Cybersecurity vs Ethical Hacking: What is the difference?

Cyber Security vs Ethical hacking

When you are wondering about the best career options related to information security, you can come across a difficult choice. Many aspiring professionals are doubtful regarding the cybersecurity vs ethical hacking debate. Both the terms can confuse even a beginner with comprehensive awareness regarding information security career landscape.

However, the attempts to discover difference between ethical hacking and cybersecurity are futile as both are interrelated to each other. Basically, ethical hacking is not a competitor of cybersecurity and is actually a part of cybersecurity. The following discussion dives into a comparison of career options in the two fields.

Before moving ahead to find “which is better, ethical hacking or cybersecurity,” it is important to understand the terms. So, let us start by reflecting on what exactly cybersecurity is.

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Cybersecurity is basically the combination of practices, tools, methodologies, and rules aimed at safeguarding computers, data, and networks against malicious attacks, unauthorized access, or damage. Users can leverage cybersecurity tools and skills for preventing any attacks on their programs, data, or devices. Since cybersecurity is a broader domain, it presents an upper hand in the cybersecurity vs ethical hacking comparison.

The importance of cybersecurity is growing profoundly with every passing day. Organizations and government agencies need promising levels of security against cyber threats to their sensitive data. The threats of cybercriminals and evolving attacks are creating new challenges for organizations worldwide. So, it is important to focus on the suitable measures for safeguarding data, and this is where cybersecurity works effectively. The breadth of cybersecurity is evident in the different categories based on individual contexts, such as the following,

  • Network security
  • Application security
  • Cloud security
  • Data security
  • Information security
  • Mobile security
  • Endpoint security
  • Identity management 

Ethical Hacking

The concept of ethical hacking has started to gain recognition in the field of cybersecurity. It is basically a subset when it comes to cybersecurity vs ethical hacking comparison. Ethical hacking deals with evaluation of a computer system or network for detecting breaches and vulnerabilities. The practice of ethical hacking basically involves bypassing the security of a system to find out any weaknesses. Subsequently, ethical hackers could use the newly discovered information for dealing with attacks even before they happen.

Ethical hacking teaches security professionals to think and act like hackers for fighting against them. This is the reason why they are also known as ‘white-hat hackers.’ They work just like hackers who operate with malicious intent, although with the objective of safeguarding systems. 

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Cyber Security vs Ethical hacking: What is the difference? 

With the differences between ethical hacking and cybersecurity, it is easier to find out the scope for career development. The cybersecurity vs ethical hacking debate can also show the field which can align with your career preferences.

  • Primary Responsibilities

What is the primary responsibility in cybersecurity and ethical hacking jobs? Cybersecurity jobs primarily focus on data and system protection against malicious activities. The work of cybersecurity professionals largely emphasizes on identification and resolution of different security issues. Ethical hacking jobs are also focused on protecting data and systems by identifying system vulnerabilities and reporting them.

  • Focus of Jobs

The next point of difference between ethical hacking and cybersecurity refers to the focus of jobs. Cybersecurity has to focus largely on safeguarding the system and network, while ethical hacking emphasizes attacking the system. So, cybersecurity tends to move more towards a defensive approach, and ethical hacking aligns towards the offensive side. This clearly indicates a formidable difference in the cybersecurity vs ethical hacking debate.

  • Objectives

The outcomes of cybersecurity and ethical hacking can also showcase the differences between them. Cybersecurity primarily ends up in creation and configuration of system access privileges. On the other hand, ethical hacking primarily deals with finding out the avenues through which the hack has been performed. Cybersecurity focuses on identification of security issues alongside safeguarding systems against security violations. Ethical hacking presents a log of weaknesses derived from penetration testing. 

  • Job Descriptions

The difference between ethical hacking and cybersecurity salary also depends a lot on the job descriptions. Cybersecurity professionals have to work on regular audits alongside discovering system inefficiencies. They must also deploy suitable technologies for improving the security system. On the other hand, ethical hackers conduct regular penetration tests on the company’s security system to recommend solutions.

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Are You Prepared for Choosing?

On the concluding note, it is inevitable to have doubts about the cybersecurity vs ethical hacking differences. Both fields offer great opportunities for better salaries and access to many job roles. The deficiency of skilled professionals is also another reason to encourage candidates to pursue careers in cybersecurity and ethical hacking.

Businesses and agencies all over the world slowly recognize the massive impact of information security risks and threats. However, ethical hacking is an emerging specialization in cybersecurity and could turn into a niche domain in the future. Go ahead and make your choice right now to build your career!


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