What is the difference between Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking?

Let us understand what penetration testing is.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is a security which is applied where a cyber-security expert tries to discover and handle vulnerabilities in a computer system. Penetration testing is carried out to powerful an enterprise's security framework to defend its IT base from potential cyber-attacks.

The tests work to identify any weakness, malicious content, errors, and vulnerabilities in the system. Penetration testing is an element of ethical hacking, where the main objective is to penetrate the data system.

Penetration Testing is a legal, structured procedure to compute the security posture of an organization. This practice simulates an attack against the security infrastructure of the enterprise, including its network, software, and users, to recognize the exploitable vulnerabilities.

It decides the efficacy of the company’s security policies, controls, and methods. It can strengthen the system, penetration testers proactively analyze for design flaws, technical weaknesses, and several vulnerabilities. The results of the vulnerability evaluations are then comprehensively documented for executive administration and the company’s technical audience.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is also referred to as Whitehat Hacking or Penetration Testing. Ethical hacking can enhance the security of the systems and networks by fixing the vulnerability established while testing.

Ethical hackers enhance the security posture of an organization. Ethical hackers use similar tools, devices, and methods that malicious hackers utilized, but with the permission of the lawful person. The goals of ethical hacking are to enhance security and to defend the systems from attacks by malicious customers.

The goal of ethical hackers is to examine the system or network for weak points that malicious hackers can exploit or destroy. They collect and analyze the data to figure out ways to strengthen the security of the system software.


The major differences between Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking are as follows −

Penetration TestingEthical Hacking
A penetration testing company performs a cyber security assessment on a definite IT system.An ethical hacking company will evaluate all system security vulnerabilities while incorporating the methods of penetration testing.
A penetration tester is not always required to do this depending on the scale of the test.Ethical hackers are needed to generate in-depth, lengthy documents specifying their findings and endorsed solutions.
Penetration Testing target on a unique target environment and works to find the break in its security system.The scope of Ethical Hacking extends up to several types of hacking techniques employed to identify bugs in the security order.
A penetration test is generally a fast process with a time limit.Ethical hackers generally have more time to test and report.
Penetration testers don’t require certification if they have efficient experience.Ethical hackers generally require certification.