When you mention information security, hacking is the first thing that comes to mind. Everyone understands the term, from the seasoned computer professional to the novice user. Hacking and other exploits have seen an exponential rise in popularity due to technological advancements. Hacking is the use of sophisticated and new methods to hack into systems without the user’s permission or knowledge. This allows hackers to steal personal data and financial information, and cause other damages.
These terms are often used interchangeably, and are often confused. They are “ethical hackers” and “pen testing”. This article explains the various types of hackers, explains the term “pen testing” and details the differences.
Types of hacking
Although hackers are often referred to as hacking, there are many types of hackers. There are three types of hackers: “White hat hackers”, black hat hackers, and “grey-hat hackers”.
Black hat hackers: “Black hat hackers” hackers are those who have a malicious intent. These hackers are a major threat to the security of the world. They can hack into systems without permission and cause financial, physical, and personal damage.
This hacker is currently causing havoc with the ‘Capital One” data breach, where personal information of 106,000,000 customers was compromised. Source: @ cnet. White hat hackers: “To defeat a hacker you have to think like one ” I once read a saying that said “white hat hackers” and “ethical hackers” are exactly what they do. Companies employ them to identify security flaws, backdoors and security weaknesses within their organization’s security policies. The findings of flaws discovered during their analysis must be disclosed by ethical hackers. The entire process of ethical hacking includes all methods and procedures.
Gray hat hackers: A gray hat hacker is not as pure or as devious as a black hat hacker. However, the hacker may violate laws and regulations while hacking, though they are not as dangerous as the “black-hat” hacker.
After we have discussed hackers and ethical hacking, let’s see what “pen testing” is.
“Penetration testing” (or “Pen testing”) is a method of discovering vulnerabilities, risks, and flaws in target systems. Although it sounds a lot like an ethical hacker, the scope is much smaller. Wireshark and Metasploit are some of the tools that can perform a pentest. The pen testing results are used to improve the security of the system by identifying and fixing any vulnerabilities. Pen testing is not a one-time exercise. Because of the new security threats that emerge every day, it must be performed periodically by the organization.
Let’s now look at the differences between “ethical hacking”, and “pen testing”.
As the name suggests, “Pen testing” is a “test”. Ethical hacking, on the other hand is a complete process. Therefore, “pen testing”, while it is more limited than “ethical hackers,” is much more comprehensive.
The most respected certifications are more accepted by many “ethical hackers”. Pen testers don’t necessarily have to be certified, even if they are.
Pen testing is limited to a small number of systems, while ethical hacking is done on a larger number of systems.
Register for the CEH v10 course from EC-Council, or the Pentest+ course from CompTIA offered by InfoSec Training and get certified today! !