Information security is one of the key areas of IT domain and it is offered as a service to businesses and organizations of all scales. The nature of technology used for storing and transferring information and the value of the information that businesses deal with has made information security a necessity for companies. Ethical hacking is one of the services under information security and is offered by experts on receiving legal authorization from the company. So what is ethical hacking and what role does it play in information security? Why do businesses need ethical hacking? Read on to learn.
The ‘Ethics’ in Ethical Hacking
The aim of an information security company is to see that all networks and systems used by client organization are safe. By protecting the networks and systems of businesses, the information security company creates a shield against the risk of information being lost, stolen, modified, destroyed or disrupted. But how can one be sure that the networks or systems are safe? Although security measures are in place, it is only when one actually thinks and works like a hacker can he/she be able to find loop holes in the security offered to the networks and systems. This is where ethical hacking comes to picture.
Ethical hackers work like normal hackers but the intention behind do things that they do is to check the vulnerabilities of the security system in place and recommend suitable measures to prevent the information from being misused. Ethical hacking takes place in a legal framework and the client company authorizes the specialists to do the testing.
Ethical Hacking – Checking for Vulnerabilities and Penetration Testing
There are two key activities to check how secure systems and servers are. Assessing the vulnerability of a network or systems in a network is one of the activities of ethical hacking. The activity normally involves use of an automated scanning process which fetches information related to the vitalities of the network such as the version of operating system used in the computers, the software products etc. This information is used to check for vulnerabilities in the network. The test provides results to show how vulnerable the system or network is but does not indicate how much risk is associated and how it can affect the network or systems. This is where penetration testing comes to picture.
Penetration testing is done to show the impact of vulnerabilities in the network or systems. The aim of the test will be to take advantage of the vulnerabilities to gain access to systems cracking passwords to confidential folders. Ultimately the ethical hacker uses the test to show CEOs, CFOs and other heads of an organization the level of risk to the information because of vulnerabilities in the network. This can help the business heads make informed decisions about information security requirements of the company.
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