Finding vulnerabilities with ethical hacking

What is ethical hacking?

Well, first consider that hackers are everyday individuals that will have jobs and responsibilities. These people can be programmers, coders, or career criminals – but if there’s one thing that they will all have in common, it’s that they can cause millions of dollars in damage every year. There are typically two types of hackers; those that practice their activities for entertainment, and those that wish to gain something out of it.

But there is a secret third type of hacker, the anti-hacker if you will and these experts are invaluable to businesses that operate their own online presence via a website. Often referred to as ethical hackers, these individuals are willing to offer their expertise and digital prowess, in return for a fee, or some form of compensation.

What is does crowdsourced security  do?

Hackers often come from backgrounds where they will have been exposed to coding and programming, although there are those that are self-taught, too. Some will dedicate hours of their time to causing damage to websites simply because they want to, but it’s not uncommon for them to do so for financial gain as well.

Crowdsourcing works by bringing these hackers together with businesses; and instead of doing so to damage the infrastructure of a site, these ethical hackers will instead offer to discover flaws and weaknesses in return for a fee. Many businesses have started to utilise this method, as it is the digital equivalent of fighting fire with fire.

How to Crowdsource your application security testing

This unique take on the hacking genre has taken the world by storm, so much so that many businesses are now offering thousands of dollars in compensation in return for ethical hackers to source, identify and report potential weaknesses that may leave a site exposed to hacking. The process starts by a company releasing a bounty for white hat hackers, in return for evaluating the companies’ website. When bugs, glitches and issues are discovered, they can be reported to the website owner directly, where they will be able to pay for the effort and then rectify the concerns.

Enhanced firewall installation

Most networks are exposed to no fewer than a dozen intrusion attempts on a daily basis – and many of these attempts originate from automatic bots that are consistently attempting to gain access to a site’s infrastructure. Some hackers create even more advanced systems that will actively seek out weaknesses in coding and programming, and an enhanced firewall can go a long way in deterring these efforts. By upgrading a firewall, the network will be able to almost immediately identify any hacking attempts and then block them.

Can online security really be improved?

This is where white hat, or ethical, hackers come into the fray. It’s their job to review, evaluate and identify a website’s flaws and possible weaknesses. Many ethical coders will have access to the most advanced tools and resources – plenty of which will have been designed and developed by their community, so employing their use in a safe manner can help to ensure that a website won’t fall victim to someone using the tools with criminal intentions.

As far as a business is concerned, the ability to have a knowledgeable expert locate and report the most prominent bugs and issues can be very beneficial – and once identified, it can be a simple task to introduce measures to metaphorically fix the break within their system. And all that a white hat hacker will want in return is a fee to act as compensation; something that thousands of businesses are willing to pay, in return for helping to protect their sites and services from unsavoury activities.