Ethical hacking has been in the spotlight for the last few years due to technology advances and the growing number of threats in the IT world. Business around the world are becoming more conscious of keeping their information safe, and this results in growing demand of cybersecurity professionals. They have to think like a hacker in order to prevent a cyber-attack from cyber criminals and hackers. For that, companies should train their team on ethical hacking so that they can find the loopholes by assessing their IT infrastructure security.
In this article, we will discuss about ethical hacking and top 10 reasons why companies should train their team on ethical hacking.
What is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking is legally breaking into computers and devices of an organization to assess their security and acting ethically by informing the vulnerable party. In recent times, it is becoming one of the most exciting careers in IT sector. You are literally getting paid for breaking the security network of a company without the fear of being arrested by the government authorities.
Businesses want to engage ethical hackers to identify loopholes in their security system. From an ethical hacker’s point of view, there is not downside — if you can break the current defences, you’ve given the client a chance to secure the loophole before an attacker discovers it. If you don’t find anything, the client will be even happier because they can be rest assured about their security infrastructure.
Ethical hackers follow four key protocol concepts:
1. Stay Legal
Ethical hackers used to get proper approval before accessing and performing a security assessment of an organization.
2. Defining the Scope
An ethical always properly define his scope of assessment so that overall hacking process remains legal and within the company’s approved boundaries.
3. Report Vulnerabilities
An ethical hacker always notifies the organization of all vulnerabilities identified during the assessment. He also provides remediation advice for resolving these vulnerabilities.
4. Respect Data Sensitivity
Ethical hackers always respect the data sensitivity, and they may have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement, depending on the data sensitivity.
What Do Ethical Hackers Do?
We can divide the work of an ethical hacker into four parts. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Scope and Goal Setting
It is necessary for a professional ethical hacker to document agreed upon the scope and goals. Some of the questions an ethical hacker may ask regarding the scope and goal setting are:
· What types of assets are in scope for the test?
· Does it include all systems, or just a particular application or service, certain OS platform, or mobile application?
· What kinds of computer assets are included in test?
· Is automated vulnerability scanning allowed?
· Is social engineering allowed, if yes, by what methods?
There can be many more questions depending upon the assessing methods and types.
Discovery: Learning about the Target
Ethical hackers always begin start their hacking process by learning as much as about the target as they can. They learn about the target’s IP addresses, OS platforms, applications, versions, patch level, advertised network’s ports, and anything else that can be helpful for hacking.
Exploitation: Breaking into the Target Asset
This is the task for which an ethical hacker is being paid for — break into the target assets. By using the crucial information learned in the discovery phase, ethical hacker exploits the vulnerabilities to get unauthorised access or denial of service, if that is the goal.
Documentation of the Hacking Process
The phase of the ethical hacking process is to document the entire hacking process including the findings and conclusions, and present it to the organization.
Now we will discuss the top 10 reasons why companies should train their team on ethical hacking.
1. Companies are Under Constant Cyber-Attack
Organisations across the globe are constantly under cyber-attacks and they are spending billions on security technologies. Specially, banks are the major targets for cyber criminals and they always remain under cyber-threats due to obvious reasons. Banks are hiring security technology firms in order to protect their assets, and spending approximately $25 billion annually worldwide (Source).
Apart from the banks, other small, medium, and big companies are also under cyber-attacks. Therefore, security has become a prime focus for the all kinds of organizations. To counter a hacker, companies need to think like one, and here ethical hacking comes into the picture. Companies can train their employees in ethical hacking to perform security tasks just like hackers; however, it is to protect the IT infrastructure of the company.
2. Transition to Cloud Increases Demand of Ethical Hackers
Companies are moving towards cloud services where virtualization and IT outsourcing are major trends. This transition has increased the possibility of cyber-attacks, and this increases the demand of ethical hackers. Businesses are hiring ethical hackers in order to avail the benefits of cloud services without risking their security.
Cyber world is changing very fast and complexities of security requirements are also increasing. By training their employees on ethical hacking, companies don’t need to hire any hacker from outside.
