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White Hat Hacking

  • Amruta Bhaskar
  • Jun 28, 2021
  • 1 comment(s)
  • 731 Views

Ethical hacking is a security practice where a hired hacker, either an individual or an appointment within a company attempts to break into a system, simulating a malicious cyber-attackers action. The ethical hacker, colloquially known as a white hat hacker is typically a computer security expert specializing in pen testing, penetration testing, and other testing methodologies.

Ethical hacking plays an essential role in checking for weaknesses and entry points in a network, infrastructure, and web application security. A white-hat hacker uses the same methods as a malicious hacker would use. The ethical hacker's goal is to test the safety of an organization's information systems to improve their security. Given the value of ethical hacking, especially considering the damage caused by successful malicious hacking, there is increasing interest in deploying ethical hackers to combat today’s cyber threats.

A white-hat hacker is a computer security specialist who breaks into protected systems and networks to test and assess their security. White hat hackers use their skills to improve security by exposing vulnerabilities before malicious hackers (known as black hat hackers) can detect and exploit them. Although the methods used are similar, if not identical, to those employed by malicious hackers, white hat hackers have permission to employ them against the organization that has hired them.

White hat hackers are usually seen as hackers who use their skills to benefit society. They may be reformed black hat hackers or they may simply be well-versed in the methods and techniques used by hackers. An organization can hire these consultants to do tests and implement best practices that make them less vulnerable to malicious hacking attempts in the future.

For the most part, the term is synonymous with "ethical hacker." The term comes from old Western movies where the cliché was for the "good guy" to wear a white cowboy hat. Of course, the "bad guys" always seemed to wear a black hat.

The main types of ethical hacking include:

·        White Hat Hackers (also known as Ethical Hackers) -They never intended to harm a system; instead, they try to find out weaknesses in a computer or a network system as a part of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. These hackers aren't doing anything illegal, and it's usually done as their job.

·        Black Hat Hackers (also known as crackers)- hack to gain unauthorized access to a system and harm its operations or steal sensitive information. This is illegal as they intend to do bad things, including stealing corporate data, violating the privacy, or damaging the system.

·        Grey Hat Hackers– These are a blend of both black hat and white hat hackers. They act without malicious intent, but for their fun, they exploit a security weakness in a computer system or network without the owner's permission or knowledge but plan to let the owner know of the defect.

What do White Hat Hackers Do?

Most commonly, white hat hackers are employed by specific businesses. These experts then set about identifying weaknesses and helping to improve security.

To safeguard services and assets against attack, white hat hackers are often behind the scenes, thwarting attacks in real-time. In addition, they can be focused on cyber threat analysis, exposing weaknesses to try to help guide and prioritize vulnerability remediation.

White Hat Penetration Testing

In the enterprise security arena, white hat hackers have traditionally offered penetration testing (widely known as pentesting) services. In typical pentesting engagements, white hat hackers are hired by organizations that are looking to bolster their defences. These white hat hackers then seek to hack into their client’s networks. In some cases, they may be given a broad charter to try to attack specific assets, such as private networks, applications, and endpoints. Alternatively, they may be given a broad mandate to uncover security gaps, wherever they may be.

By using talented hackers to find gaps, security teams can better test their defences. In this way, these teams can therefore be better positioned to eliminate gaps and strengthen their defences—before a real attack happens. Based on the insights a white hat hacker uncovers, teams may need to establish new policies, update or change configurations, or update or replace tools.

Using real attack techniques to proactively find weakness is the best and only way to truly prove the effectiveness of security defences. White hat hackers often use the same tools and techniques as their black hat counterparts. The techniques employed can range from simple public “root kits” with documented approaches, to complex and sophisticated campaigns that may include social engineering, exploiting endpoint vulnerabilities, presenting attack decoys, spoofing protocols, and more.

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June 4, 2022 | Cyse con