Cybercrime continues to grow at an astounding and devastating rate; more than 93% of organizations in the healthcare field alone experienced a data breach in the past few years (Sobers, 2021).
While most people with any degree of tech acumen are familiar with criminal hackers, fewer are familiar with the field of ethical hacking. As cyberattack techniques evolve, an equally fast-growing (legal) hacking movement has sprung up to stop cybercriminals: ethical hacking.
What Is an Ethical Hacker?
In the more commonly known illegal counterpart to ethical hacking, cybercriminals (also known as malicious hackers) seek vulnerabilities to exploit in an organization’s network. Ethical hackers, on the other hand, are security experts retained by organizations to proactively identify vulnerabilities before someone with ill intent discovers them. Ethical hackers improve a company’s security by finding weaknesses and providing remediation advice.
Understanding Hacking Roles
The field of cybersecurity is broad and complex, so it’s not surprising that there are several subsets of the hacking community. Ethical hackers may work for a cybersecurity firm, work in house at an organization, or find contract roles by working as independent consultants.
Red teamers are ethical hackers who focus on the offensive side of cybersecurity, explicitly attacking systems and breaking down defenses. After a series of simulated attacks, red teams will make recommendations to the organization regarding how to strengthen its network security.