What is Ethical Hacking & Pen-Testing?

cyber security and ethical hackers

When you hear the word “hacker” you often think of cyber criminals and bad guys with hoodies, or if you’re old enough the movie hackers. However, there is another bread of white hat “good guys” called ethical hackers or penetration testers. But what is ethical hacking? Penetration testing companies use ethical hacking and pen testing to simulate a cyber attack against an organisation and identify and document cyber security weaknesses with the companies permission.

By taking the same approach, ethical hacking tools and methodologies that a criminal hacker would, it’s possible for ethical hackers to bypass system security measures and compromise corporate networks. Ethical hackers are also commonly referred to as “white hat hackers” help organisations identify security issues then explain how to fix the discovered issues, ethical hacking ultimately helps and organisation improve their cyber security.

What is Ethical Hacking?

What is ethical hacking – ethical hackers commonly perform penetration testing to identify weak entry points into a network. In addition to discovering security issues and vulnerable software weaknesses, professional ethical hackers document findings, explain how to fix issues, and in some cases, provide consultancy on how to mitigate or perform remediation for cyber security threats. The work of a professional ethical hacker helps improve IT security policies, best practices and staff awareness to the cyber security issues that exist today.

How to become an Ethical Hacker

Ethical hacking ultimately requires the mindset of a hacker, the want to learn how things work, how things can be taken apart and finally, how things can be exploited to perform tasks that the original designer had not intended. Ultimately, your job will be breaking things, using them in a way to which the original designer had not intended them to be used. You’ll use this ability and passion to identify logic flaws, vulnerabilities and security issues within applications and infrastructure.

Professional Certifications

Industry level certifications can help show an employer you have what it takes to be a good ethical hacker. Certifications that offer hands on / practical elements such the OSCP, or the (CEH) credential prove you can perform ethical hacking against lab machines. In addition, they demonstrate a basic ability to document and report your findings in a professional capacity.

We hope this article has helped you understand more about ethical hacking, be sure to check out our other cyber security related articles.


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