What is Ethical Hacking? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
We live in a world where internet and digital technology usage has become a norm. Today, where advanced technology is increasingly becoming pervasive, cyber security and the risk of hackers have also become a core concern.
Deterring threats from malicious hackers is often a top concern of corporates. To safeguard their customer data like birthdays, payment information, passwords, and other important business-related information, companies are deploying trained and experienced ethical hackers.
They (ethical hackers) stimulate a cyberattack against a company’s network, devices, and systems to find exploitable security vulnerabilities, and prepare companies to deal with data breaches and illegal infiltrations.
There’s a growing need for ethical hackers in the cybersecurity and IT sector companies all over the world, making ethical hacking one of the most sought-after career options.
Here are the key takeaways from this article.
- What is Ethical Hacking?
- What is Hacking?
- Different types of Hackers
- What is the difference between Ethical hacking and Hacking?
- Career prospects of an ethical hacker
- How to master ethical hacking by doing a cyber security course?
What is Ethical Hacking?
Experts define ethical hacking as the process of identifying and solving the vulnerabilities of a system, software, or hardware by stimulating a cyberattack against it (computer system).
In modern times, hacking has been associated with illegally breaking into a computer system of an individual, group, or organisation. However, it is essential to understand that all hackers don’t conduct malicious attacks; in fact, some are commissioned to break into the computer system to check the strength of the cybersecurity best practices.
Ethical hackers or white hat hackers are trained professionals who orchestrate a cyberattack to evaluate the risk of a cyberattack on the company’s data and processes. Besides white hat hackers, there are two types of hackers: black hat and grey hat.
Black hat hackers break into a computer system illegally. On the other hand, grey hat hackers uncover threats without malicious intent. To be clear, grey hat hacking is still illegal. Even though their intentions may be good, they are infiltrating systems and retrieving data without permission.
White Hat vs Black Hat Hackers
The difference between white hat and black hat hackers also explains what ethical hacking is, and what is not. These two types of hackers can be identified by analysing their intentions (crime, disruption, malicious intent for black hat hackers and identifying risks, eliminating vulnerabilities for the white hat hackers). Other differences that can separate these two types of hackers are listed below.
|POINT OF DIFFERENCE||WHITE HAT HACKERS||BLACK HAT HACKERS|
|Operating technique||They analyse the vulnerabilities of the security system.||They break into a company’s system and network to extract confidential data.|
|Legality||They are legal or authorised by the company to hack.||The company does not authorise them to hack.|
|Ownership||Organisations deploy ethical hackers to identify and analyse their security systems.||The organisations do not deploy black hat hackers. They infiltrate their system without permission.|
Skills and duties of an Ethical Hacker
Here are the role and responsibilities of an ethical hacker in any organisation:
- Authorisation– Ethical hackers get legal authorisation from the system owners before performing any action.
- Scope assessment– Ethical hackers must determine the scope of their work and inform the system owners of what they intend to do and its potential impact.
- Report– If they spot any vulnerabilities or security breaches, then they must report those.
- Keep it confidential– Their findings have to remain confidential.
- Erase their footprint– After their task is done, they need to erase any traces of the hack, such as a script, or program that they used to break in.
Here are the skills required by an ethical hacker:
- Networking skills
- Scripting knowledge
- Excellent understanding of database
- Knowledge about search engines, servers, and platforms like Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.
- Proficient with different hacking tools
Career Opportunities In Ethical Hacking
Every company needs to protect their data, financial information, and operational infrastructure from hackers, making cybersecurity a basic need for modern businesses. This need has necessitated companies to hire professionally qualified ethical hackers with advanced skills and knowledge.
So, if you are planning to make a career in ethical hacking, pursuing a certification course will help you attract exciting work opportunities. Moreover, these courses will help you learn and master everything about the following things:
- Ethical hacking
- Cyber security
- Ethical hackers
Furthermore, you’ll acquire:
Knowledge of Programming – It is essential for those employed in application security and software development life cycle (SDLC) arena
Knowledge of Scripting – It is essential for those employed in defending network- based attacks or host-based attacks.
Knowledge of networking – Most threats come in through networks. Hence, it is important for a professional to know all about the networking structures and devices.
Knowledge of databases – Databases are usually the target of attacks. Hence, knowledge of database management systems such as SQL is essential.
Knowledge of OS – Various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Unix, etc., should be understood thoroughly.
Emeritus India offers various cyber security certifications to help fresh graduates and experienced professionals thoroughly understand what ethical hacking is and how to tackle cyberattacks, among others. Joining our programme will open doors to lucrative career opportunities. These cyber security courses are offered in association with renowned institutes like IIT, IIM, and ISB.
What are the uses of ethical hacking?
- Discovers vulnerabilities and fixes them before a malicious hacker identifies it
- Protects the organisation’s network, data, systems, and devices by implementing a secure network and system protection plan
- Prepares companies from a hacker’s attack by learning, understanding, and implementing how hackers operate
What is an ethical hacker, and how to become one?
An ethical hacker is a trained professional who exploits security flaws, vulnerabilities or bugs in software, network, or system to identify security loopholes and fixes them before a malicious hacker finds them.
Here’s how to become an ethical hacker:
- Get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity, IT, or a similar field
- Get a certification course to enhance your skills and acquire advanced knowledge of computer networking and cybersecurity concepts
- Dive into the ethical hacking profession
How is ethical hacking and hacking different?
|Identifies, assesses, and implements security measures to find a company’s loopholes.||Steals and destroys important information related to a company.|
|It is a sanctioned activity.||It is an illegal activity that starts with breaking into a company’s system.|
|Ethical hackers are entitled to a salary.||Hackers earn profits from selling confidential information.|
What are the different types of ethical hacking?
- Web application hacking
- System hacking
- Web server hacking
- Hacking wireless networks
- Social engineering
What are the common career paths for Ethical hackers?
Ethical hacking is a good career alternative for aspirants interested in ethical hacking and cybersecurity. Here are some of the career paths for Ethical Hacking aspirants:
- Security Analyst
- Security Consultant
- Security Engineer/Architect
- Information Security Manager
- Information Security Analyst