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The threat to cyber safety that comes along with the elusive promise of technology to connect without any breach of security gets bigger with the growing dependence on the Internet.
Hacking of websites is cyber bullying and to counter it, numerous ethical hackers work across networks to make the infrastructure systems foolproof.
“Hacking is nothing but sporting a questioning attitude towards technology. As an ethical hacker, I need to start thinking where a cracker would ideally stop,” says Arun Ganesan, an ethical hacker with a leading multinational firm.
Every company, irrespective of the business they are engaged in, needs ethical hackers. They are especially needed by financial institutions and banks. Most companies need them to prevent misuse of data as well as online credit card transactions.
However, many do not employ the ethical hackers full time. Consultants are paid on a per-day, per-hour basis.
Vinod, a researcher and an ethical hacking consultant in an information security services company, accepts that training comprises a lot of hacking into other servers.
“I generally design a powerful virtual server and put my students through a “capture the flag” program wherein they learn to break through it,” he says.
“As much as 65 per cent of the wireless access points are unsecured in Chennai alone. With around 200 million people using mobile phones, the level of vulnerability has drastically gone up. The amount of research that goes into hacking makes the most secured code of 2008, without any change, the most vulnerable code of 2009,” he says.
“Though the industry requires around two lakh ethical hackers every year, owing to the expertise and skill required, all we have is a few thousand committed ethical hackers. The profession is interesting, high paying and hugely demanding,” says Sethuraman, an ethical hacking consultant.
The biggest challenge for an ethical hacker is to keep abreast of all advancement made in the field of software, database, operating systems, wireless infrastructure and network management.
“It becomes very difficult for an authorised ethical hacker to keep the entire network free from malice, because he might not have access to every part of it, while the entire field is open to the cracker,” says R. Vishwanathan, a senior security consultant.
With the ushering in of newer forms of technologies like common cloud application, the scope of hacking is unlimited.
While the wizards remain interested in the positive aspects of hacking, the line between the ethical and unethical is still blurred. In this world of corporate ensnaring, what could ethically be accepted by one could easily become infringement of privacy for another.