Jetking Blog/How do ethical hackers keep us safe? An inside look

How do ethical hackers keep us safe? An inside look

Tuesday, June 04, 2024


Before evaluating and understanding the magical impact of ethical hackers, let’s evaluate the cost and impact if there were no ethical hackers. Ethical hacking is a growing profession as Digital and data dependence is increasing day by day, physical systems, and processes are transitioning to digital systems and processes. The absence of ethical hackers can lead to substantial economic losses due to increased vulnerability to cyberattacks. These losses can stem from various factors, including data breaches, financial fraud, intellectual property theft, and disruptions to operations. Here are some specific ways in which the lack of ethical hackers can result in economic losses:

● A data breach is an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner. Data breaches can result in direct financial losses due to theft of sensitive information, regulatory fines, legal fees, and costs associated with notification and remediation. The average cost of a data breach in 2023 was approximately $4.45 million per incident according to a credible source.

Financial fraud happens when someone deprives you of your money, capital, or otherwise harms your financial health through deceptive, misleading, or other illegal practices. Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities to commit financial fraud, resulting in direct monetary losses for businesses and individuals. The global cost of cybercrime is estimated to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 as quoted by a credible source

Intellectual property is a result of creativity, such as design or Pans. Theft of intellectual property (IP) can result in lost revenue, reduced competitive advantage, and increased costs for innovation and research. IP theft costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

The productivity of organization is one of the most important factors for measurements of objectives of any business organizations, Cyberattacks can cause significant disruptions to business operations, leading to lost productivity, downtime, and increased recovery costs. The average cost of downtime from ransomware attacks alone was estimated at $1.85 million in 2021 by a credible source.

Business reputation is a very important intangible asset. This brings interest and loyalty from customers. If due to cyber-attacks, customer data and private information is leaked, it also means a severe dent to the business reputation. incidents can severely damage an organization's reputation, leading to loss of customers, reduced market value, and decreased investor confidence. The long-term financial impact of reputational damage can be significant, often exceeding direct costs.

● In this first party cookie data world, organizations are becoming more compliant when it comes to protection of customer data or else they have to face hefty penalties due to increased global compliance, rules and regulations and countries specific data privacy laws, Non-compliance with data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) due to security breaches can result in substantial fines and legal fees. GDPR fines can reach up to 4% of a company's annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is higher.

● Cyber-attacks may lead to increasing the cost of insurance premiums upon renewal. If there is a known substantial damage to the organization, asset or data due to cyber-attacks, the insurance organization charges a higher premium upon renewal Organizations that experience frequent or severe cyber incidents may face higher cybersecurity insurance premiums. Cyber insurance costs have been rising, with premiums increasing by an average of 28% in 2022.

Loss of Business revenue building Opportunities may happen due to cyber security breaches. Security breaches can lead to loss of business opportunities and contracts, especially for companies in sectors where security is a critical concern. Potential revenue loss from lost business opportunities can be substantial, particularly for B2B companies.

Without the proactive measures and expertise of ethical hackers, organizations are far more likely to experience these kinds of incidents, leading to significant and sometimes catastrophic economic losses. Due to the above listed factors now, we are aware that path, hacking or information security department has a very important role to play in safeguarding your organization. If you are a very small organization, it may not matter, but as the organization size and customer size grow, then the importance of safeguarding customer data and organizational systems become very critical for any organization. Now, let’s understand the importance of ethical hackers.

How an ethical hacker offers several advantages to organizations, society and government:

Preventing a potential attack due to an existing vulnerability in the system: While a system is designed and developed, there might be certain loopholes which are there in the systems. Before a hacker gets into your system and does a cyber-attack, the ethical hackers can check the system vulnerabilities which can prevent potential attacks to happen, Ethical hackers help to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, government systems, and public services, thereby reducing the risk of cyberattacks that could disrupt essential services.

