Ethical Hacking Overview

Ethical Hacker silhouette
Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is attempting to access a company’s network with their consent to fix vulnerabilities before criminals can find them.

Ethical Hacking Definition

Also called Penetration Testing, Ethical Hacking is testing the security of a network in order to find issues before malicious hackers do. The job of a white hat, or good hacker, is to find the holes in an organization’s security so they can be fixed before the black hat, or bad hackers, can take advantage of them.

Ethical Hacking vs. Malicious Hacking

There are two differences between malicious hacking and ethical hacking. One is the idea of consent. Before performing a penetration test, you must obtain the approval of a very high-ranking executive who knows what is about to happen — ideally a CEO or CTO. The other big difference is that you will be collecting information and writing a report, which is something that criminal hackers do not do.

Ethical Hacking Methods

The techniques employed by an Ethical Hacker are essentially the same as those of any criminal. The object of Ethical Hacking is to simulate the behaviors of someone who is malicious in order to replicate a critical situation so that the company is secured against a real attack. These techniques include everything from social engineering to gaining access and controlling systems remotely. These will be covered in more detail, and some of these techniques will be introduced in the next lesson, Reconnaissance and Footprinting.