Recent studies show that data breaches are not only becoming more common but also more costly. Finding the best way to prevent hacks becomes a crucial task when there are such high stakes. Hiring an ethical hacker is one solution.

This article explains what white hat hackers are, why you may want to hire a hacker, and how to prevent your company from being hacked by an ethical hacker. You can find one by searching online or posting a job.

Why would you need to hire a hacker?

White hat hackers or ethical hackers are hired by organizations to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities within their computer systems, networks, and websites. These professionals employ the same skills and methods as malicious hackers but only with the permission and guidance of the organization.

There are many reasons to hire a hacker, even if you have a very competent IT department. Hackers are familiar with the current methods of hacking, which may be unknown to your IT staff. Ethical hackers are just as curious as malicious hackers, and they will always be aware of the latest threats. The outsider’s perspective can be very beneficial to any department. They will see things you never noticed before.

Explain that hiring an ethical hacker is not to test your IT department’s capabilities. It’s a temporary, additional measure to create a secure infrastructure capable of surviving any cyber threats malicious hackers may throw their way.

What does a professional hacker do?

Hackers who are ethical try to gain unauthorized access to data, computer systems, or networks of your company — all with the consent of that company.

Professional hackers follow this code of conduct. They:

  • Be sure to follow the law and get approval before you attempt a hack.
  • Define the scope of the project so that their work remains within your company boundaries and does not venture into illegal territory.
  • Report vulnerabilities, letting your company know all the vulnerabilities that they discovered during their hacking and offers solutions to fix them.
  • You respect your data, and you are willing to sign an agreement of non-disclosure.

Also read: Top 10 Hiring Platforms for Your Business

How do you hire a hacker safely and successfully?

Here are some steps to follow when hiring white-hat hackers and avoiding black-hat hackers.

Hire a hacker from a reputable recruitment site or service

You might turn to the dark internet in your search for a hacker. If television and movies are to believe, even reputable hackers work in the dark. What is the dark net, and can you hire hackers from there?

Surface web is all the public-facing websites you can access using browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox. The surface web is what everyone knows and only makes up 5% of the internet.

Deep web is the majority of the internet. It contains data like legal files, government databases, and private information. Dark websites are those that can only be accessed by specialized browsers. This is where the majority of illegal online activities take place.

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It’s dangerous to hire hackers on the dark web because you never know who you’re talking to or if they are scammers. The dark web is also more likely to infect your computer with computer viruses because there’s so much malicious content.

It’s not recommended to search for ethical hackers on the dark Web. Searching for ethical hackers on the dark Web is not recommended. Hire a professional from an organization that has a directory of ethical hackers, or use a professional cybersecurity company.

Make sure that the hacker is legitimate.

You should look for someone who is familiar with the software and systems that you want them to hack. The hacker should be familiar with the tools that they will need to execute their attacks. White hat hackers with more experience will cost more.

Consider both the breadth and depth of a hacker’s skills when hiring one. Some hackers are only capable of performing surface-level hacking, but they have many capabilities. Some professional hackers specialize in specific types of advanced attacks.

Find someone who has experience with hacking. Hire a hacker to test the security of your company’s mobile phones. If you need someone to test as much as possible in terms of security devices and systems, then a generalist is the best choice. After a generalist has identified vulnerabilities, you can then hire a specialist to dig deeper into these weak points.

Research candidates before interviewing them. Check out forums in the industry or ask for reviews from past clients.

Interview them thoroughly and test their abilities

It is crucial to conduct a thorough interview in order to determine a hacker’s skills and past experience. Here are some questions that you could ask potential candidates.

  • What are your techniques for identifying surface-level vulnerabilities and how do you use them?
  • How can you be sure you have tried every possible way to hack into a computer system?
  • Tell me a story about how you successfully cracked into a system of a company within our industry.

You could ask your IT team to come up with specific questions for technical questions. They can then conduct the interview, and summarize the answers for the non-technical members. Here are some guidelines that can help your IT team with technical questions:

  • Does the candidate have experience with Windows and Linux?
  • Does the student understand wired and wireless networks equally?
  • Does the employee understand firewalls and file systems?
  • Are they familiar with the file permissions?
  • Are they able to code well?
  • What motivates hackers to be malicious?
  • Does the person you are trying to protect understand how important the data and system are?
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Interviewing candidates is a good way to find out more about them. Consider including a skill test as part of your process. You can, for example, pay candidates to take paid tests that demonstrate their proficiency with a particular coding language.

