When you think about hackers, the primary connotations of the word and the images in your heads are negative. Hacker has become synonymous with a criminal, although that’s not always the case. White hats or white-hat hackers use their knowledge of computer technology ethically, to actually do good. It’s the black hat hacker that we think of who tarnished the reputation of the term. In this article, we’ll focus on the ethical white hat hacker and worthwhile information about them!
What is hacking in general and why does it matter?
In general, hacking refers to the use of technical skills in order to gain unauthorized access to a system or network. As the world has become more and more dependable on digital systems, there is often more use in protecting a business’ or personal digital belongings rather than physical ones. So, hackers are just persons or entities that try to access someone else’s digital property without authorization. Digital burglars, per se.It may seem like an almost clear definition of a criminal, but hacking always has an intent and it must be distinguished before labeling the hacker. Hacking can lead to damages and blackmail, but it can also lead to improvements in digital security. The catch here is the aforementioned intent of the hacker. Whether they’re white-hat or black-hat.
White hat hackers vs black hat hackers
White hats are computer programmers that discover simple or complex security flaws in digital architecture without maliciously exploiting them for gains. A white-hat hacker can be employed by someone concerned for their digital security. They can also work as freelancers, trying to find leads manually and source common and easily fixable digital vulnerabilities for businesses. Once they do, the businesses often choose to employ the white hat hacker to fix that issue. It’s a career and a very useful one. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the traditional or the black hat hacker. They are cyber criminals in the truest sense. Black hats find the same security flaws and exploit them for personal gains without giving the option to choose. A black hat breaks into computer networks and can steal, declassify, leak and mess with the data provided.
Black hats are very mysterious and take huge steps in order to protect their identity, meaning that the attacker can be someone right down your street or from a different continent altogether. These hackers can act as rogue attackers or work with a large, ideological (e.g. Anonymous), extremist, or even outright criminal group. Their motivations vary greatly.
As you can see, the largest goal of most black-hats is to hold you for ransom and get huge sums of cash in exchange for leaving you or your website alone.
But let’s get back to white hat hacking!
White hat hacking as a career – bug bounties and perspectives
If white-hat hacking is your profession, there’s actually no limit as to what kind of organization you could work for and what heights you could reach. In order to get started, you must get acquainted with a particular type or all kinds of computer software and systems in order to understand how they work. Each individual system has its own architecture and thus – its own security. By understanding how it was built, how it operates and reacts to different things, you can understand how someone else can exploit them.White hat hackers cannot be considered illegal in any way, because they offer a service or merely point out vulnerabilities. In fact, white-hat hackers are very much a necessary part of the digital age that we live in today.Most white hats can work with companies like news portals, banks, and other platforms with a lot of users or large reach. Some of them are employed by the likes of HackerOne
– a team of cyber security experts helping build a safer internet, dedicated to ethical and white hat hacking. Finally, you can become an independent contractor, looking at webs of local businesses and trying to find exploits that you can fix, and offering such a service directly.
Your potential for monetary incentives in this profession is great, too. The median salary is around $80,000 and you can even consult companies, earning a cool five-figure sum per case. Participate in events and exploit bugs for large tech giants, you can get paid up to six-figure bounty rewards.
Where to find white hat hackers for your business?
Finding white hat hackers to address your concern is not the most complicated task ever, all you need to do is go online. Hackenproof and HackerOne seem to be the top destinations for people looking to ethically familiarize themselves and their teams with possible security vulnerabilities. There are also numerous freelancers.Everything will be done by the letter, and only after you fully agree with the terms. So, a contract is signed, meetings are scheduled and goals are set. They’ll inform you of any possible vulnerabilities and potential exploits; they’ll also reveal to you what kinds of assaults could be carried out on your system. The cost of service varies, depending on the challenge, the complexity of the system, and the work the hackers must put in. If you create a new system, contacting ethical hackers can help out an entire sector by trailblazing new standards for those who will use the same system in the future.
White hat hackers are unique individuals with special talents in exploiting cybersecurity-related vulnerabilities. They do it ethically and can really help you out when it comes to making your business, website, or app more secure. You can find white hats online by contacting freelancers. If this is a career that interests you – now’s a great time to get into white hacking with the world becoming more and more digitized – more systems require protection.