What is Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking?

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Cybersecurity can be defined as the study and practice of protecting systems, networks, sensitive information, and programs from attackers aimed to access, modify, and destroy information in the form of cyberattacks. The prevention of various cyber threats can also be termed cybersecurity.

Ethical hacking is the concept of testing a system, network, or program so that any vulnerabilities or potential threats in the system can be found and fixed before any illegitimate hacker or attacker tries to exploit the system and perform malicious activities. Thus, an ethical hacker prevents an attack on a system by testing and removing any vulnerabilities beforehand.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a broad term for various security techniques to safeguard a system from cyber attacks. Cybersecurity deals with processes, procedures, tools, and technologies required to protect systems, networks, programs, and sensitive information from illegitimate access or any illegitimate modification of the same and prevent any other damages from cyber attacks.

Cyber security is an integral part of companies nowadays. With evolving technologies comes bundled the risk of misuse of the technology to cause harm in the form of monetary losses, information losses, business losses, and any other losses. With each growing day, new methods are devised for cyber attacks resulting in more and more losses. Furthermore, to fight this off, we need cybersecurity.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking, as the name suggests, involves hacking and finding out vulnerabilities not to exploit them but to remove them from the system so that it does not get into the hands of a malicious hacker who would exploit them and cause damage.

Ethical hacking is to test a system, network, or application to identify any flaws or potential hazards so that they can be corrected before an unauthorized hacker or attacker tries to use it to carry out unwanted actions. Ethical hacking also covers all these aspects of a hacker except that an ethical hacker does this to prevent any damage to the system and a malicious hacker does that to cause damage.

Ethical hacking also defines the scope of work for an individual security expert. For example, suppose the ethical hacker is working for a company. In that case, the company defines the scope of work, i.e., they are approved to perform pen-testing on that particular system. All the vulnerabilities found would be reported so that they can be removed, and also, the pen testing would not cause any harm or damage to the system and information.

Difference between Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking

Since both of these terms feel similar, you must be wondering about their differences as both aim to keep the data and system secure, so let’s examine how they vary.

CybersecurityEthical Hacking
Cybersecurity is more of a defensive role.Ethical hacking is more of an offensive role.
Cybersecurity experts never intrude into the systems.Ethical Hackers try to find vulnerabilities and intrude into the systems.
In cybersecurity, we proactively take all possible preventative measures.Ethical Hackers find these vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed and these vulnerabilities are not misused by malicious hackers.
In the event of an attack on the system, a cybersecurity specialist tries to stop the attack and minimize the damage.In the event of an attack on the system, an ethical hacker has no role to play, as they are specifically trained to attack the system and not to defend them.
Cybersecurity is a broad term that involves defending the system and information from all possible forms of attacks.Ethical hacking involves the prevention of attacks by finding vulnerabilities and fixing them before any other hacker finds them and misuses them.

What Makes Cybersecurity Professionals Different from Ethical Hackers?

Cybersecurity professionals can be differentiated from ethical hackers based on their job descriptions. In broad terms, a cybersecurity professional mainly focuses on the defensive role. That is, a cybersecurity professional is responsible for safeguarding the systems, programs, and network from illegitimate and unauthorized access and also performing proactive activities involving monitoring, detection, analysis, and management of the systems. It also involves developing response plans and procedures for detecting and containing cyber attacks.

Whereas ethical hackers are considered focused on the offensive role, they actively participate in pen testing the systems to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the security systems. They employ all the techniques a malicious hacker uses but will not use any vulnerability found against the company but will report it so that it will be fixed. They test the system for any vulnerabilities.

What Does a Cybersecurity Expert Do?

A Cybersecurity expert’s main task is to perform continuous monitoring, detection, analysis, and management of the systems and networking against cyberattacks. Along with this, they are also responsible for detecting and removing any vulnerabilities.

This includes working with other teams and reports of ethical hackers to continuously modify and upgrade the security systems and safeguard them against cyber threats and attacks. A cybersecurity analyst also performs regular audits to identify weak points and remove them to strengthen security.

What Does an Ethical Hacker Do?

Now we know what is cybersecurity and what is ethical hacking let us now see what an ethical hacker do. An ethical hacker is a person employed by the company to test its system, programs, and networks to discover any potential vulnerability. With the company's explicit permission, the ethical hacker tries to find the vulnerability and attack the system from the point of view of an attacker.

Ethical hackers are also responsible for reporting any bugs and vulnerabilities found. They are not to disclose confidential information and vulnerabilities found to any outsider, which might compromise the company's security. They perform regular pen testing to find any vulnerabilities. They examine the security and compliance of security policies and suggest changes for improvements.

Careers in Cybersecurity & Ethical Hacking

As mentioned above, with advancing technology, the number of cyber crimes and cyber attacks is ever-increasing, and the requirement for cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers is increasing significantly. The pay scale of cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers is also very promising. Based on the various task performed by various teams, these can be divided into multiple roles such as:-

  • Security Engineer and Architect – They are primarily in charge of system maintenance, vulnerability detection, and automation enhancement. They design and implement the security systems on the grass root level.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst - Conducting vulnerability testing, risk analysis, security evaluations, and network management are all responsibilities of a cybersecurity analyst. They also instruct co-workers in security awareness and procedures.
  • Incident Manager and Forensic Expert – They are primarily responsible for responding to security incidents. This involves monitoring and reporting the damages done during the incident and figuring out as much information as possible about the incident.
  • Penetration Testers – Pen tester is the term used for employees who perform ethical hacking for a company. Working as a pen tester gives a real-life exposure to new exploitation techniques and processes.
  • Cybersecurity Consultant – A cybersecurity consultant is an independent person who is not tied to any company but is hired by various companies for external cybersecurity auditing purposes.
  • Cybersecurity Managers – They manage the whole organization regarding cyber security. The cybersecurity managers make all the decisions regarding cybersecurity management and policies. To prevent security breaches, cybersecurity managers collaborate with employees to identify, create, implement, and sustain processes throughout the company.


  • Cybersecurity concerns the methods, techniques, equipment, and technologies needed to safeguard computer systems, networks, software, and sensitive data against unauthorized access, alteration, and other harm from cyber attacks.
  • Cybersecurity professional role is mainly defensive; that is it tries to prevent any cyber attacks by managing the risk of cyberattacks by using risk management, which involves identification, assessment, control, monitoring, and reviewing.
  • An ethical hacker works toward finding vulnerabilities and trying to breach the system so that the vulnerabilities found must be fixed before any malicious hacker can misuse it. Ethical hacker performs continuous pen testing to find out vulnerabilities.
  • The goal of ethical hacking is to test a system, network, or application for vulnerabilities or possible threats so that they may be fixed before an unauthorized hacker or attacker tries to use it to carry out undesirable actions.
  • The ever-increasing demand for cybersecurity experts and ethical hackers is quite promising and also offers lucrative and promising career paths along with high salaries.
  • As the number of cyber attacks is increasing, so is the demand for cybersecurity experts who can help them prevent and minimize the risk of attacks and loss of sensitive information.
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that cybersecurity analyst will be the 10th fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Between 2013 to 2021 the number of jobs in this field already grew from 1 million to 3.5 million.