What is ethical hacking?
Hacking is always associated with illegal activities and breaking into firewalls to rob people of their data. A lot of people don't know about “Ethical Hacking” and what it entails.
Ethical hackers are on the legal side of the system. They are the ones who identify weaknesses in the system so that hackers can’t exploit them for illegal activities. They help organisations in keeping their systems safe.
Difference between white hat and black hat hacking
The only difference between white hat hackers and black hat hackers is consent. White hat hackers have permission to hack into the companies’ network. Black hat hackers have no permission and hack into a companies’ system with malicious intent. It is either for financial gains or just for the thrill of it but whatever the reason, it is considered illegal.
There is another type of hacking called Grey hat hacking. It’s a mix of white hat and black hat hacking. These people after finding vulnerabilities in a system contact the owners to receive payments for the same or finding a solution. While Grey Hat hackers usually don’t have any intent to be malicious they could threaten the company to put up the flaw online.
Whatever the case, that too is considered illegal. Although consent is the only thing that defines these hackers, the techniques they use are mostly the same.
Why ethical hacking?
If you are someone who looks for a challenge, then Ethical Hacking is the work that you are looking for. You get to break into systems and exploit their weaknesses and get paid good money for it. Like in all industries, you will have to struggle initially before making it but it all depends on the kind of effort you put in and how interested you are in the field.
Staying on the right side of the law
It is extremely important to understand that engaging in illegal or ‘black hat’ hacking is not good for your career. The reason being that even if you don’t get arrested for it, you will still have to undergo background checks and lie detector tests while being hired by companies or the government.
Skills required to become an ethical hacker
But, the question persists. How to become an ethical hacker though? To be a successful ethical hacker, you need to have a working knowledge of various topics such as
- Networking - Cisco offers a wide variety of courses on the subject
- Programming - Learn languages like Python, C++ etc.
- Databases - Managing databases on MySQL to understand how databases work
- Operating systems - Linux is an important tool to understand things like Windows registry etc. It is favoured by hackers for its open-source nature as all operating systems for hacking are based on it. Hence, experience in working with Linux is naturally one of the essential skills required to become an ethical hacker.
Once you have an understanding of these topics, it will help you to find flaws in the architecture of a system. Once you know these topics you can go on to learn and gain expertise in hacking.
Learning cryptography is an important part of being an ethical hacker because you have to deal with a lot of encrypted information. Encryption of data is done to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the information. Breaking these codes in the encrypted format is called decryption. To be a good hacker, you have to know both the encryption and decryption of data.
How to find work as an ethical hacker?
There are a lot of companies that hire ethical hackers to safeguard their IT systems. The government also hires hackers to secure their confidential networks and such, but you have to go through an extensive background check before you get to work for the government because a lot of work that you may do with them may contain sensitive/classified information.
Networking better within the ethical hacking community is also an excellent way to find work. Attending hackathons or hacking events is also a smart option as recruiters are also present at the same watching to see if you are good enough for their company.
How much can you earn in ethical hacking?
Ethical Hacking is fast becoming a rewarding job prospect within the industry and offers great job roles and opportunities to learn and grow. As a subset of managing the cybersecurity division in a company, an Ethical Hacker will be responsible for ensuring foolproof working conditions in the data security infrastructure which he/she will be testing time and again to good effect.
The average salary of an ethical hacker is estimated to be in the range of US$70,000- 90,000 with bonuses that go up to US$20,000.
Some of the roles that ethical hackers play
Network support - This involves monitoring, updating and testing the companies’ security systems for weakness.
Network engineers - Designing and planning networks are part of the activities a network engineer does.
There are a lot of things that you can do when it comes to ethical hacking. It is an extremely rewarding career choice. In an increasingly digitized world, we need more ethical hackers to protect our data from black hat hackers and other lower elements in the cyber world.
How to become a certified ethical hacker?
You have made it to the end of the article, great job. We hope that this article has given you a fair idea of what it takes to become an ethical hacker.
To motivate and stimulate the trait in you further, we have for you our comprehensive Cyber Security Internship Course which forms part of learning Ethical Hacking along with other cyber disciplines to give you exposure to how the cybersecurity industry works.
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