When someone finds that their account has been hacked, that is usually not good news. Hacking is a form of cyberattack that compromises the security of information in the system. It is commonly used to steal personal or corporate information, or scam others in a case of identity theft. In some cases, hackers can sabotage a whole system, causing corporations and organisations to have their whole website and online operations crashing.
But what about ethical hacking? You may have heard of ethical hacking when reading up about cybersecurity. Ethical hacking bears similarities to malicious hacking in terms of the methods used, but the intention behind it is for a much more constructive purpose.
What exactly does an ethical hacker do?
Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing, is a technique used in cybersecurity used to identify weaknesses in a system. Typically, companies hire ethical hackers to simulate cyberattacks on their own systems with the intention to find vulnerabilities. This way, they can then proceed to make necessary improvements to protect the system from malicious cyberattacks.
In essence, ethical hackers employ the same strategies used by hackers. However, the key difference is that penetration testers don’t exploit the vulnerabilities they find. Instead, they share this information with the company who engaged them, and provide advice on how to secure these weak points.
Most, if not all, ethical hackers would have gone through a certified ethical hacker course to receive the necessary certification that proves that they are trained to do their job.
Who can benefit from penetration testing?
All businesses and organisations that have digital networks and online-based operations are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and thus can benefit from penetration testing. These groups can gain perspective of their systems from ethical hackers, and receive advice on how to improve their digital security.
It doesn’t mean, however, that all companies that employ an ethical hacker are guaranteed to be 100% protected. Rather than completely securing the system (which is probably impossible), cybersecurity efforts operate by making the system harder for would-be cyber-criminals to crack.
Only the most persistent, determined, and skilled hackers can find a way to penetrate these reinforced systems, and even for them, doing so will require a lot of time and effort. Thus, a good security system keeps predators away by making the process of breaking in too tedious to be worth the effort.
Should I pursue a career as an ethical hacker?
Ultimately, the choice is yours to make. However, we can tell you this – it is a lucrative career.
Ethical hackers are in demand these days. There’s also the potential to branch out to other careers in cybersecurity after starting out as an ethical hacker. This is why many IT professionals are enrolling in courses to receive their certifications for ethical hacking. Even if they don’t end up pursuing a lifelong career in ethical hacker, it can at least help them gain more opportunities in the industry.
As an ethical hacker, you have the option of working with various types of companies, including world-renowned corporations in both the public and private sector. You might even get the chance to work with the defence force and government bodies.
For the right person, being an ethical hacker can be a fulfilling career, both financially and in terms of personal development.