What is Ethical Hacking and its relevance to Cybersecurity?

2 min readFeb 17, 2021

Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing or pen testing, is getting legal authorization and access to breaking into computers, applications, and devices to test an organization’s securities. Performing an ethical hack includes copying techniques, policies, and activities of malicious hackers.

Ethical hacking assists with distinguishing Security weaknesses that can be settled before a malicious attacker has the chance to manipulate them.

Ethical hackers also called as “white caps hackers,” ethical hackers are security experts that conduct these assessments. They do assist with strengthening an organization’s security system. With pre-approval from the organization or owner of the IT asset, the objective of this type of hacking is contrary to malicious hacking.

What issues does ethical hacking detect?

While evaluating the security of an organization’s IT asset(s), hacking intends to imitate an attacker. The underlying objective is to acquire data as much as possible.

When the hacker collects sufficient data, they use it to search for vulnerabilities against the asset. They inspect by computerized and manual testing. Even complicated systems may have technologies that can be vulnerable. They don’t stop at uncovering vulnerabilities. Ethical hackers use abuses against the vulnerabilities to demonstrate how a malicious hacker could abuse it.

Few major vulnerabilities detected by Ethical hackers are :

  • Injection attacks
  • Broken authentication
  • Security misconfigurations
  • Use of components with known vulnerabilities
  • Sensitive data disclosure
  • Ethical hackers prepare a detailed report once done with the testing which probably includes measures to compromise the discovered vulnerabilities and steps to patch them.

Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking

There is a lot of confusion between these two terms: Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security. Cyber Security is a broad term where different computer security mechanisms are incorporated, and Ethical Hacking is one of them.

Cyber Security is a huge subject that incorporates a great deal of organization and data security mechanisms, for example, information security, digital forensics, Ethical Hacking, and so on. Accordingly, we can say that Ethical Hacking is a sub-component of Cyber Security.

Ethical Hacking is performed by ‘white-cap hackers whose work of hacking the systems is equivalent to that of ‘dark cap’ hackers, yet the goal is unique. On the other hand ethical hacking when hackers hack to secure the system.

Cybersecurity specialists don’t need to hack into the systems. Their responsibility is to ensure the safety of the system by taking all feasible protective measures.

In simple terms, Ethical Hackers utilize wrong and abusive safety efforts, and Cyber Security specialists utilize protective safety efforts.

After realizing the roles of a Cyber Security expert and an Ethical Hacker, their target and goals may be the same yet they employ various techniques for doing it.