Ethical Hackers Wear Computing’s ‘White Hat’

“Ethical hacker” sounds like an oxymoron, but the role of these “white hat” security experts is crucial to keeping computer systems safe..

These elite professionals are hired to attempt to break into a system to discover vulnerabilities and propose solutions before malicious hackers exploit the weakness to the detriment of the organization. The EC-Council describes an ethical hacker as “an individual… who can be trusted to undertake an attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems using the same methods and techniques as a malicious hacker.”

In large organizations, penetration testing, another term often used — some claim wrongly — for ethical hacking, is done regularly. The idea is to stay one step ahead of “black hat” hackers who are constantly attempting to break into networks and systems. Whether they do it for the sense of adventure – so-called “gray hat” hackers – or to steal or destroy data or hold it hostage in exchange for ransom, these hackers are committing a crime.

Catching them is not easy. Many intrusions come from overseas; some are state-sponsored. Even when they are domestic, hackers are usually skilled enough to cover their tracks well enough to go unapprehended. The best may even go undetected until the damage is done.

That’s why the work of ethical hackers is so important, prevention being the best cure.

Increasingly, organizations are hiring or contracting security professionals with one of the two most common certifications in penetration testing. Both require candidates to take an extensive exam.

CompTIA, the computer trade organization, offers a nearly three-hour long test with up to 85 questions. The CompTIA PenTest+ is a combination of multiple choice and performance questions based around simulations.

The Certified Ethical Hacker test of the EC-Council is 4 hours long and all multiple-choice. Unlike the CompTIA test, the certifying organization, EC-Council, requires candidates to first take the organization’s training program or provide proof of two years of work experience in information security.

Both organizations require holders to earn continuing education credits over a three-year period in order to retain their certification.

The two organizations compete fiercely for candidates, with each claiming their certification is better and more thorough.

EC-Council even argues that penetration testing is not the same as ethical hacking, arguing that “in many organizations ethical hackers are not even involved in penetration testing teams or processes.”

Which is best? As with most certifications in IT, both sides have their proponents. For a relatively even-handed approach, here’s a link to a Medium article discussing both. Spoiler alert: It gives the nod to the CEH certification largely because it’s been around longer and is accepted as a DoD 8570 Baseline Certification.

From an employer’s perspective, both certifications mean the candidate has been tested by a credible outside organization and found to be capable of providing that dose of prevention so critical to today’s cybersecurity.

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Emily Gelman
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Emily Gelman

Green Key Unlocked: Why It Pays to be a Paralegal
Accounting + Finance Financial Services General Interest Green Key News Legal Support Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: Why It Pays to be a Paralegal

Perks of a Hybrid Work Schedule
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Perks of a Hybrid Work Schedule

Green Key Announces New Partners and Principals
Accounting + Finance Architecture + Engineering Financial Services General Interest Green Key News Healthcare Human Resources Information Technology Leadership + Management Pharma Professional Support Worklife

Green Key Announces New Partners and Principals

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Todd Bernard
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Human Resources Leadership + Management Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Todd Bernard

Employee Benefits for a Supportive Workplace
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Employee Benefits for a Supportive Workplace

Forbes Names Green Key on America’s Best Temp Staffing Firms 2021
Green Key News

Forbes Names Green Key on America’s Best Temp Staffing Firms 2021

SIA Names Green Key Resources among Largest Staffing Firms in the US
Green Key News

SIA Names Green Key Resources among Largest Staffing Firms in the US

Wrapped Up: 2021 Corporate Trends
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Wrapped Up: 2021 Corporate Trends

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Kelsey Kirk
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Kelsey Kirk

Advantages of the “Stay Interview”
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Advantages of the “Stay Interview”

Green Key Unlocked: What’s New in Architecture, Engineering, & Construction
Architecture + Engineering General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: What’s New in Architecture, Engineering, & Construction

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Lisa Figuccio
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Lisa Figuccio

Tips for Writing Job Descriptions
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

Tips for Writing Job Descriptions

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Alexa Perrone
Accounting + Finance General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Alexa Perrone

Tips for Employee Retention
General Interest

Tips for Employee Retention

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brooke Stemen
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Brooke Stemen

Green Key Unlocked: The Value of the MBA
Accounting + Finance Financial Services General Interest Green Key News Marketing Technology Worklife

Green Key Unlocked: The Value of the MBA

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Amy Raymond
General Interest Green Key News Professional Support Worklife

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Amy Raymond

How to Tailor Your LinkedIn Profile for the Jobs You Want
General Interest Green Key News Worklife

How to Tailor Your LinkedIn Profile for the Jobs You Want

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Emily Gelman

#WeAreGreenKey: Spotlight on Emily Gelman

Today we catch up with Emily Gelman, Senior Recruiter on the Professional Support team at Green Key. Gelman joined the...
Read More
Green Key Unlocked: Why It Pays to be a Paralegal

Green Key Unlocked: Why It Pays to be a Paralegal

Paralegals are not only imperative to the industry, but recently in high demand. Due to law firms encouraging their entry...
Read More
Perks of a Hybrid Work Schedule

Perks of a Hybrid Work Schedule

The biggest perk of working hybrid is its flexibility. Allowing employees to choose when they come in grants them autonomy...
Read More