Ethical hacking is an authorized attempt to validate the defenses and identify vulnerabilities before the malicious hacker exploits them. The core purpose of ethical hacking is to test the security framework of the system, network, or application.
What do Ethical Hackers Do?
Ethical hackers are security experts who mimic the black hat hacker’s strategies and actions. As per a recent report by HackerOne, “Hacker-powered Security Report 2022, “92% of ethical hackers say they can find vulnerabilities that scanners cannot.
They use quality assurance testers and tools to speed up detection and eradication of the system’s weaknesses and improve security posture. Sometimes, they perform a re-test to ensure the vulnerabilities are fully removed.
After testing, they prepare a detailed report of the discovered weaknesses and steps to mitigate them.
What Issues Does Ethical Hacking Help Identify?
Penetration testers help firms to assess security from a hacker’s perspective. The core focus is to seek valuable data and use it to detect gaps. Using automation and manual testing.
Below are some of the common issues that ethical hacking helps discover.
- Injection attacks
- Weak authentication
- Security misconfigurations
- Data Exposure
What are the Challenges of Ethical Hacking?
Many companies offer ethical services and penetration testing services. Hence, it is hard to identify the right quality provider to align with the firm’s security objectives.
It is essential to look for established providers that offer “offensive security services.” Offensive security is an adversarial and proactive method to protect computer systems and networks from attacks.
Firms must directly speak to their ethical hackers, review their accreditations, seek client references, and review their previous work.
Ethical hackers sometimes are likely to cause issues and business interruptions. It causes data loss and exposure of sensitive information that affects the brand image.
To address these risks, firms must work with experienced, ethical hackers who can limit potential risks during their pen test delivery. At the same time, ask the pen test company to explain their policies, procedures, and commercial insurance.
Extensive Dependence on Automated Tools
Ethical hacking must be led manually. This means there must be minimal reliance on automated tools. High reliance on tools can reduce the value of ethical hacking engagement.
As per a recent report by Threat Quotient, “2022 State of Cybersecurity Automation Adoption,”
- 68% of firms state automation is essential
- 97% have issues with it
- 21% said tech issues prevented it.
Firms must ensure that white hat hackers use minimal automation tools that can act as a core foundation to support the hacking process.
This method facilitates an agile and distributed approach and lets white hat hackers manually sieve through various system maturity levels.
What are the Aspects of Ethical Hacking?
The legal aspects surrounding ethical hacking are complex and vary from country to country. Ethical hacking is considered legal when conducted under the firm’s explicit permission. These activities are likely to infringe data privacy and authorization laws potentially.
Firms must maintain an ethical approach and ensure that white hat hackers comply with the norms of sensitive information usage.
Apart from legal obligations, there are moral issues in ethical hacking. Ethical hackers must understand their responsibility toward respecting rights and privacy by assessing the firm’s requirements and avoiding adverse consequences.
Companies must ensure ethical hackers adhere to relevant principles and use them as a guide when hacking. These practices ensure minimal potential damage to systems and data during the testing approaches.
Moreover, white hat hackers must use less intrusive methods to avoid interfering with normal processes or unwarranted harm.
Importance of Ethical Guidelines in Ethical Hacking: Understanding Core Responsibilities
Ethical guidelines act as a roadmap for ethical hackers that help guide their actions and decisions. These guidelines outline the principles and standards that cover areas of privacy, integrity, and legality that ethical hackers must adhere to.
For example, the International Council of E-commerce Consultants (EC-Council) provides rules of ethics for Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH).
- Seeking legal permissions
- Reporting findings
- Maintaining confidentiality
Proper adherence to such guidelines ensures ethical conduct that enhances the credibility and professionalism of ethical hackers. Furthermore, seeking explicit permission from the system owner before conducting ethical hacking activities is vital. The consent must be formalized via a written agreement defining the actions’ scope and boundaries.
Lastly, firms must ensure that hacking approaches have minimal impact on systems and data. Ethical hackers must partner with the firms to address the issues when a vulnerability is detected.