A Guide to Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is an effective way to ensure that your company's cybersecurity is valid. Learn about why companies needs ethical hacking.

When you think of a hacker, chances are you imagine someone breaking the law to steal money or data. But did you know that ethical hacking not only exists but can also be used to help your business? It's true: ethical hacking, also called penetration testing (or pen testing for short), is a simple but effective way to make sure that your company's cybersecurity is up to snuff. Want to learn more about what ethical hackers do? What about how their services help keep businesses safe and secure? Read on to learn all about ethical hacking and why it might be something your company needs.

What Is Ethical Hacking?

Businesses hire ethical hackers to provide an essential service. Indeed, they try to break into a company's network, devices, or system in order to expose weaknesses in cybersecurity. Because this penetration testing is endorsed by the business, the entire process is completely legal. Typically, ethical hackers gather the information to improve a given company's cybersecurity.

Ethical hacking can be extremely beneficial for companies. If an ethical hacker cannot breach a given company's cybersecurity defenses, the company knows that a paid hacker was unable to access their assets. This acts as a strong endorsement of their cybersecurity protocol and provides their clients with peace of mind. In contrast, if a penetration tester finds vulnerabilities, they help the company repair weaknesses before real hackers access them. A pen tester's job may be simple, but it's an incredibly effective way to help organizations find and fix weaknesses.

How Does Pen Testing Work?

Before an ethical hacker gets to work, they need to establish a few ground rules with their clients. Some considerations to keep in mind before an ethical hacker starts on their pen testing include the following:

What Computers, Applications, Programs, or Services Are the Target of the Pen Test?

A pen tester's work can vary widely, and it's important for companies to be specific. The ways in which a hacker might target a cloud-based storage system on a mobile device might be very different from the ways in which a hacker may try to hack into a specific application on a network computer.

Are Social Engineering Methods Allowed

Hackers don't always rely on sitting behind their computers to penetrate a company's cyber-defenses. Many hackers use social engineering techniques. This relies on scamming employees to obtain employees' passwords and manually enter a system using valid credentials. To ensure that a given system is truly secure, some pen testers may want to try using social engineering techniques to ensure that a company's workforce is able to identify and resist phishing attempts.

How Much Prior Information Will the Pen Tester Have?

While it may be tempting to make a penetration tester start from scratch (i.e., attempt a "black-box" hack with no prior information), in truth, many hackers spend months or even years learning about the systems that they're attempting to hack. To prepare for such a possibility, give ethical hackers some background information about a given system to perform a more detailed "white-box" hack.

What Kind of Information Does an Ethical Hacker Need?

This applies to what cybersecurity information the hacker accesses. Fixing weaknesses in a system's defenses requires a thorough understanding of precisely where and how the pen tester bypasses security protocols.

Rearview shot of IT professional ethical hacking for a company

What Are Some Drawbacks to Ethical Hacking?

As described above, ethical hacking is a win-win scenario for a business. However, it may not accurately reflect a real computer hacker. For example, ethical hackers have a single day to a few weeks to test a system's cybersecurity. Alternatively, real hackers can spend months or even years trying to hack a given system. This means that real hackers can try multiple techniques to breach a given security protocol. However, an ethical hacker may only be able to test the efficacy of one or two major techniques.

Additionally, although a single penetration test provides companies and their clients with peace of mind, it's important for businesses to continue pen testing on a regular basis. As both companies and hackers consistently adopt new technology to make their lives easier, it has become increasingly important to continue pen-testing regularly. Thus, ensuring that new defenses continuing to operate effectively.

Regardless, as long as ethical hackers are given adequate amounts of time and allowed to conduct frequent tests of a given system's cybersecurity, penetration testing can be an incredibly valuable tool in any IT company's arsenal.

Enhance Your Cybersecurity in Las Vegas, NV With Ethical Hacking

If you want your company's cybersecurity to be the best it can be, then Orbis Solutions can help. As providers of the top-rated IT services in Las Vegas, NV, we use our years of experience and dedication to customer satisfaction to help generate unique IT solutions to even the toughest problems. We even have an ethical hacker on staff to help provide you with penetration testing. If you're interested in learning more about how Orbis Solutions can help bring your cybersecurity to the next level, don't hesitate to contact us today.

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