Prevention of theft of sensitive data: Organization have a duty to protect its customers, personal, financial and health information and even countries are working on creating systems where in even without citizens permission, they can’t use any data. so, it is very important to prevent sensitive data and even non sensitive data; by securing systems and networks, ethical hackers help to protect sensitive personal and financial data from being stolen or compromised, safeguarding citizens' privacy and preventing identity theft.

Maintaining economical order: Hacking can create havoc and disorder by destabilizing system information and can create ruckus in economic order. Preventing cyberattacks on financial institutions, businesses, and government agencies helps maintain economic stability. It reduces the risk of financial loss, fraud, and the economic impact of large-scale cyber incidents.

Maintaining national security: We always hear the stories of Russian and Chinese attackers working to find laws in US government systems. If critical government or ministry systems are hacked and national secrets leaked, this becomes a matter of grave, national security, Ethical hackers play a key role in protecting national security by securing military, intelligence, and governmental networks against espionage, sabotage, and other cyber threats. By ensuring the security and integrity of government services and online platforms, ethical hackers help build public trust in digital systems and e-governance.

Ethical hackers promote adherence to legal and ethical standards in cybersecurity practices, helping to create a safer and more transparent digital environment. Overall, ethical hackers contribute significantly to the resilience and security of digital infrastructure, protecting society and government from the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. We must say that ethical hackers have a very strong role to play in society.

Ethical hackers use a variety of methods to safeguard the systems of organizations and governments, including:

Penetration testing refers to ethical hackers scaling planned attacks against a company's security infrastructure to hunt down security vulnerabilities that need to be acted upon well in time. Simulating real-world attacks to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in systems, networks, and applications. This helps organizations understand their security weaknesses and take corrective actions.

Vulnerability scanning refers to finding weaknesses and flows in systems and software and is the most important method deployed by ethical. Using automated software and hacking tools to scan systems for known vulnerabilities, such as outdated software, misconfigurations, and unpatched security flaws.

Planned security audits referred to an organization, proactive measure to conduct security audits by a third-party company or Consultant, or sometimes even by internal employees who have a better understanding of the weaknesses of the systems. Conducting thorough reviews of an organization's security policies, procedures, and controls to ensure they are effective and in compliance with industry standards and best practices.

● Once we have done a security audit, we come to know the potential risks of not improving the weakness of the organizational system. Risk assessment is one of the most important activities for the continuous operations of any organization. It involves the assessment of the potential risks to an organization's assets and operations from various threats and vulnerabilities. This helps prioritize security efforts and allocate resources effectively.

● If suppose the cyber-attack has happened, then it is the responsibility of the ethical hackers to report the incidents and their potential damage. Developing and implementing plans for responding to security incidents, including identifying, containing, eradicating, and recovering from breaches. Performing full-scope, adversarial simulations to test an organization's security defenses, detection capabilities, and response procedures. This involves emulating the tactics, techniques, and procedures of real attackers. Implementing tools and processes to continuously monitor systems and networks for suspicious activity, potential threats, and anomalies. This enables rapid detection and response to emerging threats.

Software code reviews for security lapses are one of the most important activities of ethical hackers. They are trained to examine source code for security flaws and vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting (XSS). This helps secure software applications before they are deployed. Conducting simulated phishing attacks to test employees' awareness and response to phishing attempts. This helps improve security awareness and training programs. Ensuring that all software and systems are up to date with the latest security patches and updates to protect against known vulnerabilities. Even Ensuring that systems are configured securely, following best practices and guidelines to minimize potential attack surfaces.

Education and awareness of cyber security: Creating awareness about cyber security threats and educating fellow colleagues is another important tool and activity of ethical hackers. Providing training sessions and awareness programs to educate employees and stakeholders about cybersecurity best practices, threat recognition, and safe online behavior. By employing these methods, ethical hackers help organizations and governments proactively identify and address security vulnerabilities, reducing the risk of cyberattacks and enhancing overall security posture.

To help proceed for this education goal, Jetking has conceptualized, and launched a certificate program in ethical hacking. Please click on the ethical hacking Program page to read more about this course on ethical hacking from Jetking and also read the blog on how ethical hacking can be a thrilling career choice.

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