October was European Cyber Security Month. Many events were organised in Italy for the occasion, and we’re happy to note that cyber security is an increasingly central issue for both companies and private citizens.

Riding this wave, we at boolebox thought we’d delve into a little-known topic in Italy which has become quite central in recent years: ethical hacking.

In this article, we’ll explain what this is all about and why ethical hacking is a great tool for any company that wants to invest in security and – above all – prevention.

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking is aimed at discovering any vulnerabilities in a company’s computer system. It is a cyber attack for all intents and purposes. Nomen omen, after all: ethical hacking. A breach of the computer systems of the company in question is simulated from the hacker’s perspective, and all possible flaws, shortcomings and vulnerabilities that represent more or less serious IT security risks are brought to light.

How is ethical hacking actually carried out? Priorities are firstly agreed on with the company, depending on specific needs. Indeed, ethical hacking can be infrastructural, meaning it concerns the entire corporate IT infrastructure, or it can be application-based, in which case it concerns a single application or software used in the company. Ethical hacking often also includes phishing, vishing and smishing campaigns. The latter activity is aimed at discovering how vulnerable a company’s employees or customers are to digital scams that are perpetrated via email, phone or text message.

Ethical hacking is generally carried out in three stages:

  • Vulnerability testing on computer systems or company applications. This consists of an assessment phase to expose system flaws, a penetration test that exploits the identified flaws to try to breach sensitive data and information, and a Red Teaming phase, which focuses not only on the technical vulnerabilities of systems and applications, but also on threats resulting from human error/disregard or related to business processes.
  • Proposal of security measures to apply to remedy any vulnerabilities that emerged.
  • Verification of the adequacy of the solutions adopted.

The tools, strategies and techniques used in ethical hacking are the same as those used by a criminal hacker. The only real difference is the end goal. In this case, the intention is not to harm a company or organisation but rather to establish steps to implement in order to improve its security and protection.

Why is ethical hacking a valid tool in preventing cyber attacks in companies?

The number of cyber threats is constantly increasing. In 2021, cyber attacks on European companies increased from 16% to 22% compared to 2020, and the trend continues to grow. The impact caused by ransomware, malware and other types of cyber attacks is enormous and often detrimental to companies, which are forced to shut down operations and make huge financial investments to repair the damage. Not to mention the enormous negative effect on corporate image!

Growing awareness of IT security has led most companies to invest in this sense, equipping themselves with tools and software for data protection (by the way, have you taken a look at Boolebox’s IT security solutions? We’ve planned for the needs of truly all types of companies!). However, this is often not enough and only by using an outside eye can criticalities and vulnerabilities in apparently functional IT systems be identified. That’s why turning to ethical hackers is a winning choice for companies. An investment in prevention and a guarantee of the subsequent protection of sensitive documents, data and information.

How are ethical hackers chosen? How are skills and needs assessed?

Have you decided that ethical hacking might be the right solution for testing your company’s IT security? Great! Now you need to choose the professional that’s best suited to your needs. In fact, one of the most important – but also most complicated – aspects is choosing the person to work on your case.

A combination of skills is often required to be able to deal with a complete hacking simulation that takes every critical aspect into account. People with vertical skills related to certain technologies are needed, but also professionals with more cross-cutting knowledge and experience in the field. Choosing a team of ethical hackers is almost always the best choice. Depending on your company’s needs, you can choose a team that’s more specialised in the technical evaluation phase on devices and infrastructure, or one that’s more focused on identifying flaws in business processes and in the behaviour of employees and customers.

Our experts will certainly be able to give you useful information in this regard, and can then help you to equip your company with all the best solutions to prevent data loss and make a hacker’s job really difficult! We have developed several applications with military grade encryption, for WindowsGmail, Dropbox and more.

Contact us for more information about our products or about ethical hacking, and keep following our blog to stay up-to-date on all the latest news in the world of computer security.