Ethical Hacking: How Python Is Boosting Cybersecurity

Luke Fitzpatrick

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Modern technological advances and the eCommerce boom have fueled a staggering rise in the incidence of cyber attacks in recent times, with the FBI reporting a 300% rise since the onset of the pandemic.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one such advancement that has enabled virtually every device to connect to the internet. While the modern conveniences are many, the threat of cyber threats has increased along with this progress.

What is ethical hacking?

The goal of unlawful hacking is to breach sensitive data for criminal gain; the goal of ethical hacking is to duplicate the actions of a malicious hacker to identify a system’s security vulnerabilities. Ethical hacking allows an organization to make the necessary adjustments to protect themselves from the risk of cyberattack efficiently.

Ethical hackers (otherwise known as ‘white hats’) are experts in cyber security and perform such assessments to assist organizations in improving their security level. Ethical hacking only takes place after approval from the owner or organization leader is received.

Key ethical hacking protocols include:

  • Gaining approval: Gain permission before an ethical hacking campaign commences.
  • Working within an organization’s boundaries: The organization should approve all scope of work.
  • Full disclosure: All vulnerabilities and advice for remediating the risks should be reported and disclosed.
  • Careful handling of sensitive data: It may be necessary for an ethical hacker to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but in any case, must always treat an organization’s data as sensitive and confidential.

The benefits of using Python

Implemented for thousands of security projects, Python has experienced significant growth as a popular programming language tool in recent years.

This server-side scripting language is versatile, supports syntax, and has been increasingly dominating the world of cybersecurity for some time now. There are several reasons that Python has become a preferable cyber security language among industry professionals. These include:

1. Ease of use

Python is relatively simple to learn and implement. Its user-friendly language enhances syntax, code readability, and implementation, making it easier to use than other programming languages.

2. Accessibility

Python is an open-source programming language that is free to download and accessible to anyone.

3. Extensive support libraries

It features large libraries that support extensive functionality and features like web service tools, string operations, and protocols. The limit that this places on the length of code can reduce bugs' incidences.

Python’s key functions that boost cybersecurity

There are some stand-out functions that Python features that make it so crucial for cybersecurity. To effectively manage cybersecurity, professionals need to develop software and build a compelling portfolio. Python is assisting in these tasks in the following ways:

1. Boto3

Python’s Amazon Web Services Software Development Kit (SDK) is called Boto3, and it enables programmers to create scripts that can successfully interact with a range of Amazon services.

Boto3 allows programmers to perform updates, start and stop servers on-demand and much more. Any professional working with an Amazon Web Service should be familiar with this SDK.

2. Automation tools

Writing effective task-automation scripts is a big part of the role of a security professional, and Python is leading the way with its wide range of libraries and straightforward syntax. Python’s automation tools are not only saving time but also reducing errors in the field of cybersecurity.

3. Regex

A shortened name for the term ‘regular expressions’, this tool enables specific pattern searches within the text. This function is handy for scraping information or extracting it from log files during a security investigation.

Regex utilizes Python libraries to create effective programs for various tasks. For example, Regex can locate IP addresses to determine whether a hacker has been in a network, when, and their actions.

4. Pen testing

Another critical Python application boosting cybersecurity is penetration testing or pen-testing. A pen test is a process of testing the security of an entity such as a website, network, device or application, by attempting to hack into it.

Security professionals often create custom scripts and tools to maximize the pen test's effectiveness, which makes the easy use of Python even more valuable.

These are just some of the highly functional and practical features that Python programming offers professionals in cybersecurity. According to a report published by cybersecurity software and service provider Imperva, 77% of protected website attacks come from Python-based tools.

Since the job of an ethical hacker is to mimic the nature of real-life cyber attacks, this figure demonstrates just how vital Python is in boosting cybersecurity.

Python plays a crucial role in the cybersecurity industry and is the go-to programming language for professionals in the sector. Python’s automation tools, Pen testing applications, and general ease-of-use is revolutionizing the role of ethical hacking in the fight against cybercrime.

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Academic Speaker | Freelance Journalist | I have contributed to a variety of publications such as Forbes, Tech In Asia, and The Next Web. I cover a variety of topics ranging from fintech, big data, AI, blockchain, to lifestyle and breaking news stories.

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