilities. Using a trained security professional to “attack” your system (ethical hacking) you can fix problems before a real cybersecurity takes advantage of them.

Ethical Hacking

Who uses Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking can benefit all businesses, regardless of company size. Cybercriminals (black hat hackers) use a variety of methods and tools to regularly test the cyber defenses of companies, both large and small, for weak entry points where they can deploy their attack. Also known as penetration testing, this security tactic allows you to discover weaknesses and remedy them before they can be exploited.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical Hacking is a general cybersecurity strategy that uses ethical cybersecurity professionals as well as state-of-the-art automated tools to launch controlled attacks against an organization’s networks and data, with the object of discovering vulnerabilities that can subsequently be patched or corrected. Ethical hacking is a safe and controlled method for uncovering deeper, company-wide data security vulnerabilities that might get overlooked.

Once white hat hackers have completed their testing , you will receive a detailed report that showing exactly which weakness or “holes” in your systems were uncovered, as well as the relative impact and risk of each of these vulnerabilities. The report also includes remediation recommendations that are based on the findings of the white hat hackers.

Ethical Hacker Penetration Testing

There is no standard penetration test and there are many types of penetration testing. It’s possible to hire a professional who has an industry credential such as the Certified Ethical Hacker certification, but this approach can add significant cost. It’s also quite effective to use a more automated approach, running a battery of tests to see which vulnerabilities a system currently has.

Types of penetration testing include:

  • Web application testing (generally means attacking the application with the same limited access that a normal internet user would have)
  • System server attacks (which would begin with the web servers behind the applications, but would also include systems providing services such as email, databases, and core network routing functions)
  • Wireless network access testing
  • Password/access testing (attempting to gain access to internal systems by breaking through access controls)
  • Social engineering (finding ways to trick employees to provide secret information or direct access to targeted systems)

When does Ethical Hacking matter?

Regular testing is a key aspect in helping your company maintain a strong cybersecurity posture. It is also often necessary in order to stay compliant with government, industry, vendor, and customer security regulations and mandates.

What’s the Schedule?

Security experts recommend that you run a penetration test to check the security of your networks at least once a year. You should also do this after any major change to your network to ensure any changes to your IT resources do not lead to unintended risk.

Why is Ethical Hacking Important?

With increasingly more of our day-to-day activities and business happening online, Ethical Hacking is an easy way stay ahead of any potential cyberattacks. By having white hat hackers expose weakness in your networks you can remedy any weakness in your systems before cybercriminals can exploit them - improving your overall cyber security posture.

Learn more about the Defendify Ethical Hacking module, part of the Foundation layer of the Defendify cybersecurity platform.

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