Many popular movies in recent times portray hackers as individuals who break into other people’s or companies’ computer systems to get sensitive information. They will then do something illegal with the data they got for compensation or ruin a person’s or organization’s reputation.
Because of these reasons, hacking is not often seen as a desirable skill or expertise worth developing.
Hacking, however, doesn’t always have to be an illegal activity. This kind of hacking doesn’t have to be done while hiding from the authorities, either.
This is because there is a particular field that allows people to hack away to their heart’s content: ethical hacking.
What is Ethical Hacking?
If you have always been interested in hacking and want to start a career in this field, it is best to know what this profession entails first before you start looking for a certified ethical hacking course to take.
Ethical hacking is the act of penetrating or intruding into a system or network to discover existing or possible weaknesses that a malicious attacker may find and exploit. By finding out these vulnerabilities and fixing or improving them, companies will be able to prevent theft of data, financial loss, and other significant damages.
Ethical hackers can use the same methods and tools used by malicious hackers. However, they will do these with the permission of the authorized person to improve the security of their client’s system and network.
People in ethical hacking also have to report all the vulnerabilities and weaknesses they found during the process to their client or management, if they are working for a company.
How Does One Become an Ethical Hacker?
Anyone who has a background in IT and is greatly interested in computers and security can become a professional ethical hacker. Individuals do not necessarily need a degree or diploma. However, post-secondary education would be an asset to the person looking to get into ethical hacking.
Additionally, it would work to your advantage if you follow the steps and tips below if you want to start a career in ethical hacking:
1. Learn or re-learn the Basics
If you are currently not an IT professional, or if your present job does not give you opportunities to practice your skills, you have to learn the basics of computer and programming languages first.
Knowing the different programming languages is crucial since it will enable you to build tools that will stop the potential cyber intrusions and attacks on a network or system. Some of the languages you have to be proficient in are C, C++, Java, PHP, and Python.
With these, you will also have an easier and faster time detecting errors and flaws that can lead to attacks.
Additionally, consider learning about or brushing up your knowledge on the various operating systems such as Windows, UNIX, and iOS. By doing so, you will find loopholes that can be present in an organization’s operating system much faster.
2. Know the Different Types of Ethical Hacking
There are various types of hacking. These are White Box, Black Box, and Gray Box.
White Box hackers know nothing about the organization whose system or network they have to infiltrate. Those who specialize in Black Box, on the other hand, are already familiar with their target.
Gray Box hackers know something about the organization which they will penetrate. However, they may change their strategies and tools based on the circumstances and defenses they will encounter.
Generally, White Box and Gray Box specialists are usually hired for their hacking abilities. In most instances, they will be employed to try and penetrate an organization’s system and network.
Once done, the hackers will provide the organization details about the vulnerabilities of the system. They will also give recommendations on how to fix or remove these weaknesses.
Once you know the different types of hacking, you can choose one to specialize in. You can also learn about all three if you want to be an expert. By doing so, you will have greater chances of being at the top of your game in this field.
3. Get a Certification
Whether you take up formal or online programming and hacking courses or engage in some self-study, once you have learned everything you need to know, take the next step and get certified.
The Certification in Ethical Hacking or CEH helps establish and govern minimum standards for specialists in professional information security and moral hacking.
By getting certified, you establish that you are competent in practicing ethical hacking. It also tells employers that you have the background and credentials to meet the needs of the industry. Lastly, a certificate will give the people who will hire you an assurance that you will follow the best-accepted practices for network and system security.
To be successful in getting a certificate, consider taking an ethical hacking certification course. Under the right program, you will learn more about the latest hacking tools and techniques. More importantly, you will have various opportunities to practice everything you have studied through lab works and practical projects.
By taking up one of these professional courses in Abu Dhabi offered by a trusted training institute, you will have a higher chance of getting your CEH certificate.
4. Continue Self-Learning and Practice
Finally, whether you get employed immediately or not, always take the time to learn more and stay updated on the world of ethical hacking. Continue practicing your current hacking skills and acquiring other IT-related ones as well.
The continuous evolution of your knowledge and skill after you are certified is one of the most crucial steps that you need to take. You can stay up-to-date by reading articles, watching videos, engaging with experts, and taking up additional courses, if you can.
With cyber-attacks becoming more rampant today, ethical hacking can be a rewarding career in more ways than one. Be part of this industry by following the steps and tips above.
Jerrin Samuel is the Executive Director at Regional Educational Institute (REI) in Abu Dhabi. Since 1995, REI has been at the forefront of education by delivering quality corporate training courses in the UAE, helping many businesses and organizations achieve greater productivity and higher customer satisfaction levels.