Ethical Hacking: Advantages and Potential Dangers

Posted: 2012/03/15 in Uncategorized

Ethical Hacking: Understanding the Benefits, Goals and Disadvantages 

This article discusses an interesting topic called “ethical hacking.” Before I go any further into the detail of this article, I would like to briefly explain the definition of “ethical hacking.”

An ethical hacker is a computer or network expert who attacks a security system on the behalf of its owners, seeking vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could possibly exploit. Ethical hackers will use the same methods as their less malicious counterparts, but report problems  to the owners instead of taking advantage of them. Ethical hacking is also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing and red teaming.

In the 1970’s the United States government used groups of experts called “red teams” to hack its own computer systems to determine the systems vulnerabilities. Since then, ethical hacking has continued to grow, and is becoming increasingly common outside the government and technology sectors where it began. Many large companies, such as IBM, maintain employee teams of ethical hackers in order to test their companies computer vulnerabilities.

In a similar category, a hacktivist is considered to be more of a vigilante: detecting, sometimes reporting (and sometimes exploiting) security vulnerabilities as a form of social activism.

This article describes the goals and potential dangers of “ethical hacking.”   Ethical hackers are hired by companies to ensure the legality of the companies system.  They will also ensure that the companies systems are protected, and necessary security measures have been put in place.  However, potential dangers include, the ethical hacker using the knowledge they gain to do malicious hacking activities in the future.  As well as  gaining the knowledge of the company’s financial and banking details to use for their own personal benefits. There is also a possibility that the ethical hacker will send and/or place malicious code, virus, malware, and other destructive and harmful things on a computer system causing a massive security breach of the companies system.

Before reading this article I had no idea that “ethical hacking” existed.  It’s amazing the amount of need companies have for these ethical hackers.  I did more research on this topic and found that there is an entire network of ethical hackers, and they are becoming an increasingly common profession in today’s world.  I understand the need for these types of people due to the amount of malicious activity on the internet, however, who is to say they are always looking out for the good of the company who they are working for?  People capable of hacking systems can also become capable of using that to their own personal benefit.  I would recommend  that companies use these types of professionals to protect their businesses, however, they should be careful of who they are hiring.

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