Most people think of hacking as disruptive and damaging, but the truth is that hackers are a necessary component of cyber and information security. Launching an ethical hack is important if individuals and organizations are going to be able to effectively tighten up security vulnerabilities.
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So why is hacking the best way to test a network or system?
Reason #1: Malicious hackers are never going to quit their attempts to crack systems.
They are always developing new and advanced tools and methods to bypass existing security protocols. If ethical hackers do not keep up with them, then systems and networks will be compromised daily like never before. The best way to beat your opponent is to learn how they think, know everything that they know (and then some), and beat them at their own game.
Reason#2: Legal compliance and checklist audits just won’t cut it.
There are certain laws and regulations that necessitate proper security measures be put in place by organizations. However, complying with these regulations does not mean that you are automatically secure from malicious hackers. Checklist audits are great, but they won’t provide the protection required. Ethical hacking tools and methods are the best way to find those real vulnerabilities that an audit cannot detect.
Reason #3: Ethical hacking can work together with high-level security audits.
There is no reason to put all your eggs in one basket. Having compliance checks and internal audits as part of your security initiative is great, but incorporating ethical hacking as part of the process is much more effective.
Reason #4: Partners and clients are now more keen on the security of organizations they do business with.
There are a lot of businesses who won’t work with a partner who cannot assure them of the security of their network. Clients and partners now demand in-depth security assessments of companies they work with. An ethical hacking report can provide this assurance.
Reason #5: With information systems getting more complex every day, it won’t be long before malicious hackers gain the upper hand.
People need to be aware that a malicious hacker needs to find just one flaw in a system to launch an attack. The guys at the IT department need to find all vulnerabilities. Who has the higher chance of success? In order to protect systems and networks, you need to think like a malicious hacker.
Reason #6: Ethical hacking shows potential threats in a practical way.
In most cases, people in management don’t really grasp the impact that a criminal hacker can have on their systems. It’s one thing to know that passwords are weak, but seeing the outcome of an exploit resulting from weak passwords is a totally different case. Ethical hacking helps to improve people’s understanding of security vulnerabilities and motivate countermeasures to be put in place.
Reason #7: Ethical hacking can provide a fall back plan in case of a security breach.
If a malicious hacker gets into a system and the business is slapped with a lawsuit, the management can use previous hacking tests to show that it was engaging in periodic security checks. It can be very costly if it is proven that a business was not doing enough to secure the information that was entrusted to it.
Reason #8: Ethical hacking incorporates both vulnerability evaluations and penetration testing.
On its own, a vulnerability evaluation is simply not adequate enough to detect every flaw in the system. The same is true for a penetration test. However, combining the two through ethical hacking provides the best of both worlds.
Reason #9: Ethical hacking is able to reveal deep vulnerabilities that may have been ignored for a long time.
An ethical hacker usually uncovers technical, human, and physical vulnerabilities. However, hacking is also able to reveal flaws with the way IT and security personnel operate, for example, poor awareness, failure in change management, etc.