Home Depot announced that personal financial information from 56 million credit and debit cards was at risk following a data security breach in September. Americans were still reeling from the Heartbleed bug, which compromised the security of some of the country’s largest companies in April 2014. Today cyber hacking – a crime that exploits technology to compromise personal information – is all too familiar.
In an increasingly digital world, financial losses from cybercrime will continue to rise. Experts estimate cybercrime leads to global financial losses of at least $375 billion annually, according to a 2014 Intel Security report.
How do businesses strengthen protection against cyber criminals? They beat them at their own game by employing ethical hackers. Cyber security expert Dr. Karmaveer Koonjbearry, professor in the Colleges of Business & Management, Engineering & Information Sciences and Health Sciences at DeVry University, explains how hacking can be used for good.
What is ethical hacking?
Ethical hacking is a legal, authorized process to identify security vulnerabilities in computer systems. Professional ethical hackers identify unnecessary open ports and backdoors that malicious hackers could potentially infiltrate to access files, credit card and Social Security numbers or other personal information. Ethical hackers make recommendations to large companies on how to mitigate such vulnerabilities.
Where do ethical hackers work?
Jobs for ethical hackers are expected to increase as organizations seek to strengthen their Internet security. Many large organizations already employ ethical hackers to test applications before they are deployed. Smaller organizations typically outsource ethical hacking periodically to check their systems.
What training is available for someone who wants to become an ethical hacker?
Degree programs in computer information systems and network and communications management can prepare students well for future careers in ethical hacking. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) offers a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) course to help professionals develop the skills required and prepare for the EC-Council CEH Certification exam.
What soft skills should ethical hackers possess?
Ethical hackers must have strong communication skills to explain system vulnerabilities constructively to corporate leadership, Web developers and application owners. They must be efficient yet thorough, and be prepared to work with some people who may not welcome the additional work required to secure their systems.
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