Introduction to Ethical Hacking, its Necessities, Scopes and Limitations

"Ethical Hacking" refers to security professionals who employ their hacking skills for defensive purposes. It involves using computer and networking expertise to help organisations test their network security for potential gaps and vulnerabilities. 

Ethical Hackers perform hacking with the permission of the network or system owner and without the intention of causing harm. They usually employ the same tools and techniques as hackers, with the important exception that they do not damage the system and report all vulnerabilities to the system and network owner for remediation, thereby increasing the security of an organization.  

Although this is a beneficial practice, attackers are usually more interested in using newer, lesser-know vulnerabilities (known as zero-day exploits), and so these by-the-numbers system audits are not sufficient. That is where Ethical Hacker comes into the picture as what and how they are doing is completely open, transparent and always legal. That is why performing an ethical hack is necessary for an organization. 

Ethical hackers are hired to,
  • Prevent hackers from gaining access to the organization's information system. 
  • Uncover vulnerabilities in systems and explore their potential as a risk.
  • Analyze and strengthen an organization's security posture, including policies, network protection infrastructure, and end-user practices. 
  • Provide adequate preventive measures in order to avoid security breaches.
  • Enhance security awareness at all levels.  

Ethical hackers determine the scope of the security assessment according to the client's security concerns. One should know the penalties for unauthorized hacking, 

  • No ethical hacker should begin the test without receiving a signed legal document giving permission to perform hacking on the organization.
  • Maintain confidentiality during the test, as one can gather information that might contain sensitive information. 
  • Execute the test within the set boundaries but not beyond them. For example, one should perform DoS attacks only if they have previously agreed upon this with the client. This may cause a loss of revenue or goodwill to clients' customers. 

However, there are limitations too. There won't be much to learn unless the company first knows what it wants and why it hired an outside professional to hack its systems in the first place. Thus it is up to the organization to place suitable safeguards on the network, an ethical hacker can only help to better understand the security systems. 

We hope this helps. If any suggestions or doubts you can add a comment and we will reply as soon as possible.

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