By Bhavesh Goswami, Founder & CEO, CloudThat
The global epidemic witnessed businesses all around the world working remotely, requiring IT teams to manage more devices than ever before. Hackers and cyber attackers took advantage of the unforeseen scenario by exploiting security flaws in a succession of high-profile critical cyber disasters. The significant rise in cyber-attacks has inspired organizations to adopt a cybersecurity-first approach and practice basic cyber hygiene. Initiatives such as adopting strong passwords, backing up vital data, deploying security patches, and enabling multi-factor authentication are ensuring fool-proof cyber infrastructure. With the advancement of technology, the number of viruses, ransomware, worms, and malware is rising and the following statistics further emphasize the importance of cybersecurity in this interconnected world.
According to the 2020 Gone Phishing report employees from big organizations are more vulnerable to phishing attacks. The report says 58.2% of employees from small-sized organizations (1-99 employees) have fallen prey to phishing, 71.5% from mid-sized organizations (100-499 employees) and 67.4% from bigger organizations of 3000+ employees have been deceived by phishing attacks.
Small Business Trends research reports small businesses are worst affected by cyberattacks as 60% of small organizations go out of business within six months of falling victim to data breaches or cyberattacks. The Global Market Insights findings reveal that by 2024 the cybersecurity industry is estimated to reach $ 300 billion. Most Importantly, according to Juniper’s research, carried out in 2019, the loss incurred due to cybercrimes was $ 2 trillion.
This sets the context to discuss what is ethical hacking and why it is the need of the hour.
Ethical hacking is a legal method of gaining unauthorized access to a computer system, application, or data. Security specialists are known as “white hats,” or ethical hackers, who undertake these audits. By being proactive, ethical hackers help to improve an organization’s security position. The objective of ethical hacking differs from harmful hacking in that it requires prior consent from the company or owner of the IT asset.
Ethical hackers use their expertise to assist organizations in protecting and improving their systems. They provide a critical service to companies by checking for security flaws that might lead to a data leak. An ethical hacker reports the discovered vulnerabilities to the firm. They also offer recommendations on how to fix the problem. In many situations, the ethical hacker does a re-test with the organization’s permission to confirm that the vulnerabilities have been properly addressed. Ethical hackers have no prior knowledge of the organization other than what they are told, so they may give an objective assessment of its security architecture. Ethical hackers expose security flaws in systems, evaluate access points, identify priority targets, and more.
Even though ethical hacking is becoming increasingly important for businesses and government agencies, individuals are nonetheless wary of the hazards. While the concern is justified, the following are some of the advantages of ethical hacking that demonstrate why ethical hacking is the need of the hour and worth considering:
❖ The primary goal of ethical hacking is to keep critical information out of hostile hands. It protects a firm from being blackmailed by individuals looking to take advantage of flaws
❖ Companies may improve their digital network security and avoid security breaches by conducting real-world testing
❖ Improved security ensures the protection of customer products and data while also gaining the trust of clients and investors
❖ Ethical hacking can protect the country from cyber-terrorism
❖ Hackers can spot possible entry points from an attacker’s perspective, giving people the opportunity to patch them up before an attack.
❖ Ethical hacking allows individuals to gain new abilities that may be used in a variety of jobs, including software development, risk management, quality assurance testing, and network defense.
❖ As the adoption and transition to the cloud are gaining momentum worldwide. The increased threats for organizational data and resources residing in remote locations has created impetus for hiring ethical hackers to carry out overall IT security assessments.
Despite the debate surrounding the issue, ethical hacking aids companies and governments in safeguarding their data from adversarial hands. The numerous advantages and significance demonstrate that, as the world becomes more digitized, sophisticated security measures and ethical hacking are required to boost cybersecurity.