Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing explained?
The cyber world is filled with cyber crimes, with most of them being perpetrated by hackers. Many of these cracking experts lack any ethics when it comes to their ability to manipulate code and find vulnerabilities in any given institution or network. With that said, it's an unfair assessment to conclude that the entirety of the Worldwide Web is filled with online outlaws, identity thieves, virtual villains, cyber criminals, digital desperados, net ne'er-do-wells, and web offenders. The Internet isn't exclusively the domain of black hats. There are also white hat hackers or ethical crackers who hack to improve security instead of destroy it and show off their hacking prowess.
Difference on white and black hat hacking
These white hats perpetrate and simulate cyber crime and ethical penetration (penetration for the sake of bolstering security or pen testing to see how well the security holds up) for the good of a network or company. Not all hackers are from Anonymous or Lulzsec. While some men do want to watch the world burn, others want to use their hacking capabilities to save it, like security researchers and pen testers. The process that white hat hackers use to hack is the same as with black hats; they gather information, scan, gain access to whatever network they targeted, maintain access through a variety of means, and then clear their tracks. With white hats, though, they hack in order to know anticipate the moves of actual cyber criminals.
More about Hacking Culture
Hacker culture isn't exclusively anarchic. Sure, there are differences in mores when compared to the real world, but it's not all unethical and not all hackers are out to steal everyone's identity, expose their personal information, and spread digital mayhem across the Information Superhighway (doing "information superhighway robbery" and some such). Many hackers are security researchers themselves who act like the criminals they catch in order to better patch up any code flaws, vulnerabilities, and potential security breaches. These hackers can be akin to criminal profilers or crime scene investigators who are able to think like the people they're trying to go up against, thus making them better at being a step ahead of your typical cracker.
How to catch a crook?
Indeed, even though hackers are traditionally seen as people who use their computer knowledge to commit cyber crime and steal information without authorization by exploiting vulnerabilities and using malicious code they themselves have written or taken from the Internet (shared by their fellow hackers), that's not everything there is to know about hackers. The act of hacking can be used maliciously and beneficially. To catch a crook, you need to think like a crook, and that's what most security researcher hackers set out to do. Even Sun Tzu's The Art of War suggests that you should know your enemy like you know yourself.