3. To Build a Security System that Prevents Hackers’ Access
Computer network security breaches news are seen in every day across the world, and these attacks are costing millions of dollars to the organizations. In 2020, IBM reports that per cyber-attack average cost was $8.64 million for the American companies, and it was more than twice of the global average. The most vulnerable sector was healthcare and it experiences the highest average losses.
Cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers can secure your IT network. Therefore it become necessary to train your team on ethical hacking, especially for small and medium sized companies those don’t want to spend millions on their security.
4. To Manage Adequate Preventive Measures
Malicious hackers can attack any business by disruption, distortion, or deterioration. These are the three major threats for computer security in recent times. Cyber criminals can disrupt your business with ransomware attack to get classified information which can be disastrous. Hackers can distort the facts, data, and the technologies businesses use, too. This makes it difficult to communicate with consumers to maintain their trust.
Therefore, organizations need to take adequate preventive measures in order to avoid security breaches. They can train their employees on ethical hacking and get rid of all the possible cyber threats.
5. To Safeguard Customer Information
Rapid technological advancement is increasing the variety of risks to the businesses. Cyber criminals are continuously attacking on the various businesses and getting their customers’ valuable information and putting them on high-risk. Criminals can also hack into cloud service of your company and might upload fake documents that instruct employees to move money into the hackers’ account or compromise your security even further. Therefore, it is necessary to train your employees on ethical hacking, so that they can identify any loopholes and fix it.
6. To Test Networks at Regular Intervals
A computer network uses a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purposes of intercommunications such as email, instant messaging, online chat, voice and video calls, and video conferencing. It also allows sharing of network and computing resources, and employees may access these resources smoothly.
Computer networks are top targets for cyber criminals; they can break the security and enter into the network. Therefore it becomes top most priority for companies to test networks at regular basis in order to identify any suspicious activity. This is another reason to train their employees on ethical hacking and cybersecurity.
7. To Create Security Awareness at All Level in an Organization
In this era of digital world, most of our day-to-day activities have migrated online. In this way, our work, communication, and transactions are mostly done through online, and our reliance on cyber security has increased accordingly.
Hackers can easily wreak havoc on our lives and businesses and can make our lives miserable. In a digital security system, humans are the weakest link as they can make mistakes, forget things, or fall for fraudulent practices. That’s why cyber security awareness becomes important in an organization.
Cyber security awareness involves the process of educating employees on the different online risks and threats and potential loopholes in a security system. Ethical hacking is one of the best ways to spread awareness about cybersecurity. In this way, companies can teach their employees the best practices and procedures for keeping networks safe and secure.
8. Threats are Never Going to go Away
Cyber criminals are never going to stop attack individuals, companies, and organizations. If anyone has an internet facing site or if they deal with a lot of user-generated data, they are prone to cyber hackers and they need to fortify their IT infrastructure.
Companies need to update their old strategies in order to protect themselves from the cyber criminals.
Therefore, it becomes crucial to train your employees in ethical hacking and keep the cyber threats at bay.
9. Developing Soft Skills
Organizations are looking for the candidates who possess soft skills such as team spirit, empathy, assertiveness, self-promotion, self-confidence, negotiation, collaboration, stress management, and growth mindset. Even some of employees in an organization may lack soft skills while having excellent technical skills. In order to improve their soft skills, companies need to train their employees on ethical hacking.
Companies can form a red team or blue team where one team attempt to break into the IT infrastructure and other team will defend the system. This would be a great way to develop employees’ ability to work in a team and build self-confidence in order to move up the corporate ladder.
10. Job Satisfaction
Apart from the all above reasons to train your employees on ethical hacking, the work also comes with a great satisfaction. Knowing that your work is securing the data of millions of peoples all over the world gives job satisfaction to employees. They feel that they are contributing to a safe and secure digital world.
For those, who have a passion for cyber security and ethical hacking, learning how to think like a hacker, and then counter the threat by being outsmart is the most satisfying part of the job.
As businesses are shifting their operations online, the security concerns are also increasing rapidly. Organizations are spending millions of dollars in order to secure their IT infrastructure. By training your employees on cyber security & ethical hacking, you can secure your data and IT infrastructure without spending millions.
Finally, we have discussed everything about ethical hacking, and why it is important to train your employees on it. We have discussed some excellent reasons and their benefits to learn ethical hacking.