Ethical Hacking Services

Ethical Hacking Services (A Guide)

Ethical Hacking Services

Hiring a hacker may seem like a crazy idea at first. But once you get into the mind of an attacker, you can start to see things that only they might see.

This is where ethical hacking services come into play. In recent years, companies have begun to leverage hackers as allies to help bolster their defenses against digital threats.

After all, it can be tough to keep up with attackers who are always trying to find new ways to access sensitive data. And when it comes down to it, ethical hackers have an in-depth knowledge of how these malicious actors think and operate.

In the below article, we’ll discuss what ethical hacking services are in detail. In addition, we will discuss the types of services offered by white hat hackers and how companies can find these providers.

So, let’s get started!

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is testing a computer system, network, or website by simulating malicious attacks. This is done to detect and fix existing vulnerabilities within those systems before hackers can exploit them. Ethical hacking is done with approval and permission from the company or individual being tested.

The term “ethical hacking” was first introduced in 1995 by IBM’s John Patrick. Since then, ethical hacking has developed into a legitimate profession and service to help various organizations, applications, and networks.

What are Ethical Hacking Services?

IT professionals offer ethical hacking services to organizations looking to improve their cyber security. These services are typically provided on a pre-agreed upon fee, either as a fixed bid, hourly, or performance-based contract.

To provide these services, ethical hackers must receive approval from the organization and adhere to a strict set of standards when performing their work. Hackers providing ethical hacking services often operate as freelancers or through private security consulting companies.

These providers use a variety of approaches and tools to help organizations identify their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and provide strategies for improving security.

Types of Professional Ethical Hacking Services

There is a wide range of services offered by ethical hacking providers, including:

  • Penetration Testing: A type of ethical hacking where a professional hacker attempts to exploit vulnerabilities within the cloud, an application, or a network to identify potential security risks. Read more about penetration testing.
  • Vulnerability Assessment: A type of ethical hacking where a professional hacker identifies and addresses existing vulnerabilities within an application, system, or network.
  • Source Code Auditing: A review of the code in an application or website by a white hat hacker, looking for any coding errors or loopholes that could be exploited.
  • Social Engineering Testing: An assessment of how well an organization’s employees can detect and respond to phishing, social media scams, or other social engineering attacks.
  • Red teaming: A type of ethical hacking where a hacker or group of hackers are tasked with launching an attack against the organization’s IT systems, applications, or network. Read more about red teams in cyber security.

As you can see, many different services fall under the category of ethical hacking. Whether you need help identifying existing security risks within your network, strengthening your organizational defenses, or training your employees to detect cyberattacks, there is likely an ethical hacking service that can help.

If you are looking for an ethical hacking provider to work with, it is important to research and compare the various services offered by different providers.

In the below section, we’ll explore the different types of individuals and entities that provide ethical hacking services, so you can make an informed decision on who to work with.

Freelance Hackers vs. Crowdsourcing Websites vs. Ethical Hacking Companies 

There are several different types of ethical hacking providers you can choose from, including freelance hackers, crowdsourcing websites, and security companies.

Freelance Hackers

Freelance hackers are self-employed professionals who offer their services on a project basis or by the hour. These individuals often have advanced technical skills and experience performing penetration testing, social engineering testing, and other related tasks.

You can find these hackers on websites like Upwork or Fiverr, where they advertise their services as gigs and bid on open jobs.

Hiring a freelance hacker is usually the most cost-effective way to obtain ethical hacking services, as freelance hackers typically charge lower rates than specialized cybersecurity companies.

The downside of working with freelancers is that there can be some risk involved, as it can be challenging to verify their credentials and experience, especially if you’re new to hiring technical talent.

Additionally, suppose a freelance hacker fails to deliver on your project or causes any damage to your systems. In that case, you may not have any legal recourse due to the lack of formal contracts, geo-restrictions, and other factors.

Crowdsourcing and Bug Bounty Websites

Another option to source ethical hacking services is to use crowdsourcing websites like Bugcrowd or HackerOne. These websites allow organizations to post bug bounty programs, where white hat hackers from all over the globe can attempt to identify and report vulnerabilities within their systems.

Crowdsourcing websites offer several benefits over hiring freelance hackers. For one, crowdsourcing platforms typically have more expansive pools of hacking talent as that is their core focus. Additionally, some top platforms provide specialized products and services like security council, managed bug bounty programs, and attack simulation services, making them a complete solution for obtaining ethical hacking services.

However, crowdsourcing websites also have their downsides. For one, they can lead to very fragmented testing and overwhelm your internal security team with a high volume of reports. This can make it difficult to prioritize and fix the most critical vulnerabilities. Additionally, crowdsourcing platforms open testing to hackers of varied skills and experience levels, which increases the likelihood of false reports or oversights.

Ethical Hacking Companies

Another option is to work with an ethical hacking company that provides penetration testing and other related services. These organizations typically have a team of highly-experienced white hat hackers available on staff, which can be assigned to your project on an as-needed basis.

Ethical hacking companies can be a good option for organizations that must address more complex and focused security challenges, such as identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in their web applications or performing full pentests of their entire network infrastructure. 

Certain companies have niched down and have a proven track record in specific industries like finance, healthcare, and government. They also may have proprietary software, tools, and methodology that can expedite the time to identify vulnerabilities or find issues that would otherwise go undetected. 

However, working with an ethical hacking company does come with some tradeoffs. For one, these organizations typically charge higher rates than freelance hackers or crowdsourcing websites. This generally is due to higher overhead costs required to maintain an environment geared around obtaining results. Another potential downside is that you may have less flexibility in how your project is executed or the level of involvement you can have with your hackers.