Ethical Hacking: Defence Against the Cybersecurity Dark Arts

February 16,2022 by Sid

One of the collateral damages of digitization is cybercrime – a dark and undesirable digital battlefield where organizations must sharpen their defences and wield necessary weapons to protect themselves from invasion. In the expansive universe of cybersecurity, ethical hacking and penetration testing are the two go-to specialized forces that do exactly that.

In this blog, let’s explore these two forces, how they’re related (and slightly different), the professionals that perform them and what their benefits are for organizations in their defence against the dark arts.

What is Ethical Hacking?

We’re all aware of criminal hacking – the aforementioned ‘dark arts’ of cybersecurity – ethical hacking is where you beat fire with fire. The term ‘ethical’ is the differentiating factor between the two where ethical hackers perform planned, simulated and approved attacks on an organization’s IT systems to discover vulnerabilities and recommend ways to protect them against infiltration from criminal hackers.

Ethical hackers are the curious guys on the good side with the dirty skills – they approach an organization’s IT systems with the mindset of the enemies and use the findings for the benefit of the organization.

Types of Hackers

There are three types of hackers, each assigned with a metaphorical coloured hat. White-hat hackers are ethical hackers, with pure intentions of hacking an organization’s IT systems for to inform them of any vulnerabilities. Black-hat hackers are the criminal hackers who perform cyberattacks for personal gain and motivations. Lastly, Grey-hat hackers are those that stay in the grey – they sometimes hack for personal gain and sometimes to help organizations.

Certified Ethical Hackers or white-hate hackers can be trusted since their careers depend on their services and loyalty to the client.

Watch: Kushantha G, our EC-Council Certified Expert take you through the intricate laneways of ‘Hacking’ (click on thumbnail):

Certified Ethical Hackers for Your Organization

Certified Ethical Hackers need to bring three unique skills to the table for your organization, they are as follows:

  • Certified skills and knowledge: Well-trained and certified skills to effectively uncover the vulnerabilities of your organization’s IT system
  • Creative and curious: A curious and creative mind is an important part of ethical hacking because certified ethical hackers must think beyond the ordinary and try different ways to breach networks to get the best findings
  • Trustworthy: It’s important that certified ethical hackers execute their tasks according to the code of the CEH profession and this includes handling company data responsibly and using ethical means when testing on employees during the process

An excellent amalgamation of these skills in a CEH professional will give your organization the following benefits:

  • Discover various kinds of vulnerabilities in software, hardware or policy
  • Dumpster diving to uncover helpful information against an attack
  • Expose external and internal threats to the IT system
  • Perform network traffic analysis
  • Educate your IT team/cybersecurity professionals on cybercrime 101’s
  • Conduct penetration testing on specific parts of your system

Find out how Advanced Training’s Certified Ethical Hacker v11 course is designed to produce world-class CEH professionals

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is a specific type of ethical hacking carried out by pen testing professionals and typically carried out more regularly than ethical hacking. The main motive of pen testing is to examine the strength and reliability of an organization’s cyber security defences through specific on-site audits of focused amount of information. There are 4 types of pen tests:

  1. External tests: this test assesses the weaknesses of an organization’s system that someone external to the organization can use to attack and cause financial and reputational damage.
  2. Internal tests: this test is designed to find internal vulnerabilities within the organization such as the practices of employees that can lead to creating room for cyberattacks or cyber phishing by hackers to obtain sensitive information from the employees.
  3. Web application tests: this test is conducted on websites to check for bugs and website testing requirements such as reliability, security and performance to ensure that they’re well prepared for cyberattacks.
  4. Wireless networks: this test is conducted on all devices such as laptops, tablets, IoT devices etc connected to the organization’s Wi-Fi.

Ethical Hacking or Pen Testing?

Now that you know the correlation and slight difference between the two, it’s important to know which one (or both) does your organization need to tick your cybersecurity objectives.

Ethical hacking is rigorous assessment of your IT security practices while pen testing is a streamlined focus on identifying specific parts of your systems for vulnerabilities. Pen testing is a subset of ethical hacking with CEH’s diving into deeper into the various possibilities of a cyberattack with ethical hacking. Simply put, both are extremely important for your organization and having excellent CEH’s and pen testing professionals perform them will only benefit you.

You can read more about how we train professionals in both these areas in our course pages for Certified Ethical Hackers v11 and Certified Penetration Testing Professional.

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