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When & How to Hire a Certified Ethical Hacker

Jun 21, 2024

The word “hacker” has, unsurprisingly, developed some negative connotations over the years. People associate hackers with nefarious cyber criminals, intent on breaking into your IT infrastructure and wreaking havoc at enormous cost to your organization. And, most of the time, this is the right way to think about hackers. However, there’s another brand of hacker out there: an ethical hacker.

Dyopath When &Amp; How To Hire A Certified Ethical Hacker

Ethical hackers, also known as white hat hackers, are the good guys of the hacking world. They can help you strengthen your cybersecurity by identifying weak points and suggesting improvements.

In this article, we’ll look at what an ethical hacker is, why an ethical hacker can be a valuable ally to your organization, and how to go about hiring one.

What Is a Certified Ethical Hacker?

The certified ethical hacker qualification is issued by one of many industry-accepted certification bodies. For this article, we will focus on the most commonly accepted certifications granted by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), a highly regarded and internationally recognized organization. While there are other certificates out there, this one is often seen as the “gold standard.” As with any certification, this is a validation of skills and a reflection of the individual’s professionalism and willingness to formalize their unique skills. It also goes without saying that there are many ethical hackers who are incredibly skilled, with extensive experience, and many talents who lack the time or resources to attain a certification.

The certification, which has been issued to individuals in the U.S. army, the FBI, Microsoft, and the United Nations, recognizes skilled experts who can operate in the same way as malicious hackers. A certified ethical hacker knows exactly what weaknesses and vulnerabilities to look for to overcome your defenses and gain access to your systems — but does so to help you, not harm you.

Benefits of Working With a Certified Ethical Hacker

Why would you pay someone to purposefully hack your organization? A certified ethical hacker brings a unique perspective to the companies it works with in addition to several benefits, such as:

  • A valuable skill set. Ethical hackers understand the perspective and mindset of real hackers, and they possess the same abilities and methods. They can get into the heads of attackers in a way that no other cybersecurity professionals can match.
  • The ability to locate weak points in your security. A certified ethical hacker can view your defenses through the eyes of a skilled hacker, identify vulnerabilities that other security professionals overlook, and suggest effective ways to fix these problems and improve your security.
  • Expert — and hard-to-obtain — qualification. An ethical hacking certification is more than just a sign that a hacker is trustworthy and reliable — it’s also a strong endorsement of his or her technical skills.

Despite the many benefits of hiring a certified ethical hacker, it can be a challenge to find a trustworthy and effective one. After all, how can you be sure the hacker you hire to protect your data won’t, in fact, cause the very problems you’re trying to prevent? Once you’ve decided to hire an ethical hacker, you need to know how to do so safely and effectively.

How to Hire a Certified Ethical Hacker

Once you’ve decided you want to work with a certified ethical hacker, the next stage is to connect with the right hacker for you. Here are some best practices to follow.

Look for Legitimate Qualifications

Integrity is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an extremely important trait in a certified ethical hacker. You want to connect with a hacker that you can trust, and the best way to ensure this is to work with professionals who have highly regarded, legitimate certifications and accreditations.

Dyopath When &Amp; How To Hire A Certified Ethical Hacker

The certified ethical hacker qualification is, of course, the most important certification to look for. But consider others, too — like the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and the GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN).

Look in the Right Places

To connect with the right certified ethical hacker, you’ll need to search in the right places. Consider the following resources:

  • Social media platforms like LinkedIn can be a good place to start. Here, you’ll find ethical hackers alongside verified social proof from previous partners and clients and detailed employment history.
  • Freelance job boards like Upwork and Freelancer can be a good choice, since you can read reviews, certifications, and job history reports to assess the reliability of hackers. But remember to be aware of quality and be wary of new, unknown freelancers.
  • Third-party security providers. Managed service providers and cybersecurity firms often have their own certified ethical hackers on staff and can connect you with skilled and highly trustworthy professionals as part of your working relationship.

There are lots of options when it comes to looking for an ethical hacker, but the most important part is to trust your gut and read reviews to make sure you’re hiring a trustworthy hacker with proven success.

Find a Certified Ethical Hacker That Meets Your Needs

Different ethical hackers tend to have different skill sets. It’s a good idea to focus your search on professionals that specialize in the problems you want to solve and the goals you want to achieve.

This all starts with an in-depth assessment of your company’s security posture to help you understand where your priorities lie. If you aren’t sure, a good certified ethical hacker can help you with this process, for example, by conducting penetration tests to identify major weak points.

Take the time to approach and talk to several different potential hackers before you make your final decision. Ask about their experience, training, preferred working methods, and specialized skill set. Working with a highly skilled hacker is great, but you also want to build a productive relationship with a human being.


Keep Your Wits About You

While working with hackers can yield enormous benefits, it also comes with a risk. After all, even a certified ethical hacker is a highly skilled hacker with the ability to break through your cyber defenses and cost you significant amounts of money, downtime, and reputational damage. Putting your trust in the wrong one can lead to disastrous legal consequences for your company.

Be careful when engaging with hackers. Make sure their certifications and reviews are genuine and can be trusted, and make sure to schedule in-person interviews with hackers before you hire them. If something doesn’t feel right, try someone else.

The DYOPATH Approach

As part of DYOPATH’s managed security services, we employ a number of ethical hacking techniques like penetration testing and red teaming, driven by a team of highly skilled and certified professionals.

If you want to outsource your ethical hacking to someone you can trust, reach out to us to learn more.