Many companies and governments have a large amount of valuable information in computer systems or the cloud. That’s why cybersecurity is increasingly important, as it helps protect companies from attacks by malicious hackers. A relatively new strategy to prevent information from being stolen or erased is Ethical Hacking.

The objective of Ethical Hacking is to check the existing vulnerabilities in the systems. To do this, they do penetration tests, which help to verify and evaluate the physical and logical security of different systems, such as computer networks, web applications, databases, or servers.

This practice must be constant and repetitive to be successful. So each time an error is discovered and corrected, the process has to be repeated. Also, it has a preventive application, as it helps protect against real attacks or those carried out by black hat hackers, which is the term used to denote those who hack for personal gain or malice.

Who are the white hat hackers?

The term white hat is used on the Internet to differentiate a computer security expert from ethical hackers. Unlike Security Engineers, an ethical hacker know how attackers operate and what information they are looking for, thereby generating value for businesses and saving time. They specialize in penetration testing and other methodologies to help different institutions protect themselves. Another name given to them is Pen-Tester, because of the type of tests they perform.

Their tactic consists primarily of penetration testing. But sometimes ethical hackers use techniques that have become popular with malicious hackers. For example, if only a few people know that this security review is taking place, they can send deceptive emails to staff to obtain passwords. Sometimes they will forget a USB stick with malware inside the company and wait for an employee to use it.

Benefits of Ethical Hacking:

This technique allows for detecting the level of the internal and external security of an organization’s information systems. Besides, penetration testing is a preliminary step in analyzing security flaws and risks. This is the best way to check and classify vulnerabilities as it can target the information you are trying to protect according to the organization.

An ethical hacker can provide recommendations based on the organization’s priorities to mitigate and reduce the risk of a negative event. Final reports created by ethical hackers may indicate:

  • Inadequate configurations in the applications installed in the systems (computers, switches, routers, firewalls) that could trigger security problems in organizations.
  • Systems that are vulnerable due to a lack of updates.
  • Vulnerabilities found in the information systems, which are of great help when applying corrective measures.

 There are several good practices or general cybersecurity standards that should be taken into account when conducting penetration tests, so if you decide to use this technique you should make sure you have an expert. In Latin America, there is an estimated deficit of 1.7 million security professionals, so these practices are still developing in the region. For those who want to start in this discipline, there are certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council).