Dreaming to become an ethical hacker is one thing and becoming one in another one. It is not an easy ride in the park. The challenges and rough rides are part of the ethical hacker's journey. Allow me to take you the best ways to become an ethical hacker within the shortest time possible.
There are two ways of becoming an ethical hacker. Either by enrolling in a school or on your own by undertaking courses and certifications online. The skills needed in ethical hacking include programming, networking, authentication, cyber security and so on.
Besides getting tips on how to become an ethical hacker, you will understand why you should be an ethical hacker, its benefits, how long it takes to be a professional, the certification available for you, and clear the air about this career-whether it is good or a bad one. so, let us get started.
Have you been having a dream of becoming an ethical hacker? Well, this article is for you. An ethical hacker is one of the careers that need hard work, patience, and practice.
There are two ways of becoming an ethical hacker. Either by enrolling in a school or on your own by undertaking courses and certifications online(self-study).
There are several skills that an ethical hacker has to understand and have a lot of knowledge about them. These skills range from programming, networking, authentication, cyber security, and so on. Here are some of the skills one must learn to become an ethical hacker:
Understanding several programming languages like C, Java, PHP, C++, Python is one of the essential requirements of someone who aspires to be an ethical hacker. Mastering these languages takes time and practice for you to become better.
Most of the websites on the internet have databases. One must understand databases like Structured Query Language(SQL), MySQL, MongoDB, etc. He must know how databases operate. There is a need to differentiate between working with relational and non-relational databases.
Ethical hackers should understand how search engines like Google, Maltego, Bing, DuckDuckGo operate. Hackers use these engines to check vulnerabilities on websites.
It is about understanding the types of networks, how to protect them from attacks, threats. Ethical hackers must know about network firewalls and set up VPN, encryption, antivirus, etc.
Ethical hackers must know how to evade honey pots, firewalls, detection systems and perform network sniffing and analysis.
Hackers need to understand how to use different operating systems(OS) like Windows, Fedora, Linux Kali distro. Kali distro is the commonly used operating system by ethical hackers. Understanding how it works and all its commands is a big plus to your career. You need to have an understanding of file manipulation, files permissions, navigating through directories e.t.c
Those learning ethical hacking are required to have better communication skills, teamwork, hard work, analytical and creative thinking, better documentation writing. The ethical hacker is also encouraged to understand all the ethics behind hacking by reading the ethics code.
Hackers must understand how to use the majority of the hacking tools. The examples include Metasploit, Wireshark, Nmap, Nikto, Burpsuite, Intruder, Maltego, and how to use them.
The journey to becoming a certified hacker is long; learners can do several certifications and courses c online and in lab practices. Most of the certificates issued by the EC-Council are one of the world's most trusted bodies on cyber security and hacking. Some of the certifications and online courses include:
Ethical hacking is one of the fastest-growing careers in the USA and across the world. According to Indeed.com, there are over 30,000 jobs listed on the platform yearly, with a salary range of $101,200-$130,000 per year.
There is a lot of certifications and schools that are coming up with programs to teach ethical hacking. It has led to the growth of hacking jobs in the market. There was a projection that by the year 2031, there would be a 32% increase in the demand for these jobs.
Organizations have come out with extensive bounty programs that offer ethical hackers a certain amount of awards to test and look for vulnerabilities in their applications, websites, systems, apps, and servers. It has opened a lot of opportunities for ethical hackers.
Ethical hackers can play different roles in careers in an organization. They can work as a security analyst, penetration tester, security consultant, information security, etc. Some can work on freelancing terms or in a team.
Ethical hacking involves penetration into systems, networks, applications, organization structures, computer resources, or data to identify breaches and threats that can cause malicious hacking. Most of this job involves ethical hackers, cyber security engineers.
Ethical hackers are known for using complex technologies to perform this job.
Ethical hackers look for potential vulnerabilities, wrong system configurations that may lead to hacking of systems. They later provide solutions to fix the vulnerabilities found during the testing.
Ethical hackers are required to ask for legal permission from the organization to move on with the testing. They have a limited scope whereby they can't continue beyond a given area to make an attack a success.
While assigning the jobs, some organizations limit testing like Denial of Service attacks, which leads to the server crashing, affecting everyday operations.
When ethical hackers get tasked with the job, they have little time to expose the vulnerabilities compared to the black hat hackers who have a lot of time.
There are different types of hackers:
Types of Ethical hacking.
There are several types of ethical hacking. They make use of different tools and techniques. The types include:
Ethical hackers make use of the same tools and methods used by malicious (black hat ) hackers to prevent attacks. After all the testing, they usually report all the vulnerabilities and weaknesses found during the testing.
Many organizations employ ethical hackers for a short period, tasking them to keep the entire systems safe using robust security procedures, system security configurations, etc.
After uncovering the vulnerabilities, the ethical hackers are supposed to come up with a report. The report contains an in-depth explanation of the findings. The organizations give points according to the result and the level of difficulty. Most ethical hackers get outsourced outside the organization; the report should be well written and detailed.
Steps of Ethical hacking
These are the procedures that ethical hackers approach to test for vulnerabilities. These are guidelines for hacking legally without compromising anything. It involves the following steps:
There are several uses of ethical hacking.
1) Ethical hacking promotes security among nations
It's a result of protecting the nation's data and security systems against vulnerability. The data can be meaningful to terrorists and enable them to plan and counter-attacks, but it limits the possibility of an attack once it's protected. It helps in avoiding cyber terrorism.
2) Ethical hacking helps in finding vulnerabilities
IT firms, organizations, financial institutions, and corporate, private companies employ ethical hackers to access their products. The hackers evaluate the systems, perform an audit and make reports.
Some of the security vulnerabilities tested include lack of password protection, SQL injection attacks, poor security configurations, lousy authentication, and data breach.
3) Ethical hacking helps organizations in having a secure network that is free from data breaches.
4) Ethical hacking helps in building trust between the customers and the organization
Once the customers are assured security of their data and products, they feel secure, increasing their trust and the organizations they are getting the goods and services.
5) It helps in protecting the security architecture of an organization.
6) Ethical hacking helps in protecting an organization's networks from malicious attacks.
Ethical hacking, like any other career, needs a lot of practice and mastering of skills. The timeline to become one will depend on the level of your programming and technical skills. For those who have skills, it will take between 2-5 yrs. This number of years also depends on how many hours you put in during learning per day.
If you take like 8 hrs per day, it will take a shorter time than the person who puts in 1-2 hours per day. For those with no coding skills will take them a little longer, around 5-6 yrs.
You must become proficient in different fields like networking, programming, scripting, and OS to have enough knowledge to become an ethical hacker and help the website owners to know what to do when a site is hacked.
Ethical hacking is becoming one of the fastest-growing careers in cyber security. It has led to many big organizations like Google and Facebook coming out with bug bounty programs to test their systems for vulnerabilities. If found, the hacker walks away with a lump of some money.
It is an exciting area of study with a lot of available learning resources and information. The article has guided you on everything you need to know, from how to begin, the mandate procedures of performing ethical hacking.
There are many malicious hackers in the world right now, which will push organizations to hire more ethical hackers to fix the vulnerabilities before they are exposed.