There are three primary types of hackers known to the web: Black Hat, White Hat, and Grey Hat. These different hats are meant to imply the morality level of the hacker wearing them, though the hats are purely metaphoric. Today, we’re going to be focusing on White Hat Hackers, also known as ethical hackers.

A black hat hacker, a grey hat hacker, and a white hat hacker

There’s More Than One Way to Protect Your Data

Imagine, for a moment, that you own a wealthy company. Odds are that you have a vast amount of crucial and private data stored in computers or on servers. This data is likely protected using security software, but it’s important to remember that no security software is perfect. There are vulnerabilities that can be exploited by black hat hackers whose ultimate goal is to steal your sensitive data. So, what can you do to stay protected?

Luckily, there are a few options. You can certainly invest in additional or alternative security software, but you’re still taking a risk exposing vulnerabilities. You could also hope for the best with your current software, but you won’t be able to ensure that your data is completely out of harm’s way. The more practical and efficient option is to hire an ethical hacker.

What Does an Ethical Hacker Do?

When you hire an ethical hacker, they begin by doing all that they can to breach your security system and gather all of your data. You might be scratching your head at this point. “But isn’t that exactly what black hat hackers do?!” Well, sure, but it’s the end goal that differentiates the two. The ethical hacker uses different methods, from simple to intricate, to hack into your system and access data in order to gather results for what is called ‘penetration testing.’ These tests are conducted to show the specific areas of vulnerability within your system.

Once the vulnerabilities are discovered, the ethical hacker will work with you and other technology professionals to patch the holes in your proverbial fence, leaving you with a much stronger security system than you started with.

Hiring an ethical hacker is one of the best ways to fortify your systems and prevent a potential breach. The best way to catch a thief is to hire another thief since he or she knows the precise way their mind works and is an expert in the tactics they use. So it certainly makes sense that when you want to stop a hacker, you hire a hacker!

How Does One Become an Ethical Hacker?

Ethical hacking requires a bit of training and preparation in both technical and social areas of expertise. There are various certifications that can help prepare a young hacker for their career, including the A+ Certification, Security+, CISSP, or TICSA. However, ethical hacking isn’t only about crunching numbers and coding. Young ethical hackers also need soft skills like communication, manipulation, and problem-solving.

After all, there are many ways to procure a password. Simply asking, for example, is a great way to do this. Now, you might be thinking, “Who would give out a password to a stranger at work?” You would have a good point, however, there are ways of spoofing your email address to appear as another member of the company; for example, the CEO. Now, would you give your password to your CEO if they sent you an e-mail requiring it? That seems far more likely. This is only one way that a hacker might try to get into your system, and unethical hackers are coming up with new strategies every day. With ample training, ethical hackers can protect your company’s future.

Here’s How MAGIC Can Help

The Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, also known as MAGIC, is here to help prepare young people for careers in the wonderful world of technology by fostering a thriving tech-ecosystem for them to explore. We also host amazing events, such as our Capture the Flag, an entry-level cybersecurity competition, scheduled for November 9, 2019, and our annual Hackathon where students learn to design, build, and pitch an app in a week, which is in February of 2020. These events are free to the public, so tell all your young, technology-minded friends and join us on these unique and hands-on adventures!