Cyber crime is everyone’s problem. In the hyper-connected world that we currently live in, everyone is connected to each other and almost everything affects everything else. Think about it, a common person with a mobile phone and no high-level links can find out that much information about a stranger on the other side of the planet, that even a military officer could not before the internet arrived. The internet has given us immense power to gain knowledge about anything and anyone. But the other side of the coin is that while the internet gives us access to the whole world, it also gives the whole world access to us.
Cyber crime is a major problem in our digital lives. Cyber crime can include data theft, sexual blackmail, identity theft, financial fraud, data breaches, malware, viruses, crypto mining and even espionage. It is nothing less than a plague infecting the world. Seeing the trends, cyber incidents are on a rise every day and they keep amounting to more and more damages every year. Trillions of dollars are lost in cyber crime as companies battle this epidemic with all their might. The problem, however, does not go away. It seems like any amount of network defense or phishing awareness does not suffice the case.
The aim of this article is to highlight the fact that ethical hackers play a key role in preventing cyber crime and without them, we have no scope of decreasing cyber incidents to a significant rate. Ethical hacking is the practice of hacking into systems and networks just the way a criminal hacker would. This allows the organisation to identify potential security loopholes that could be manipulated or misused if they were discovered by a hacker. Also known as penetration testing, ethical hacking is an important step in cyber security as it finds and fixes those vulnerabilities that are left unnoticed by all other security departments.
One of the major problems that organisations face in tackling cyber mishaps is the lack of talent needed to fill their cyber security positions. There are millions of jobs that are going unfilled every year in the information security job market due to the bleak supply of competent young professionals. Ethical hackers form a major part of this missing population. Certification courses like the CEH course, the CPENT course, the CISSP course and the GPENT course are offered by plenty of institutions, both offline as well as online, but it seems like there are not enough takers. It is an unfortunate thing that penetration testers or ethical hackers are not even close to what we need in number, in order to fight cyber crime.
If you still have not gotten a clear picture of how important ethical hackers are, then consider this: If you own a jewellery store, what is the best way to protect it? Surely, you can install an alarm, a CCTV camera and the best locks in the world. But what if one of your ex-workers who knows the password to your locks, bugs the alarm machine and disables the camera? And this is just one way. There are hundreds of other ways in which someone can attack you and it is impossible for you to prepare for all these possibilities. That’s why penetration testers go through ethical hacking training where they learn the ways of criminal hackers and how to beat them at their own game.
Without ethical hackers, it is like relying on our locks and alarms to secure our valuable digital properties, whereas hackers find out new ways to bypass them and end up having the last laugh.