Protection Against Cyber Attacks

Ethical Hacking: Combating Cyber Criminals with Certified Ethical Hackers

By DeVry University

In September, Home Depot announced 56 million credit and debit cards were at risk following a data security breach. Americans were still reeling from the Heartbleed bug, which compromised the security of some of the country’s largest companies in April 2014. Today, cyber hacking – a crime that exploits technology to compromise personal information – is all too familiar.

In an increasingly digital world, financial losses froaasdf am cybercrime will continue to rise. Experts estimate cybercrime leads to global financial losses of at least $375 billion annually, according to a 2014 Intel Security® report.

So how do businesses strengthen protection against cyber criminals? Beat them at their own game by employing ethical hackers. Cyber security expert Dr. Karmaveer R. Koonjbearry, professor in the Colleges of Business & Management, Engineering & Information Sciences and Health Sciences at DeVry University, explains how hacking can be used for good.


What is “ethical hacking”?

Ethical hacking is a legal, authorized process used to identify security vulnerabilities in computer systems. Professional ethical hackers identify unnecessary open ports and backdoors that malicious hackers could potentially infiltrate to access files, credit card and social security numbers, and/or other personal information. Ethical hackers then make recommendations to large companies on how to mitigate such vulnerabilities.


Where do certified ethical hackers work?

Jobs for ethical hackers are expected to increase as organizations seek to strengthen their Internet security. Many large organizations employ ethical hackers to test applications before they’re deployed. Smaller organizations typically outsource ethical hacking periodically to check their systems.


What training is available for someone who wants to become a certified ethical hacker?

Degree programs in computer information systems prepare students well for future careers in ethical hacking. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) offers a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) course to help professionals develop the skills required, as well as to prepare, for the EC-Council CEH Certification exam.


What soft skills should ethical hackers possess?

Ethical hackers must have strong communication skills so they can effectively interact with corporate leadership, web developers and application owners, and explain system vulnerabilities constructively. They must be efficient yet thorough and prepared to work with some who may not welcome the additional work required to secure critical systems.


Are there any risks in ethical hacking?

Ethical hackers develop extensive knowledge about an organization’s systems, safeguards, vulnerabilities and practices. This information, in the wrong hands, can have disastrous consequences. Therefore, it’s critical that organizations select ethical hackers with the right background and ethical disposition. A “bad” ethical hacker can have significant consequences on an organization’s bottom line and reputation.


To learn more about degree programs that prepare students for ethical hacking roles, visit


Dr. Karmaveer R. Koonjbearry is a professor in the Colleges of Business & Management, Engineering & Information Sciences and Health Sciences at DeVry University. Previously, he was a consultant at Verizon Communications for nearly two decades. Dr. Koonjbearry is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. His multiple degrees include Bachelor of Science credentials in mathematics and French from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana; a Master of Science in Data Assurance from the University of Dallas; a Master of Science in Telecommunications from Southern Methodist University in Dallas; a Master of Science in Mathematics, with a concentration in computer science, from the University of Arkansas; and a Doctor of Science in information assurance from Capitol College in Laurel, Maryland.