Cybersecurity Professionals are Hiring Hackers to Test Online Security

Photo of author

( — February 15, 2019) — These hackers are called, “White Hat Hackers-” technological rogues hired by major corporations to sniff out bugs or vulnerabilities in their computer networks- bugs or vulnerabilities that could allow malicious hackers to access the system and wreak havoc with the company’s valuable data.

White hat hackers have been attracting a lot of attention lately as more and more companies come to the grim conclusion that there is no purely technological way to finally and decisively win the war against cyber attackers.

Cryptologists and programmers have known this for decades. There’s no way to build a perfect barrier to cyber attack that does not cut the user off from the world of digital information. In fact, the laws of probability seem to favor the cyber hacker over the cyber defender.

The answer to the age-old problem is constant vigilance. This is precisely what white hat hackers are there to stimulate. It’s a lot like Inspector Clouseau from the comedy film series The Pink Panther. The inspector hired a martial arts professional named Kato to constantly stalk and ambush him. This kept the inspector on his toes. The White Hats are analogous to Kato- except they don’t wear eye masks and a chauffeur’s hat, generally.

These white hats are the hottest thing in cyber security because as far as CEOs and other decision makers are concerned- hiring a hacker is a perfect solution. They spend their time working to infiltrate the databases of the people they work for, scouring the system for flaws and chinks in its armor. When they find such a weakness, they either come up with a fix for it themselves or provide a description of the problem to a team of programmers who will.

One young hacker, Jack Cable, just 18 years old and a freshmen at Stanford University was featured in Time Magazine. He said, “Seeing the rise of data breaches, white hat hackers are motivated to work alongside companies, helping prevent the next large-scale hack.”

He goes on to explain the role of a white hat in his own terms. A white hat works with companies to identify flaws in their security. Bug bounties are a form of crowd-sourced white hat hacking where a company can use of hundreds of white hats to find vulnerabilities. No company can find or prevent all of its vulnerabilities internally. Enlisting an external set of eyes can expose new vulnerabilities.