What is ethical hacking and how could it benefit your business?

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Ethical Hacking or ‘hacking for good’ is becoming a fast-growing technique in the cyber security industry. Ethical Hackers hack into an organisation, with no intent other than to test its security systems.

Employed at the discretion of a company, the Ethical Hacker will test and evaluate the security measures that have been put in place. Their responsibility will be to evaluate the organisations system, highlight vulnerable entry points which may leave the organisation at risk of a real-life hack.

Phases of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hackers will follow a similar method to regular hackers, meaning they will act as if they are hacking a system for malicious purposes and determine how easy the system can be breeched.

Ethical Hacking is broken down into 5 key phases:

  1. Reconnaissance

This is the research phase where hackers will begin to gather knowledge on a potential target without their knowledge.

  1. Scanning

Using information uncovered during the research phase, the hacker will begin to examine the organisations network in more detail, looking also for more information that may help with the attack such as user accounts or IP Addresses.

  1. Gaining Access

The hacker will now use the vulnerabilities detected in the first two phases to gain access to the system. Once the hacker has gained access to the system they are now in control.

  1. Maintaining Access

In the fourth stage, the hacker will work on maintaining control over the system. Using Trojans and backdoors they will prevent the organisation security team from removing their access.

  1. Covering Tracks

In the final stage the hacker will cover their tracks to avoid detection. They will remove all traces of the track such as log files.

 

Benefits of Ethical Hacking?

 

Expert POV.

Using an ethical hacker discovers weaknesses from a Hackers Point of View. Hackers will have expertise and knowledge that the everyday person may not think of. The Hackers experience will find weak spots in the system, which can then be fixed to prevent any malicious hackers accessing.

 

Penetration Testing.

The Hacker will run various tests and create a report of potential entry points, review of password strengths within the organisation and uncover network vulnerabilities.

 

Social Engineering Tests.

The Ethical Hacker will carry out popular cyber hack techniques such as Phishing or Baiting. These tests can be used to determine the employee's awareness of cyber security hacks, further company training can then be provided based on the outcomes of the tests.

 

Real-world Assessments.

The Ethical Hacker can provide additional information on what a real-life breach would look like. This could help with the company's recovery plan, and what they should do if a real-life attack ever takes place.

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