It’s no surprise that cyber-attacks are continuing to rise, as countless new devices connect to corporate networks every day. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016, cyber-attacks are now costing the global economy over $445 billion. While this conservative number does not directly translate into profits, it becomes pretty clear that these criminals are becoming very wealthy very quickly…
As cyber security departments lag behind, criminal hackers are becoming more emboldened, skilled, and enticed by the easy money. If there is any hope of winning this cyber-war, we need our own ethical hackers testing networks before the bad guys do.
The safeguards that organizations are putting in place are failing, as criminal hackers continue to win the proverbial arms race, creating tools and techniques at a staggering pace. Wouldn’t it make sense for companies to know how hackers think, in order to protect themselves from criminal tactics? By understanding the mindset of the hackers, organizations can keep “their” data secure.
Ethical Hacking definition
Identifying vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks and coming up with remediation for those weaknesses can be termed as ethical hacking. Ethical hackers use the same tools that a hacker would use to compromise the network. However, unlike criminal hackers, they abide by the following rules:
- Obtain written permission from the owner of the computer network/system before testing.
- Safeguard the privacy of the organization that is being tested.
- Identify vulnerabilities in the network/system & create concise transparent reports.
- Should include actionable remediation that is easy to understand.
- Notify you about hardware and software vulnerabilities.
Common areas hackers exploit
Numerous tools are available to identify weaknesses, exploit them, as well as gain access to the system/network. Four common areas where tools find vulnerabilities are:
- Developers of applications often overlook programming flaws which can be exploited by a hacker. Nowadays, applications are trying to be feature-rich, which can affect the quality of the code.
- Operating Systems (OS)
- System administrators will sometimes install systems with default settings which may have unpatched vulnerabilities.
- The networks/systems are configured improperly or they have been set to the lowest security settings, making it easier to find exploits.
- Shrink-wrap code
- Popular programs come with extra set of features that the end user is completely unaware of, making it an easy target for hackers.
Why businesses need Certified Ethical Hackers?
As the senior vice president, trust officer, and chief security of Cisco John Stewart stated, stealing intellectual property from organizations is a multi-billion dollar business. Hackers have become more skilled, well-funded and organized. They are now exceptionally good at finding vulnerabilities in security barriers and dealing damage. Hackers are able to remain undetected inside a company’s network, siphon off information, and set up back doors. They either revisit these secret pathways or sell it to other criminals with different skill sets to attack the company’s supply chain or customers.
To defend themselves, organizations can either hire an ethical hacking firm or staff their own ethical hackers to protect their systems. However, staffing your own ethical hackers is significantly more expensive and generally less effective. The EC-Council has a Certified Ethical Hacker course which aims at arming security analysts, network administrators, and other IT professionals with information to strengthen their networks and protect the information of their organization. The goal is to make the hacking process as hard as possible and outweigh the benefits of hacking their clients.
It is increasingly apparent that organizations are making the wrong choices when it comes to securing their networks. Most organizations do the bare minimum. Putting up corny posters or common sense sayings and never even test their people…
Want an affordable as well as a turn key solution? That is why we developed our own fully managed program (check it out).