Cyber Security Vs Ethical Hacking: Know the Difference?

Cyber security and ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing fields, have the same goal. Each is working towards the betterment of a company’s security system, albeit with vastly different methods and objectives – all connected to the same goal: keeping a system safe.

What are the differences between cyber security and ethical hacking? Ethical Hacking is all about finding vulnerabilities that are open for exploitation well before hackers find them. Cyber Security on the other hand is about mitigating any security risks by using appropriate security controls, so with vulnerabilities found with Ethical Hacking, Cyber Security will look at remediating vulnerabilities.

Ethical hacking is part of the Cyber Security, as it allows the risks of potential vulnerabilities, misconfigurations and poor security practices to be quickly found. With Cyber Security then responsible for fixing the security issues to ensure the risk of attack and breach are minimized.

The following table highlights the further differences between Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking.

Cyber security does this… ..and Ethical Hackers do this
1.Recognizes/resolves potential security issues  Attempts to breach that security  
2.Develops access privileges for system protection Tries to hack into that system 
3.Reports violations/anything out of the ordinary Exploits company weaknesses using tests to show weaknesses
4.Assesses security system in place and incorporates improvements using most current technology and with company requirements anticipatedPenetration testers test these improvements for effectiveness and work to enhance ideology
5.Perform regular audits to assess for inefficiencies and violationsEvaluate the system for performance based on criteria that are established
6.Regular system maintenance to keep security updatedRegular system, network, and web application security testing designed in an attempt to violate the system
7.Allow transparency for anyone who has access to the system via status reportsFollowing completed research and thorough tests, findings are documented, and security reports are written

Testers consult with management and IT regarding resolutions and offer feedback once fixes are in place
8.Working with various clients to show them where security weaknesses are and help them make improvementsThis group does the same thing only with a different technique

They use their weaknesses to show them where they need to make improvements
9.Show the impact that the violations will bring to an organizationConsider how the ‘attack’ they implement is going to affect the business and users 
10.Needs to stay informed on technical advances via various training options, including workshopsThe ethical hacker is preferred to have a bachelor’s degree, but it is possible to go in at entry level with the appropriate technical background 

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