Set goals for your services

Setting goals for hackers is a great way to test their abilities within a project framework. It also gives them the freedom to develop and use their own methods.

Identify the highest security priorities of your organization. You should identify the areas in which you know that you may have vulnerabilities and those areas you wish to secure.

Set up milestones for the project. You should tie each milestone with a reward to keep candidates motivated.

Last, but not least, try to impose the fewest rules possible on hackers. You’re attempting to emulate a malicious hack, so you don’t want to have any rules. Allow the hacker to have as much freedom as possible, so long as it doesn’t affect your security system, your products or services, or your relationship with your customers.

You can ask hackers online to perform three types of hacks:

  • When you engage in white-box engagements, you provide the hacker with as much information as possible about the system or application that is being targeted. This allows them to find vulnerabilities faster than a malicious hacker would.
  • When you engage in black-box engagements, you do not give insider information to the hacker. This makes the attack more realistic.
  • Gray-box engagements simulate a scenario where a hacker already has penetrated the perimeter. You want to know how much damage he could cause if he got that far.

Also read: Best 8 Programming Languages for Hacking

Communicate exactly what you want a hacker to do

Choose the systems that you want to be attacked by hackers. You can use the following examples to help you with your ethical hacking proposals:

  • A website attack such as SQL Injection
  • A distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) is an attack where a hacker creates a “zombie” network to overload a server or website with traffic, causing it to crash.
  • Hacking your company’s social media accounts
  • Cell phone hacking to check if the company’s phones are vulnerable. This is a problem if employees have sensitive information on their phones.
  • Hacking your corporate email to test if your employees are able to recognize phishing and other cyber-attacks

Get a report of what they did

After the hacking exercise, request a report that details the hacker’s methods used to attack your system, the vulnerabilities found, and the steps they suggested for fixing them. Once you have deployed the fixes, ask the hacker to try them again. This will ensure that your fixes are working.

Prepare yourself for the results

Be sure that everyone in your company involved in the process is prepared to act on the results quickly. Consider scheduling a meeting with the committee as soon as you receive the report. During the meeting, everyone should read the report before deciding on the next steps. This will stop the process from being prolonged while your company is still exposed to danger due to security flaws.

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Where do ethical hackers sell their services?

There are many ethical hacking certifications available, including the Certified Ethical Hacker certification (CEH) from the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants.

Freelance hackers

Start looking for hackers on sites such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Guru. You should look for candidates with reviews from previous clients, and a minimum of one year’s experience on the platform.

You can also find specialized services which match hackers to people looking for them to do small jobs. You must first post the job requirements to use this service. You choose a hacker based on their skills, availability, and price. A specialized service such as this can help keep scammers at bay by screening hackers. Employers can post ethical hacking positions on professional websites such as ZipRecruiter.

Also read: Top 10 Best Hacking Apps for Android

Professional hacking services

A professional hacking company can help you find candidates. This option is more expensive but it allows you to check the hacker’s references and track record, which will ensure that you are working with a reliable partner.

How to find out your hacker is trustworthy

You can hire someone who is trustworthy in two ways. You can start by looking at client reviews, and if you have the opportunity, calling references. It can take a lot of time, but it will give you a direct idea about a candidate’s abilities and past work.

Search ethical hacker forums for information on the hacker that you are considering hiring. Search on legitimate websites when searching online forums.

What do hackers charge for?

ZipRecruiter reports that the average annual salary for an ethical hacker will be $135,269 in February 2023. This translates into around $65 per hour. This can be used to get an idea of what a hacker will charge for a particular job.

The cost of ethical hacking depends on the type and amount of work required, as well as your company’s size. Hacks that take more time and require more effort will be more expensive. It’s crucial to get a quote prior to hiring someone.

Summary of how to hire hackers

You need to research qualified professionals and their backgrounds, such as employment history before you hire a hacker. Hire someone who has experience in the areas of security that your company needs. Set clear rules and goals so that candidates can follow a structured procedure. Finalize, and evaluate their performance prior to making a decision.