"It matters not what someone is born but what they grow to be."-J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Digital hackers are seen as criminals, but they see themselves as clever locksmiths. White hat hacking is a debated topic. Some are of the opinion that hacking is hacking and there is nothing ethical about it even if it is being done for the right reasons.
Hacking basically involves cracking or finding points of entry in a computer system and finally entering it. Ethical hacking is done to run a security test by attempting to gain unauthorized access for purely legal purposes. It tells the shortcomings in a computer system so that they can be identified, fixed and made more secure.
It sounds similar to any safety experiment/test conducted but its misuse has led to certain misconceptions related to it. People mostly connote hacking in a negative sense, yet it is a powerful tool in security systems.
A very basic myth is that hacking isn't everyone's cup of tea. It is something that only seasoned digital wizards can perform. A picture like the representation of the continuous running code in the movie The Matrix flashes. A glitch in the Matrix- it is easy if you give it a try.
Mostly, white hat hackers are said to be less knowledgeable than the black hat ones. We only get to know about one side of the picture. We hear stories about clever hacking with criminal intent but we are unaware of the numerous white hat hackers who have made the systems so secure that it hasn't fallen apart even though "clever" attempts are continuously made.
Most white-hat hackers were previously black-hat or involved in hacking without a legal license. Therefore, it becomes a bit difficult to prove their skill and integrity to do honest work. Although, corporate giants have come a long way and have begun actively hiring candidates who prove their skill. The integrity is well taken care of by green leaf and stimulating projects to keep them curious.
All in all, Ethical Hacking is preceded by the word ‘ethical’ to bring a positive meaning out of something negatively stereotyped for so long. The world has become a global village and the need for strong security measures has only increased as populations continue to pour information into databases.
Let us consider an analogy of armed forces and terrorists. Both are skilled in combat but that doesn’t make them synonymous. The armed forces have certain rules, ethics and protocol that they follow even if it is not a fair play.
Similarly, ethical hackers are only securing us as we take steps ahead into the future of technology day-by-day. It is imperative to think over how well-equipped ethical hackers are to protect us from malicious users. Hacking, like various other fields, is only a specialization in a domain. It is nothing to be intimidated by or to be discouraged.
If you still feel unsure about hacking and ethical hacking, think of it as coding. Coding is being promoted nowadays as it enhances our analytical skills. Hacking is also a series of codes written to achieve a certain goal, usually beneficial if done with proper intent.
It is always better to educate yourself when in doubt. Therefore, surf and search the internet, there are various platforms available to study hacking as a really cool discipline.