What the Hack is going on? How ethical hacking can help you ward off cyber attacks!

Developer explains to fellow developer in Visual Studio Code

As wonderful as the cyber world can be, it's also filled with many threats. It's important to protect yourself, your data and your potential future company!

Ethical hacking sounds like two words that you never thought would go together, like, weirdly normal, alone together or walking dead. However, ethical hacking is so much more than an oxymoron. It's sort of like a guardian angel that will see you, protect you and lead you down a brighter, safer path. Walk into the light!

But before you do, let us shine some light on what ethical hacking actually is. Here we go!

Ethical hacking gives businesses and individuals the opportunity to be hacked, but it's consensual, so don't worry. I bet you're wondering, "why would I wanna be hacked?" To put it simply, ethical hacking is the good kind; it's like the good guy helping you fight off regular hackers. Allow us to elaborate. Ethical hackers help individuals and businesses to identify their system and security weak points. Ethical Hackers, also known as white hats, help to put the power back in the hands of the individual or business by identifying vulnerabilities in the system and letting them know before they get a nasty cyber attack. Ethical hackers will then make suggestions on how to mitigate the spotted issues best to keep you or your business safe!

Cyberattacks may sound like a very distant problem, but they are a very real threat and are on an aggressive rise. Plus, hackers are only getting more and more creative. At a time where technology is such an important part of our lives, it is vital to take the necessary precautions so you're not left with a nasty intruder or thief! 

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There are many, many ways that you may fall victim to a cyberattack, but here are some of the web threats that you can be vigilant of, so you don't have an unpleasant surprise.

Phishing attacks, with a PH. 

This is a social engineering data theft that uses data that is naturally and willfully shared on social media platforms to break into networks. It creates phishing emails or texts that will trick their prey into opening infected attachments or clicking on precarious and risky URLs. So, any time you get a message or text from someone that says they know you and you're like, "Who are you?", listen to your instincts and don't click on anything immediately because they may be phishing you. Phishing attacks are one of the worst because they are relatively easy and inexpensive for hackers to pull off. They can wreak extensive havoc on your businesses systems if just one employee of yours is phished and gives over their credentials.

Internet of things (IoT) attack

The main target of these attacks is our beloved smart devices. These cyber-attacks take advantage of a victim's use of internet-connected smart devices, for example, a wifi-enabled speaker. Imagine you're listening to your favourite song, and the next thing you know, you have a malware bug infestation running through your entire system. So, don't let these attackers ruin your favourite song and personal data. One tip to avoid this is updating your phone software regularly, but there's plenty more where that came from. 

Ransomware attacks

Ever seen those films where a criminal is holding someone ransom? Well yeah, it's pretty much the same concept but for data. Ransomware attacks for businesses owners are a genuine threat because businesses tend to have more wealth than individuals. In ransomware attacks, the business is cyber-attacked and infected with malware that encrypts their data so the victim can't access it any more. Then the victim is presented with an ultimatum… pay up or lose your data for good. Trust us, the reality is much less thrilling than a Hollywood movie. 

Internal attacks

It's sad to think it could be one of your own, but it does happen. This can be caused by mere carelessness, which gives way to a mass security breach. It is because of this that these attacks are one of the most difficult to control. Yet, there are ways of minimising these risks, like creating secure internal coded systems and processes and limiting access privileges according to job requirements. While not a full-proof method, even this can drastically help in determining hacker accessibility.

Security Gaps

Intruder alert! This is the direct intrusion of a hacker trying to sneak their way through any uneven gaps you may have in your system. If there is even one weak layer of security in your system, cyber attackers will probe it and weasel their way through. Once they have one foot in the door, they have been known to even break through some businesses' more formidable defences. So, all your bases need to be covered because one slip up could really cause some serious damage to you or your business. Be on top of all these gaps before you find someone else has already made their way through them. 

Distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks

DDos attacks remain a significant cyber threat to many organisations. The first-hand effect of DDoS attacks is almost like freezing or paralysing your businesses operations. Both businesses large and small are at threat here (these hackers don't discriminate). Such attacks are designed to entirely overwhelm systems of whoever falls victim, therefore, regular accessibility is stunted, and victims cannot process normal traffic on their network. These are among the trickiest attacks because they are almost designer-made as hackers change their method and complexity regularly. With these more complex attacks having specialised help is particularly invaluable.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. If you see yourself protecting people and companies from threatening cyber-attacks, here is some further inspiration from Gabriel Aye, who started to study Cybersecurity from scratch! You might find some parallels between your story and his. 

Who would have thought being an Ethical Hacker would be such an in-demand and HUGE market? Now that the knowledge and conversation around this topic is growing and more businesses move into having an online presence, more Ethical Hackers are needed to come to the rescue. If you see yourself as an Ethical Hacker and wanna join the good guys, check our bootcamps in cybersecurity! Isn't it wonderful how tech is changing what kind of professions we can be? :)  

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