Businesses are hiring a growing number of ethical hackers to test the security of their IT systems, the consulting group NCC said this week.
NCC chief executive Rob Cotton,announcing at 10% rise in interim profits, said that demand for ethical hacking had grown by 50% last year, and would continue to rise in 2006.
“Businesses have acknowledged that they are getting weaker as they are not keeping pace with the sophistication of the non-ethical hacker. They need to take advice to overcome what is an epidemic threat to businesses,” he said.
The NCC said that businesses were increasingly asking consultants to check the resilience of their businesses to “social engineering” attacks.
NCC specialists have been hired to pose as IT staff, to trick unsuspecting employees into disclosing their user name and passwords, Cotton revealed.
In other cases, consultants have posed as staff, gained access to buildings, and logged onto office systems.
The NCC is also seeing increased demand for forensic IT services, following a series of data thefts by company employees, particularly temporary staff.
“If you are a hacker, where is the best place to hack someone to gain financial gain? Inside the business,” he said.