Nov 15, 2016 in Hackers, Cyber Security, IT / By Dave Davenport

Computer Hackers: Where They Come From & What They Can Do

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For years now, computer hackers have held the reputation of gaining access to networks for the purpose of criminal activities such as theft of information, money, identity, or to just wreck havoc. What many people don't know is that not all hackers engage in hacking with the aim of taking advantage of the system. Some do it for the sake of safeguarding it.

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Who is a hacker?

In the early 1960’s when hacking started becoming prevalent, a ‘hacker’ was a positive term used to refer to a person with the mastery of computers, and who could push the programs to perform beyond what they were designed to do. During these years, University facilities such as MIT’s artificial intelligence lab became major staging grounds for hackers to exploit their talents. These skilled individuals practiced hard-core programming with FORTRAN and other programming languages, and are arguably the forefathers and pioneers of the talented individuals who are today’s true hackers.

The 3 types of hackers

  1. Black hat hackers: This is the type of hackers that is commonly known by people on the ground. They are the individuals or groups that violate computer security for their own gains, such as stealing credit card information or personal data to sell it to identity thieves.
  2. White hat hackers: These are hackers that do the exact opposite of black hat hackers. They are otherwise known as ‘ethical hackers’. They use their intelligence to compromise computer security systems, always with the permission of a client, to detect flaws and loopholes in the security systems and suggest ways to close them. Their main aim is to help the client prevent potential attacks and breaches by black-hat hackers.
  3. Grey hat hackers: There is always something in the middle of extreme and insignificant. Grey hat hackers lie between good and bad (that is, between Black and White hat hackers). A grey hat hacker doesn’t hack for personal gains or to cause havoc, but they may penetrate systems illegally and then report to the hacked organization, allowing it to fix the problem.

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So, how can White/Ethical hackers help your company or business?

A certified Ethical Hacker is an expert who has undergone training in cyber security, and received certification from the EC-Council. Such individuals have in-born hacking talent and with additional training on offensive security, they master the knowledge and skills needed to hack into company networks and hosts for the purpose of doing good.

As a client, white hat hackers target your security systems in the same manner as illegal hackers do. However, they do this with your full authorization and are bound by your terms of engagement. Their method of approach is known as certified hacking or penetration testing. Penetration testing reveals all the security flaws that black hat hackers could exploit and allows your company to fix the flaws beforehand.

Perhaps you are wondering why you need to go to such lengths to protect your company?

Well, recent events strongly indicate that black hat hackers are out there, and they are relentlessly targeting businesses of all sizes. They aim to steal intellectual property such as business plans, new product designs, and other classified information. Such a security breach could result in a variety of negative outcomes such as confidential information being traded to your competitors, luck of trust with your customers, and in extreme cases the shut-down of your business.

Don’t let your business fall prey to malicious cyber security attacks. Contact us if you need professional help to test your computer security systems, and enable you to shut out black-hat hackers before they cause any damage.

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