According to internet service provider (ISP) Beaming, 2020 was the busiest year on record for cyber attacks against UK firms, which is no surprise, given that reliance on technology increases every year.
Given the increase in number and variety of attacks, one would hope businesses are ready to defend themselves. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Recent research by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre found that 38% of Scottish businesses do not feel prepared for a cyber attack.
It’s therefore more critical than ever for businesses to strengthen their cyber defences to stay ahead of cyber criminals – but they clearly need help. Enter: ethical hackers, or offensive security testers and researchers.
Understanding ethical hacking
The best way to check your business can withstand a cyber attack is by attacking it yourself. This way, should you have any vulnerabilities in your defences, you’re not at risk of sharing sensitive data.
Ethical hackers, sometimes called white hat hackers, are typically information security experts granted permission to break into a business system to uncover security vulnerabilities. In doing so, they can demonstrate to the business how to prevent criminals from obtaining access. Ethical hacking can also involve testing employees’ responses to an attempted attack. Businesses are increasingly realising the benefits of this, and turning to ethical hackers to test and strengthen their cyber resilience.
Declan Doyle, Scottish Business Resilience Centre
Following an ethical hack, in-house security experts can identify and help resolve any vulnerabilities, including providing staff education where necessary.
Finding and trusting hackers
Ethical hacking requires a level of trust between the hacker and the organisation – specifically, the organisation must trust that the hacker is experienced, well-trained and has no malicious intent. While it’s still a relatively new job function – no licensing is…