by Bailee Boggess
Article filed in
What is a white hat hacker?
by Bailee Boggess
When people think of hackers, the first thing that comes to mind is not always positive. Typically targeting small to mid-size businesses, hackers and other cyber criminals usually want to steal private information and other details that could devastate an organization’s well-being.
SEE ALSO: HIPAA compliant email
However, some hackers use their talents to help rather than harm—they are called white hat hackers. Professionally, white hat hackers help organizations test their security systems to identify any security vulnerabilities they find. They access the systems directly to find weak spots or loopholes that bad hackers could use to steal pertinent information. This process is called penetration testing.
This method of security testing is effective because it allows the white hat hacker to use realistic methods to find holes in the system. For example, a white hat hacker could send fake malicious emails to staff members to see how easily they can obtain information.
Often starting as a hobby, these hackers sometimes find themselves in a bit of trouble. For example, one of the most well-known white hat hackers, Tim Berners-Lee, started his career by being kicked out of Oxford University for hacking into restricted systems with his friends.
How white hat hackers help your business
Healthcare organizations, in particular, should be aware of how well their security systems are working. Housing protected health information (PHI) requires strict compliance with HIPAA. This information is often kept in patient portals, which are at high risk of being compromised. Data breaches are becoming more frequent, especially with hospitals and other healthcare facilities being overwhelmed with patient loads.
Other types of hackers
Although white hat hackers are the “good guys,” other types of hackers don’t have good intentions for your business. Black hat hackers are cybercriminals who actively seek out opportunities to hack into organizations illegally. Not only are they motivated to steal things like PHI, but they also can make a network or system completely unusable.
Grey hat hackers are still people you want to avoid dealing with, although they sometimes use their hacking skills for good. They identify problems in a system and offer to fix them for a significant charge.
How Paubox can help
Paubox products create a safe, encrypted space for businesses to transfer necessary information like PHI directly with patients without making significant changes to their operations. Paubox Email Suite integrates with most major platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, making it easy for staff and patients to communicate via email.