UK firms 'turn to hackers' to bolster cyber security

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UK firms 'turn to hackers' to bolster cyber security (image credit: Matej Moderc/iStock)

A significant proportion of businesses across the UK are turning to the talents of former hackers to help shore up their cyber security programmes.

New research published by online security firm Radware has revealed how approximately one-fifth (20 per cent) of UK firms are already in the process of working alongside former hackers to update their systems, but it is a measure that is gaining in popularity all the time.

Indeed, the research showed that more than one-third (37 per cent) of respondents are "open to the idea" of inviting former hackers into their offices to test the security of their networks and cyber infrastructure.

Adrian Crawley, regional director for Northern EMEA at Radware, commented: "Businesses need to get prepared fast, and there’s no better way than to see an attack than through the eyes of a hacker.

"I think we'll see the trend to seek the opinion of an ex-hacker grow exponentially in the next year as businesses review their blind spots. Ex-hackers are well equipped to identify specific weaknesses, spot a fake ransom attack and can be employed to legitimately break the network and advise where security improvements are needed."

Online security is one of the biggest threats to businesses in the modern world, with the impact of a data breach potentially far-reaching and devastating for companies that are affected.

The loss of sensitive information can potentially put companies out of business, not to mention the ramifications of weak security leading to loss of confidential customer data, which could affect millions of people and result in a significant loss of reputation.

Making the effort and having the foresight to effectively test all online infrastructure is therefore something that savvy businesses will want to do, and what better individuals are there to carry out these tests than former hackers who have all the experience necessary to uncover potential deficiencies and exploits in a network to the full?

Overall, Radware's research showed that three out of five UK businesses suffered from some form of online attack in the last year, with a key area of concern at present including the impact of the Internet of Things on cyber security and the multitude of connected devices to networks that could open avenues of attack for unscrupulous hackers to exploit.