Difference Between Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking

6 minute read
Difference Between Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking

Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking are two of the most booming careers in the tech industry. However, people often get confused between both terms, and though both these terms are interrelated at the same time differ from each other as well. Cyber security is a broader domain while ethical hacking is a part of cybersecurity only. In this blog, we explore the difference between cyber security and ethical hacking as well as which is the best career to pursue!

Also Read: Study MSc Cyber Security

What is Cyber Security?

Before elaborating upon the difference between cyber security and ethical hacking, let’s first understand what cyber security actually means. Cyber security can be defined as the practice or a process designed in order to defend networks, computers, and data from damage, malicious attacks, or unauthorized access. It is a combination of skills and tools that provides security to its users from any attacks on their data, devices, or programs.

Cyber security is becoming more and more important day by day. Every organization whether government or private stores unprecedented amounts of data which is extremely crucial for that organization and needs proper security against any cyber threat.  The global cyber threat continues to evolve at a rapid pace and every organization needs to take appropriate steps in order to protect their sensitive information especially those organizations that are involved in safeguarding national security data or other sensitive data.

Cyber security can be divided into different categories depending upon the context such as:

Also Read: How to Make a Career in Cyber Forensic

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is a part of cyber security and can be defined as the process of testing the system against all possible security breaches and solving any vulnerabilities in the system before any malicious attack even happens. Hacking is illegal but ethical hacking is the authorized practice of bypassing system security to identify any potential data threat. Ethical hackers try to examine the systems to pinpoint the weak points in that system that malicious hackers can exploit.

Ethical hackers are also referred to as white-hat hackers as their work involves the same as black-hat hackers but ethical hackers don’t intend to harm anyone through their actions but only protect their systems.

Suppose that your website or application contains sensitive data about your customers. Malicious hackers can misuse this data for wrongful purposes. So, you will need an ethical hacker to prevent any of such malicious attacks from even happening and if it happens, then the ethical hacker will perform the necessary action required to stop the attack.

Also Read: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Certification

Difference Between Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking

To understand cybersecurity and ethical hacking in the most basic way, the objective of both terms is the same i.e. to secure the data however the approach towards that objective differs from each other. Here are the key differences between cybersecurity and ethical hacking.

CriteriaCybersecurityEthical Hacking
Basic ConceptIt involves recognizing and resolving security issues in the system in order to protect the data.It involves finding vulnerabilities and
weaknesses in the system that the malicious attackers may use and reporting them to the owner and fixing it.
Key RolesCybersecurity involves roles such as security analyst and SOC engineer.Ethical hacking involves roles such as penetration tester and security manager.
Main AimCybersecurity focuses on how to protect the system i.e.; it is a defensive job.Ethical hacking focuses on how to attack the system i.e., it is an offensive job
ProcessCybersecurity experts regularly update the system in order to make sure that the system is updated.Ethical hackers keep on testing the system continuously in order to find out the flaws in the system.
Are the terms interchangeable?All cybersecurity experts are not ethical hackers as it is a broad term that includes various techniques of security.All ethical hackers are cyber security experts.

Explore Difference Between Cybersecurity and Information Security

What Makes Cyber Security Professionals Different from Ethical Hackers?

To further understand the difference between cyber security and ethical hacking and which one’s better for you, let’s take a look at what role you can expect to play as an ethical hacker or cyber security professional:

What Does an Ethical Hacker Do?

The job of an ethical hacker is to hack inside the system with consent or permission of the owner provide a report about how it got hacked and track the main sources. Here are the key responsibilities that separate an ethical hacker from a cyber security expert.

  • Evaluate the performance of the system
  • Test the security system
  • Suggest solutions to enhance the security system
  • Inform the organization about any malicious attack
  • Find weaknesses in the security system
  • Use appropriate techniques of hacking
  • Generate reports after finding vulnerabilities in the security system

Want to pursue an Ethical Hacking Course? Click here to learn all about it!

What Does a Cyber Security Expert Do?

Cyber security experts work on securing information systems by monitoring, detecting, analyzing, and responding to security experts. In simple terms, they work on protecting systems against cybersecurity risks, vulnerabilities, and threats. Here are the key responsibilities of a Cyber Security professional:

  • Improve the security system
  • Maintain the security system by keeping it updated regularly
  • Work on IT teams in order to protect the integrity of a business’s network and data
  • Analyze the security system and provide suggestions regarding the same to the organization.

Explore Cyber Security Courses!

Career in Cyber Security & Ethical Hacking

Due to the increasing threats of attacks on data and misuse of data, the field of cyber security is becoming bigger than ever and is rapidly increasing. The demand for cyber security experts is more than ever and the number of professionals in this field is getting short-handed in fulfilling the demand. Therefore, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in this field, so if you have any interest in information technology or ethical hacking, then there is no better time than this to enter the field. The cyber security market is predicted to become a $170 billion market in the near future itself.

Thus, there is immense scope in this field if you have the relevant skill set. An average cyber security expert can expect a salary between INR 10 lakh-INR 25 lakh p.a. and an average ethical hacker can expect a salary between INR 5 lakh- INR 15 lakh p.a. However, if the industry keeps on rising at this pace, there is no limit to how up can this number go.

Here’s how you can become an Ethical Hacker!


Q.1. Are Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking the same?

Ans: No, Ethical Hacking is a subset of cyber security that helps experts to identify and resolve technical and sensitive issues in a system.

Q.2. Can Cyber security become a Hacker?

Ans: An undergraduate degree in cyber security and computer applications is required to become an ethical hacker.

Q.3. Does cyber security require coding?

Ans: No, for most of the entry-level positions, coding skills are not usually required.

We hope that you got all the necessary information regarding the difference between cyber security and ethical hacking. Wondering how to pursue a career in Cybersecurity? Get in touch with Leverage Edu experts and get the right guidance on choosing the best course and university as per your interests and preferences. Sign up for a free session with us now!

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