Ethical Hacking

Though I had heard of Ethical Hacking in the past, I have never thought further on this subject. This post is a starting point to learn more.

A police officer(now retired) who had been with the cyber cell for the last few years gave a good analogy to understand what’s Ethical Hacking. Ethical Hacking is akin to a yesteryear wrestler who keeps people to hit him to check his own strength and know his own vulnerability against an attack.

An ethical hacker is a computer and network expert who attacks a security system on behalf of its owners, seeking vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could attempt. (defn from the net).

The term itself is an oxymoron with “ethical” and “hacking”. Hacking is illegal. Ethical hacking is not. As long as the hacking does not cause a victim, it is not considered an offence. The moment it causes someone to be a victim, it becomes a crime. To acknowledge the good-guy-role of an ethical hacker, they have been given the nickname “White Hat”.

One of the speakers in a recent conference on cyber security added that someone tried a lot of workshops with the title “Software Security Practices” and he was struggling to sell the course. The same workshop under the title “Ethical Hacking” seemed to have been a sell-out. So everyone is using this term freely now and I understand there is a mushroom growth of such courses now in India. Outsourcing companies ask vendors to do ethical hacking and check their systems for safety.

Now the debate is if this would help or create more trouble. The guy who learns it may use it anyway he wants? Some people strongly object to the practice of teaching ethical hacking as courses. Their question is, “how do you keep out the bad guys?”. As of now, there seem to be no restrictions on ethical hacking or teaching it.

Ethical Hacking is one of the high paying jobs too. Those who are in it seem to love what they do. They say, as in real world, security expertise is not for everyone. Some say that it is not a job but meant for passionate people.

What do you think? Is it good or bad? Feel free to share and educate.

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