Wanted: IIoT Hackers. The Reward? A Well-Paying Job!

It’s easy to picture a hacker in front of a glowing computer screen, clacking away at the keyboard as they sneak around firewalls and crack passwords. There’s a villainous denotation to them. But what if this same scenario was happening in a corporate office? And what if the hacker wasn’t stealing passwords and credentials, but rather compiling a report of flaws so they could be fixed properly? That’s the reality for many hackers working for manufacturing firms. They’ve taken off their black hats and donned white ones instead.

Get familiar with ethical hacking

In the world of cybercrime, black hat hackers are the ones we’re most familiar with. They’re the devious wrongdoers who hold data hostage and extort huge sums of cash by exploiting loopholes in software. Their nemeses? White hat hackers. These are hackers who have the capability to exploit systems but use their skills for good. Sometimes called ethical hackers, they show companies the vulnerabilities in their networks. And often, they’re hired to fix them.

Ethical hacking is a proven concept that’s picking up major traction in the manufacturing industry. Many major companies have begun looking for white hat hackers to help them solidify their digital infrastructure. Several are even hosting hackathons — competitive events that give hackers a chance to distinguish themselves from others. The reward? Usually a high-paying salary overseeing manufacturing network buildouts.

Finding the best of the best

Hackathons are the perfect opportunity for manufacturing companies to find IT talent, while also getting familiar with their need for it. Putting a dozen ethical hackers in a room and giving them a specific task or even letting them probe a system for vulnerabilities will quickly result in a laundry list of necessary IT improvements. No system is perfect. Hiring ethical hackers to root out those imperfections will keep them from being exploited by malicious hackers.

Using hackathons to find white hat hackers is a concept already proven by other industries. Banks and healthcare systems, in particular, benefit from a call to action for ethical hackers. There’s too much at stake to not know the loopholes and exploits a black hat hacker may use. In many cases, the cost of hosting the hackathon, paying a reward to the most successful hacker, and even hiring them full-time at a handsome salary is still less than the cost of one major data breach!

From ethical hacker to security analyst

What do you call a white hat hacker with a corporate job? A security analyst! It’s a clever joke, but one that’s never had real importance. In the past decade, some of the most prominent companies have taken the biggest threats to their IT infrastructure out of the field and brought them in-house to better protect them from attack. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Sony are just a few of the companies who even went so far as to hire a hacker after they were exploited, showing how valuable these individuals are.

Hacking is a problem rising in prominence as manufacturing goes digital. It’s important to have a few white hats patching holes before the black hats have a chance to exploit them. This game of chess is one that will dramatically define the future of manufacturing.

While you’re busy working with a hacker to close gaps in your manufacturing software, be sure to also head-off problems with your equipment and hardware. You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!