The term hacker has always had a negative connotation associated with it, especially in the modern era, as more and more cybercrimes are committed against businesses. Normally people associate the word hacking with the theft of data or personal information to be used in an instance of blackmailing for money.
Many hackers from around the world also use their skills to get into the mainframe of a business and steal the banking details of customers that have agreed to supply their personal information to the business.
So, surely hacking can never be a good thing, right? Well, that is not completely true, as many businesses and companies hire people with those exact skills to carry out what is known as ethical hacking.
What Is Ethical Hacking?
Businesses make use of people who have the capabilities to complete a hacking job, such as stealing personal information or breaching a cybersecurity wall to access data like banking information to test the robustness of their own cybersecurity system. In other words, ethical hacking refers to the authorized breach of a firewall or security system to practice a system of checks and balances and see where the cybersecurity of a company can improve.
Just like in any facet of life, businesses want to test their own resolve and make sure that they are ready for the real world. What better way to do that than to test the security system that they have set up against a real-life hacker?
If the ethical hacker finds a way into the system and can end up stealing personal data, that gives the company an insight into how robust and strong its cybersecurity system really is. It also lets them know where the system could improve and become stronger.
How Do Ethical Hackers Do Their Jobs
Ethical hackers need to do a few things before they are authorized to do their jobs. Without performing these prerequisites, it is more than likely that these ethical hackers may be prosecuted, even though they were just trying to provide a helpful service to a company or an individual.
Firstly, ethical hackers need to ensure that they obtain the proper approval and authorization from a company or an individual before they perform the hack. Without this, the ethical hacker is just a hacker who is performing something illegal, even if their motives are good. Legal authorization is required, so normally ethical hackers enter into a written contract to properly protect themselves should something go wrong down the line.
Secondly, ethical hackers need to define the scope of the cybersecurity breach that they are potentially going to perform. If they agree with a business on a certain plan for the hack to find out and report certain specific vulnerabilities, they cannot overstep that scope and hack into other parts of the business’s mainframe. So, if they plan to try and steal winnings from a live casino roulette online rather than simply see if there are any security vulnerabilities, this would be performing an actual hack under the guise of ethicality.