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Cyber Security vs. Ethical Hacking

Cyber Security vs. Ethical Hacking

Watch this Video on Ethical Hacking vs Cyber Security:

First, let’s understand the term Cyber Security in detail, and then, we will discuss Cyber Security vs Ethical Hacking.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber Security is a combination of different skills and tools, which combines together to provide the best security environment to users.

Well, you’ve definitely noticed that while you are resetting your password, the website first validates your identity, and after the successful authentication, the website lets you change your password.

This is to provide more security to your account and to prevent unauthorized access.

Now, let’s talk about the software that you have installed in your system to detect any malware attacks. Whenever the software detects any malicious activity, it immediately warns you about it. The purpose here is the same, and that is to make your device more secure.

All this process is done with the help of risk register files. A risk register file is managed by each organization in which all risks, along with their solutions, are listed down to prevent any kind of security breach.

Also, check out the blog on Cyber Security VS Information Security!

Phases of Cyber Security

There are mainly four different phases of Cyber Security as given below.

Phases of Cyber Security


The process of identifying or understanding various Cyber Security risks on the system and data


Implementing appropriate protective measures to ensure data privacy.


The process of detecting the occurrence of Cyber Security events


Taking appropriate actions for the detected Cyber Security incidents

The person who is responsible for performing all these tasks is known as a Cyber Security expert.

Cyber Security experts require a strong understanding of numerous topics, and they should be able to face challenges such as ransomware, alert fatigue, kill chains, phishing attacks, zero-day attacks, etc.

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Now that you have understood the meaning of Cyber Security, let’s move further and discuss Cyber Security vs Hacking and learn how we can protect our system using the technique of Ethical Hacking.

EPGC in Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking

What is Ethical Hacking?

Suppose, you have launched an application and established all the security controls to protect it. But, how can you be so sure that your application is fully secure and nobody can bypass the security systems?

You’ll definitely have to test it against all security breaches and check whether the security controls protect your system or not.

Well, this process of testing the system against all possible security breaches is known as Ethical Hacking.

Ethical Hacking is part of Cyber Security, which mainly deals with finding vulnerabilities in a system and solving them before any malicious or black-hat hacker exploits them.

It is the process of testing and validating the system to discover the weaknesses present in it and inform the organization about all those weaknesses. Later, the organization will hire some Cyber Security professionals to recommend measures that will help prevent the data from any kind of theft or fraud.

These cybersecurity professionals are also known as penetration testers.

To summarize, Ethical Hacking is the process of bypassing the security system of an organization to find loopholes in the system and resolve them. There are various benefits of Ethical Hacking, which are listed below.

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Benefits of Ethical Hacking

  • Weak points of a system can be easily found and resolved by performing penetration testing.
  • You can implement solutions for vulnerabilities to prevent security breaches.
  • Ethical Hacking protects data from being stolen by ‘black-hat hackers.’
  • It helps protect networks with continuous assessments.
  • Customers and investors will trust your company if the security of the data and the system is well maintained.

Now, you might be thinking that Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security are the same as their purpose of protecting the system from malicious attacks is similar. However, there is indeed a difference between Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security. We will be discussing Ethical Hacking vs Cyber Security in detail in the next section.

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Cyber Security vs Ethical Hacking

After understanding the meaning of Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security, now, it is time to discuss Cyber Security vs Ethical Hacking. Although both of their objectives are the same – i.e., to keep the system and the data secure – there are certain differences between the two.

Cyber Security is a vast subject that includes a lot of network and information security mechanisms, such as data security, digital forensics, Ethical Hacking, and much more. Therefore, we can say that Ethical Hacking is a subpart of Cyber Security.

Parts of Cyber Security

Ethical Hacking is performed by ‘white-hat hackers’ whose work of hacking the system is the same as that of ‘black-hat’ hackers, but the intention is different. In the case of ethical hacking, the hacker hacks to protect the system.

Cyber Security experts, on the other hand, don’t have to hack into the system. Their job is to protect the system by taking all possible protective measures.

In the simplest of terms, Ethical Hackers make use of offensive security measures, and Cyber Security experts use defensive security measures.

Let’s take an example here. Suppose, you have launched an application like Uber, and your app is generating and storing a lot of customer data per day. These records can be used by any malicious hacker for performing dubious acts, including generating huge amounts of false requests, accessing users’ account details who pay online, and many more.

Here, the Cyber Security expert will try to defend the application by taking appropriate protective measures, or moreover, he/she will just inform the owner about the attack.

Meanwhile, an Ethical Hacker will try to attack the application with permission and will inform you about how he could hack the system, and then, he may also provide a solution for the issue.

