ethical-hackersThe internet industry has revolutionized our way of life over the last few decades. It has changed many things, starting from the way we educate ourselves to the way we shop. However, this has led to several risks. Today, our bank account information, social security numbers and social media accounts are all at the mercy of hackers. But not every hacker is born to cause harm. There are those who are responsible for solving problems and preventing malicious hackers from damaging network systems. Let us take a look at what an individual must do in order to become a qualified ethical hacker.  

Steps to Take

Lately, there has been a growing need for ethical hackers. According to a report by Times of India, Nasscom numbers show that the demand for ethical hackers in India will go up to a minimum of 77,000 ethical hackers each year.

These hackers will be involved in white hat hacking techniques that help safeguard computer systems from threats and dangerous intrusions. Usually, ethical hackers are whiz kids and technically skilled IT pros who are self-driven and highly motivated.

If you too wish to become a professional ethical hacker, here are a few useful insights into how you can pursue your calling.

Know about the advantages and disadvantages – Before you get down to the basics, it is vital to understand the core concepts like the different types of hacking – White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat. You obviously do not want to get caught up in illegal activities so aspire only to become a White Hat hacker, which is acceptable. Find out the career prospects, scope and the remuneration in this field. Only then should you prepare yourself after weighing the pros and cons.

Seek out the best job opportunities – Find out about the types of jobs offered to ethical hackers and the roles they have to play. Make a list of the companies that hire qualified ethical hackers. Usually, hackers get well-paying job offers in government sector organizations, such as banks, military establishments, financial institutions and also certain private entities.

Ascertain the key requirements for ethical hacking – Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you understand the qualities that will help you sail through and the areas that you will need to work on.

Choose between software and hardware – As a hacker, you will have to know of every component and function of the computer that you are going to work on. It is advisable to opt for only one of the two options. Do not specialize in both hardware and software! Though it is certainly better to have knowledge of both, making a choice will bring clarity and help you to understand where to begin. Keep experimenting in order to learn how to control all sorts of situations and to prevent a digital device from getting hacked.

Gain programming knowledge through computer languages – Programming languages like C, C+ and Java can be learnt by seeking formal education though books and programming courses. With these you can learn how to read codes and also write them.

Get Acquainted with UNIX – It is time to get familiar with the UNIX operating system. This operating system is often referred to as the original operating system created by hackers. Your next operating systems should be Mac OS and Windows.

Remain Updated with the Latest Happenings – You ought to refine your focus while keeping yourself attuned to the latest developments in technology. The rapid changes in technology make ethical hacking a highly competitive field. Thus, a professional ethical hacker should be willing to keep in tune with the latest technological introductions and developments.

Join Hacker Communities on Social Networking Sites – Before you become a part of the hacker community you should know what it feels like to be a hacker. Join relevant groups on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and start sharing your ideas and technical information. You will feel confident while contributing to the world of hacking while at the same time you will get the opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and trends.

Seek Professional Education and Get Certified – There is a wide array of ethical hacking courses or training programs based on internet security. These will help you increase your knowledge and awareness on ethical hacking.

Getting Qualified

To get a kick start in this field, you will need to begin with the basics. You can seek admission to an ethical hacking program. There are several courses in ethical hacking that can award you with a certification, diploma or degree in ethical hacking. The programs will teach you the concepts and help you join a company in a tech support position.

Once you have some experience in this role, you can then move on to pursue another professional certification such as the Network+ or the CCNA. With such prestigious certifications, you will be able to seek a better opportunity in this realm. Apply for positions like network support and admin and ultimately be the network engineer in a few years. You can also enhance your value as a professional by acquiring security certifications like TICSA, CISSP and Security+. It would then get easier for you to find a place under the information security department. Penetration testing could be your forte which will allow you to get practical experience with trade tools.

Eventually, when you are familiar with the concept of data security you will be in a position to aspire for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification. The CEH certification is awarded by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants and will bring more credibility. As a qualified ethical hacker with certification you can pinpoint the vulnerabilities in target systems and use them to hack into them.

Different Ways of Hacking

Wireless Hacking

War-driving is the term that describes this kind of an attack where wireless access points are messed around with from the back of a van. Ethical hackers do so and report the status to their employers, rather than stealing passwords like black-hat hackers do.

Application Hacking

This one’s a much more refined hack that can probe deep into the databases and production servers. Only the experienced ethical hackers who are bound by strict guidelines to control their actions are allowed to perform these tests. The reformed black hat hackers are avoided for this type of hacking.

IP Hacking

IP hack is when a company hires you to hack a particular IP address but does not give you any data beforehand. However, remain cautious that the IP address is not an international server. Hackers may end up hacking an incorrect IP address, such as a foreign government’s computer, creating an international frenzy.

Physical Infrastructure Hacking

This is when you seek to get into the facilities to access the systems or go searching for confidential information like sticky notes with passwords discarded.

The Route to Earning a Living

Now that you have acquired a fair share of knowledge through ethical hacking courses and have acquainted yourself with the different types of hacking through hands-on experience at internships and reading blogs, it is time to earn some bread and butter.

You may start your career with freelancing. Freelance work for ethical hackers is a great way to get experienced. It may also end up giving you a decent amount of remuneration, which will only keep increasing as your reputation in the freelance community increases, ultimately boosting your market worth. Once you get your fill of experience as a freelancer, you may then jump up to a job more permanent in nature.

You don’t necessarily need to apply to the largest tech company; there are many small- and medium-sized enterprises that will be willing to pay handsomely. Alternatively, you can also establish system security consultation services to offer services to multiple companies simultaneously. You can do this alongside a permanent job or even between your freelancing and permanent job.

Author bio: Devika Arora is a professional writer who compiles relevant facts and analyzes the current state of affairs pertaining to education. The given write-up offers facts for students who aspire to acquire knowledge from ethical hacking programs and become professional ethical hackers.