Good People Who Do Bad People Things

The past couple of weeks have been busy for the cybersecurity industry. Many professionals converged on Las Vegas to attend Defcon—one of the biggest hacker conventions on the planet. 

Defcon is where some of the world’s best hackers congregate to share knowledge and showcase their hacking skills.

There is no registration, as many attendees want to stay incognito. Register online for the event? No way... $260 cash to register at the door! Those attending do know it can be a dangerous place. Many disable WiFi and Bluetooth on their devices and some even leave their devices at home and opt to use “burner” phones instead. 

This year’s event featured Car Hacking Village & Voting Machine Village, where the most talented hackers demonstrated how they could hack into these devices. Were they successful? Of course!

So why is there a legal event where hackers get together and are invited to do bad things? Well, it’s actually just the opposite.

See, not all hackers are bad. There is a large community of what we call “ethical hackers,” good people in the business of putting their talent to work for the right reasons. These are the folks you want on your side.

How else do you know if your device, application, and infrastructure are safe and secure? The best way is simply to put them to the test.  

Ethical hackers today are hired for various reasons. For example, as autonomous vehicles are being developed (e.g. autonomous cars, trucks, farming equipment, and even cargo ships), there are huge risks involved. Imagine if an autonomous transport truck on the road, or a ship coming into port, is taken over by a cybercriminal. A lot of really bad outcomes come to mind.

This is where the hacking community comes in. They spend time attempting to hack the technology that makes things like autonomous vehicles possible and then report back to help address vulnerabilities they uncover. It’s a critical process, with top tier manufacturers testing regularly.

Ethical hackers can help test your company as well.

Don’t you want to know if your network can be breached by a bad actor? Interested in how safe your wireless network is? Want to see if your website is secure?

Hire an ethical hacker to conduct a penetration test.

These penetration tests are performed from inside and outside your network to see how vulnerable you might be. It is a human-centric process with an actual tester (i.e. hacker) spending quite a bit of time, using lots of tools and expert knowledge, to see if they can reach your “crown jewels.” Basically, they do the same exact things as a criminal, then provide a report detailing holes and vulnerabilities you can address to protect yourself.   

Regular penetration testing is an important aspect of an ongoing cybersecurity program. Even if just once or twice a year, it’s worth considering. It provides some real peace of mind and might just help you sleep better at night!

Stay Safe,
Your Friends @ Launch Security

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