Ethical hacking, sometimes known as penetration testing, involves purposeful hacking into a computer network by a qualified data security expert to test for vulnerabilities within a system’s critical infrastructure. A certified penetration tester with the full knowledge of all parties involved is typically under contract to perform the audit.
Business, commerce, financial transactions, records, and communication are almost all web- or cloud-based now. Hackers utilize their skills to bypass safety protocols and enter secure networks to install malicious software or steal money, goods, and sensitive information. They can change records, exploit weaknesses, and otherwise wreak havoc on businesses, computer users, and society in general.
To defend against hackers, qualified penetration testers are being employed to ward off attacks and protect critical data infrastructure. In fact, according to MarketWatch, the demand for ethical hackers is increasing as cyberattacks become more catastrophic to large-scale organizations.
This trend leads to one of the biggest questions in data security: Since ethical hackers are here to make sure the unethical hackers can’t hack us, how can we ensure that those who are charged with protecting the infrastructure don’t also use their knowledge for malicious purposes?
A competent penetration tester must closely follow hacking trends, study new exploits, read through hacker forums, and skirt very near to the edges of the criminal hacker fraternity to stay competent at their job — all while maintaining their integrity.
Unfortunately, the ease and facility of online operations means that unethical hackers are finding increased opportunities to do damage and engage in cybercrime.
The rate at which information is processed opens the door for unethical hackers to infiltrate systems and exploit weaknesses for maximum benefit. This makes the efforts of a highly skilled and well-trained penetration tester a critical component toward safeguarding the integrity of servers and networks. However, without routine testing and skill development, unethical hackers will eventually find their way inside.
If you’re interested in learning more about ethical hacking and considering earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity, check out the options available to you and see how they can help you pursue your goals.