Ethical Hacking is like you are intentionally trying to hack into a system just to test how the system would respond to such malicious activities.

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Now, let’s move ahead and understand the key differences between Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security.

Difference Between Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security

Cyber SecurityEthical Hacking
It deals with protecting data and the system from malicious activities by recognizing and resolving all security issuesThe purpose of Ethical Hacking is to find vulnerabilities in the system and report it to the owner
The focus is on how to protect the systemThe focus is on how to attack the system
Cyber Security is a broad term that includes various security techniquesEthical Hacking is part of Cyber Security
It offers professions like cyber security analyst, SOC Engineer, CISO, etc.Penetration Tester and Security Manager are the major Ethical Hacking roles
Cyber Security is on the defensive sideEthical Hacking is on the offensive side
It is responsible for developing access privileges for a systemIt is responsible for making reports on ‘how the hack was performed’
It identifies issues and protects the system from security violationsIt exploits the weaknesses or performs penetration testing to identify weaknesses
Regular maintenance is done in Cyber Security to ensure that the security system is updatedRegular testing on the system is done to discover flaws present in it and to resolve those issues

Now, you know the major differences between Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security. Let’s move ahead and understand the various roles of Cyber Security experts and Ethical Hackers.

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Roles of a Cyber Security Expert and an Ethical Hacker

Well, Ethical Hacking is done by ‘ethical’ hackers who are legitimate or legal hackers, and their job is to do hacking with the permission of the owner and provide a report about the hack.

Whereas, Cyber Security is managed by Cyber Security experts whose main goal is to defend the system from malicious activities. Their job is to monitor the system regularly and take defensive measures when someone tries to bypass the security system.

Below are the roles of a Cyber Security expert:

  • The main role of a Cyber Security expert is to perform regular audits and discover inefficiencies in the system.
  • A Cyber Security expert has to implement the most efficient technologies to improve the security system.
  • He/she should keep the security system updated by performing regular maintenance.
  • The professional must assign only appropriate access privileges for advanced system protection.
  • He/she has to explain to the organization, the consequences of malicious attacks.
  • A Cyber Security expert’s job is to provide various suggestions for improving the security system.

Now, let’s check out the roles of an Ethical Hacker:

  • An Ethical Hacker evaluates the performance of a system by testing it for various security breaches.
  • The professional has to test the security system of the company and also suggest solutions to enhance it.
  • He/she should perform regular pen tests on the system, web application, and/or the network to check whether it is possible to violate the security system.
  • He/she should generate reports after finding the vulnerabilities and also provide feedback once the issues are resolved.
  • The professional also has to inform the organization about how the attack can affect its operations and users.
  • He/she should use the technique of hacking to provide solutions for the weaknesses found in the system.

After understanding the roles of a Cyber Security expert and an Ethical Hacker, you can say that their objective to protect the system might be the same, but they use different methods for doing it. Let’s move further in this Cyber Security vs Ethical Hacking blog and understand which is better, Ethical Hacking or Cyber Security.

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Boost Your Career in Cyber Security

In this blog on ‘Cyber Security vs Ethical Hacking,’ we learned the basics of Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking, along with various phases of Cyber Security, the benefits of Ethical Hacking, Cyber Security Engineer vs Ethical Hacker, and finally, the difference between Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security. We also discussed various roles of Cyber Security experts and Ethical Hackers to understand the difference between the two job roles.

Cyber Security is a rapidly growing field, and it is predicted by experts that the Cyber Security market will become a US$170 billion industry in the near future.

It has been noticed over the past few years that the average salary of Cyber Security experts is comparatively more than that of IT professionals, and this gap is about 9 percent.

As the world is moving toward a digital economy, the field of Cyber Security is definitely going to grow exponentially in the future, and every organization is going to need a certified and skilled Cyber Security expert to protect their critical data.

The scope of Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking is pretty good, and both fields offer a good salary too. The average salary of an Ethical Hacker ranges from ₹4.5 LPA to ₹12 LPA in India and US$6,100 to US$16,000 in the United States per year. Whereas, the average annual salary of a Cyber Security expert ranges from ₹8 LPA to ₹25 LPA in India and US$10 000 to US$33,000 in the United States.

Although the opportunities and salaries are growing day by day, there is still a deficiency of skilled professionals in this field. Hence, many organizations are encouraging their employees to upskill themselves in the field. Get certified and grab this opportunity!

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About the Author

Technical Lead - AWS Solutions Architect

Shivanshu is a Technical Lead and AWS Solutions Architect passionate about utilizing Cloud technology to empower businesses. Proficient in AWS, Terraform, and GCP, he crafts innovative solutions to propel companies forward. As an enthusiastic writer, he shares his expertise to inspire others in this field.