Hacking, which has been a part of computing for over 50 years, is a very broad discipline that covers a wide range of topics. The first reported hack was in 1960 at MIT and the term ‘Hacker’ was used.
For non-geeks, here’s a brief introduction. Computer software consists of computer programs that give instructions on how hardware should perform certain tasks. These softwares are often prepared by programmers, who have full access to all programs. The programs are then sold to users with strict rules or protocols whereby only certain authorized people can access them (usually with passwords) for security reasons. Theoretically, no one except these authorized people has access to use them.
How can others gain unauthorized access?
1. The original programmers, who prepared the source code and invariably provided their own entry points, hatches, and passwords.
2. Former users who are no longer authorized users, but whose passwords have not been removed.
3. Other unscrupulous people who wish to access the system for ulterior motives.
4. Since there is so much activity and business run by computers, and most computers are connected to the Internet, they are open for various people to access through the Internet.
5. Computers are also prone to malware and virus attacks, leaving them open to hacker and malware attacks. These ‘virus infections’ and ‘worms’ are introduced by people who want to hack into the system and steal information or cause entire systems to crash or destroy all stored data.
Just as virus attacks on computers are prevented with antivirus software like MacAfee etc. Businesses protect themselves from hacking by employing ethical hackers. The EC Council defines an ethical hacker as ‘a person who generally works with an organization and who can be trusted to attempt to break into networks and/or computer systems using the same methods and techniques as a malicious hacker’.
It refers to the act of locating weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer and information systems by duplicating the intent and actions of malicious users.
It is also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing, or network teaming. It requires them to look at the customer network as potential malicious attackers, and then design the appropriate security measures to protect customers from attack. |
So why are ethical hackers needed?
1. They are needed to identify and seal off all potential hacker access points, which can be people or sophisticated software, including ‘worms’.
2. In simple language, an ethical hacker thinks and works like an unethical hacker to find and exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses in various systems, and how they can be breached.
3. Then, come up with methods to protect the vulnerabilities by building firewalls, stronger passwords, frequent password changes, using iris scans or fingerprints in addition to passwords, encryption, etc.
4 They must also prevent entry (entry) from the original programmers who created the software and from people who are no longer authorized to log into the system.
5. They may also suggest VPN (Virtual Private Network), a secure tunnel between a computer and visited destinations on the Internet. It uses a VPN server, which can be located anywhere in the world and provides privacy. VPN will do the job to prevent someone from snooping through your browsing history or spying on you. VPN will make you browse from the geographic location of the server, not from the location of your computer, so we will remain anonymous.
Since most personal data is available today on the Internet for a price, data privacy is a serious concern; Hackers can easily buy your personal data and steal your data using your passwords for other sites (since most people have the same weak passwords for different apps and rarely change passwords). They will educate users on how to choose difficult passwords, where to record or not record passwords, and how often you need to change passwords.