There is very serious interest in Ethical Hacking during the last 4-5 years. It has been observed that more and more companies worldwide have been hiring ethical hackers to hack their systems and show them the vulnerabilities they could found.
These penetration testers try to access a companies system, network by any means possible. They don’t refrain from using even social engineering of the employees of the company.
In this post, I am simply reviewing — What ethical hacking is, how it’s done, and how it will change in the future know Ethical Hacking
I am assuming that you already know somewhat about Ethical Hacking.
Ethical hackers are basically ‘White hat’ hackers who are employed by companies who assist companies find critical vulnerabilities. Some ethical hackers would help companies patch up the security holes of the company. Some ethical hackers simply expose what is wrong with a company’s systems, networks and then they leave it to the IT teams of that company. Right?
However, general people still tend to think of the word “hacking” in a negative light. I don’t understand that…
I think that Ethical Hackers are like The Sheriff of western cowboy movies. See, the sheriff in the western movies always wore a WHITE HAT and was a good guy. The outlaws (read, criminals) would wear a black hat. White hat hacker aims to HELP, whereas the aim of black hat hacker is MALICIOUS.
If white hat hackers (the sheriffs) wish to combat black hat hackers, they have to think like black hat hackers. I firmly believe that and tell everyone that it is a must for them…
Many ethical hackers may have even started as black hat hackers, when they developed great skills they decided to use those skills for good causes. Kevin Mitnick is a classic example of this!
Modern ethical hackers can prove that they are using their skills to benefit a company rather than trying to break into the company’s system any STEAL information.
They are a little different from Ethical Hackers.
Coincidentally, they do steal information. They can also steal physical computers, hard copies of information, and more. Pen testers are sometimes not limited to just computer systems. Instead, much like the mindset of a hacker mentioned above, they do whatever they can to access a system, such as using social engineering or email spoofing. They are often part of the “red team,” hired to find holes in security.
Imagine, for instance, someone calling IT and claiming they forgot their password. The password is reset, and the employee leaves happy. The problem is that it wasn’t the employee but someone posing as them who now has access to the system.
For example, a member of the red team might be able to swipe a pass card, enabling them access to a server room. From there, they can directly connect to the server, accessing information. The sticky note Jenney from accounting keeps on her computer monitor to remind her of her logins? Gone the next morning.
Everyone from Microsoft to the U.S. Army employs red teams and pen testers to identify gaps in their cybersecurity and physical security that could lead to a system breach.
Their modus operandi is different and they break rules to prove their point, but they don’t harm the company. They do everything to report to the company itself in the end. They surely have an advanced level of skills compared to ethical hackers in general.
There are so many claims by security experts that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be used more and more in cyber defence. I also feel the same.
But will it change the game in favour of cyber defenders?
I don’t think so…
I guess hackers will also start relying upon these technologies to infiltrate the systems of their target companies.
While many claims it is already happening, this is just fear-mongering
Yes, as AI and machine learning become more accessible and powerful, hackers are likely to let the computer do all the work for them.
However, we are not there yet.
It’s important for us to understand how hackers can and probably will use AI and machine learning in the future, and to prepare defences, but it’s still a long way, from being a reality.
Instead, it’s important to take a step back and, with the help of ethical hackers, make sure your current employees are well trained. The key might be in the hands of your employees…
An accountant might be using Starbucks as a virtual office, doing work using an office laptop. What they might not know is that the network they are connected to isn’t the Starbucks’ network, but a dummy network, or “honey pot,” and the open Wi-Fi network is used to observe data sent to and from their computers. Important corporate financial information could be stolen easily by a hacker without even trying hard.
Having a pen tester, ethical hacker, or red team will tail the employees and make sure they are observing good cybersecurity practices which is essential.
Important Things to Note on Ethical Hacking
Your employees are still a weak link in your security, and without ethical hackers observing them, you might never know what the employees are doing wrong. Instead, your employees need to be gatekeepers and the first line of your ddefence That’s why they must be trained by ethical hackers on — what not to do so as not to compromise otherwise tight security.
Ethical hackers are incredibly important in today’s corporate society. As black hat hackers get more advanced, using not just computer but social engineering — and soon enough AI and machine learning — to hack companies, it’s important to have someone who can identify where you need to increase security. Whether it’s training employees to be more observant or creating a more secure server, ethical hackers, pen testers, and red teams will help your company be more secure.