Ethical Hacking

Topics: Black hat, White hat, Hacker Pages: 7 (2253 words) Published: May 4, 2012

Due to the advance technology of the Internet, the government, private industry and the everyday computer user have fears of their data or private information being comprised by a criminal hacker. C.C. Palmer, who manages the Network Security and Cryptography department at the IBM. Thomas J. Watson Research Center writes, “They are afraid that some hacker will break into their Web server and replace their logo with pornography, read their e-mail, steal their credit card number from an on-line shopping site, or implant software that will secretly transmit their organization’s secrets to the open Internet”. This hacking is not only widespread, but is being executed so flawlessly that the attackers compromise a system, steal everything of value and completely erase their tracks within 20 minutes. Because of criminal hackers, ethical hacking is rapidly becoming an accepted business practice.

One of the most significant current discussions in the information technology community is Ethical hacking? The topic of discussion varies from “why is ethical hacking so popular?” to “Can hacking be ethical?”

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking is the controversial practice of employing the tools and tactics of hackers to test the security precautions protecting a network. Ethical hacking is also called “penetration testing” and “intrusion testing” or “red teaming,” a term used when the U.S. government began hacking its own systems in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Telecommunications companies – a frequent target of budding cyber vandals who could gain street credibility by messing with the local phone company – began using ethical hacking as well. Banks caught on in the 1990s, and later in that decade, most e-commerce firms depended on ethical hacking as a critical security measure, since a single interruption or intrusion could cause massive financial problems. Consequently, a company main goal in hiring ethical hackers is to test for vulnerabilities and mitigate them or defend against them.

Why is ethical hacking so popular?

According to Author James Tiller, a security services expert, states his opinion of why ethical hacking is as popular as, “Several reasons can be attributed to the frenzy we’re seeing, but for me one seems to stand out. Based on hundreds of conversations with companies throughout the United States and most of Europe, many feel they are practicing sound security and have tamed the beast. Now all that is left for them is to test.

Can hacking be ethical?

According to author Kimberly Graves, the answer is “Yes! Ethical hackers are usually security professionals or network penetration testers who use their hacking skills and tool sets for defensive and protective purposes”.

Who Are the Attackers?

Ethical hackers are up against several individuals in the battle to secure the network. The following list presents some of the more commonly used terms for these attackers: * Phreakers: The original hackers. These individuals hacked telecommunication and PBX systems to explore the capabilities and make free phone calls. Their activities include physical theft, stolen calling cards, access to telecommunication services, reprogramming of telecommunications equipment, and compromising user-id’s and passwords to gain unauthorized use of facilities, such as phone systems and voice mail. * Script/Click Kiddies: A term used to describe often younger attackers who use widely available freeware vulnerability assessment tools and hacking tools that are designed for attacking purposes only. These attackers typically do not have any programming or hacking skills and, given the technique used by most of these tools, can be defended against with the proper security controls and risk mitigation strategies. * Disgruntled employee: Employees who have lost respect and integrity for the employer. These individuals might or might not have more skills than the script kiddies. Many times, their rage...
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