The Top 3 Factors Driving Demand for Ethical Hackers

by | Jun 25, 2018 | Blog, Cyberwarrior Academy | 0 comments

Jay Bavisi, President and Co-founder of the EC Council, feels strongly about why we need ethical hackers more today than ever before.

“Many people misunderstand what ethical hacking is,” says Bavisi, who co-founded EC Council in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In layman’s terms, Bavisi says, an ethical hacker is simply a bodyguard. “But instead of a human bodyguard, an ethical hacker is a computer bodyguard. Their job is to sit there and figure out: If a hacker were to attack a system, how would they do it, and they’re trying to figure out how to protect your systems – if your systems have been sufficiently protected.”

A 2015 survey by Grant Thornton International Ltd, a professional services network, found that one in six businesses experienced a cyber attack. And if you have been following the news, it would come as no surprise that security breaches have been steadily increasing by 27.4% year over year. When data is left unsecured, it is not a matter of IF it will be compromised, but of WHEN. Manu Sharma, Head of Cybersecurity at Grant Thornton UK states that “vigilance alone won’t keep businesses safe” – businesses that take the threat of a cyber attack seriously are not only protecting themselves and their customers’ data, but they are securing a competitive advantage over those who have not. This is why the demand for Ethical Hackers is higher than ever. But who are these Ethical Hackers? They are computer and networking experts who systematically probe networks, applications and other computer systems on behalf of employers for the purpose of finding security vulnerabilities that an ill-intentioned actor could potentially exploit. Their ultimate goal? To prevent data theft and fraud.


What’s Driving Such High Demand for Ethical Hackers?

1. Growing Adoption of Cloud Computing & Inconsistent Security Patching  

As organizations continue to increase their use of cloud computing, the technology continues to follow a pace of rapid innovation. However, so much is happening so quickly that it’s driving cloud computing chaos — massive and constant change. There are numerous ways to attack cloud computing services, and malicious actors are constantly more sophisticated. Have you heard of Spectre and Meltdown? These two types of cyber attacks appeared earlier this year and are already a new threat to cloud computing. With the help of malicious JavaScript code, adversaries can read encrypted data from memory by exploiting a design weakness in most modern processors. According to Apriorit, a software and product engineering services provider, both Spectre and Meltdown break the isolation between applications and the operating system, letting attackers read information from the kernel. This poses a real problem for cloud developers, as not all cloud users install the latest security patches.

Cloud computing technology is extremely popular among users due to its many advantages so its widespread adoption comes as no surprise. However, this technology also introduces vulnerabilities that become new vectors for cyber attacks and drive demand for Ethical Hackers who can think like these cybercriminals.

2. Ransomware is Becoming more Sophisticated

With cyber attacks on the rise, successful breaches per company each year has risen more than 27%, from an average of 102 to 130, according to Accenture, a global professional services company. Ransomware attacks alone have doubled in frequency, from 13% to 27%, with incidents like WannaCry and Petya affecting thousands of targets and disrupting public services and large corporations across the world. One of the most significant data breaches in recent years has been the successful theft of 143 million customer records from Equifax—a cyber crime with devastating consequences due to the type of personally identifiable information stolen and negative impact on the credit markets. Information theft of this type remains the most expensive consequence of a cyber crime. Accenture’s 2017 Study revealed that information loss represents the largest cost component with a rise from 35% in 2015 to 43% in 2017.

It is this threat landscape that requires organizations to reexamine their investment priorities and hire Ethical Hackers to keep pace with more sophisticated and highly motivated attacks.

3. History of Overspending in Compliance Technology

According to Accenture’s 2017 Cost of Cyber Crime Study, companies should not rely on compliance alone to enhance their security profile but undertake extreme pressure testing to identify vulnerabilities more rigorously than even the most highly motivated attacker.  Spending on governance, risk and compliance (GRC) technologies is not a fast-track to increased security. Enterprise-wide deployment of GRC technology and automated policy management showed the lowest effectiveness in reducing cyber crime costs (9% and 7% respectively) out of nine enabling security technologies.

If an organization wants to further improve the effectiveness of their cybersecurity efforts to fend off and reduce the impact of cyber crime, their best bet is to: build cybersecurity on a strong foundation, invest in Ethical Hackers, and balance spend on breakthrough innovations (Analytics and Machine Learning) to enhance program effectiveness and scale value.

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