I’m sure that you all must have faced a situation in your life when you were frustrated with the viruses, malware’s or any password attack you have been the victim of. If that is the case, definitely you might think of becoming an ethical hacker also known as a penetration tester or there must be the time when you might have heard the news of hacking in the newspapers and the theft of million dollars.
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There are so many businesses and government organizations out there facing serious risk on their virtual property might consider hiring an ethical hacker who would find the vulnerabilities in their systems and try to exploit the systems in the same way a black hat hacker would do. You might be thinking why an ethical hacker would attack its own organization network? This is because the door which an ethical hacker used can be closed or patched and would not be available for anyone finding doors to enter the organization network.
I heard so many black hat hackers talking that working for any organization as an ethical hacker is not having the same adrenaline rush as you would get in the underground hacking world. Yeah, you are right that it would not be having the same fun but the kind of satisfaction you get is ultimate. You realize each moment that how you’re making this world a better place. Moreover, you would not end up in jail but would do the same work of hacking. Just the thing is that tables have turned and you are on the other side.
We can clearly predict from the current scenario that an ethical hacker is going to be the savior of the Internet in the future. Let me support my point by some facts and figures. The growth rate of IT spending was about 5.9% between 2009 and 2010. Further from 2011 to 2015, IT industry saw a 40% increase in the security services spending. It is expected to increase in the future.
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Let’s move on to your favorite question. What will be my salary? Well! In the initial years, you can earn anything between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. It depends on lots of things like the company size, your knowledge of IT, etc. After getting some years of experience you could command a salary of $135,000 or more. What most of the people do is move to independent consulting after getting some experience.
As you can easily think till now that ethical hacking is a very crucial profession. People need to have a college degree in IT in order to get inside this field. Don’t worry, if you don’t have that because with relevant experience and few good international certifications you could match the requirement. You don’t need a degree if you have the above things in your CV.
To get on the road track of ethical hacking as a career, you need to see where you are right now in the IT field. If you are about to start your IT career then you might consider starting with the military services or cyber cell in the Police department as there is a huge demand of ethical hackers in these departments.
You can start from the very basics like the A+ certification which will be beneficial for the technical support positions. You also need some additional certification to clear up the networking basics like Network+ or CCNA, then you are eligible to work in the network support team. After that, spend some time in earning security certifications like CISSP or TICSA or Security+. Now you are good to be employed as an information security professional. Always concentrate on the penetration testing aspect as it is more rewarding compared to any other trade. Get familiar with the tools and other stuff as it will be very beneficial for your career.
Now the time has come when you can go for the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification which is very reputed and the exam is organized by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council). This is the time when you can call yourself as an ethical hacker.
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For an ethical hacker, you must know various IT field stuff and networking is one of them. Start playing with the Linux commands as it will help in moving to Kali Linux distribution. You should know some programming language maybe Java, Python or C. Also make databases your strong point. For eg. SQL, Oracle.
As any other IT job, you need some soft skills in the ethical hacking field. Ethical hacking isn’t always easy sometimes it is very tiring and exhaustive thing. You need to stay motivated and dedicated all the time. It requires very strong work ethics, good communication skills, and very good problem-solving skills.
An Ethical hacker is always street smart and has strong manipulation skills as they should be able to disclose the passwords from the people who are their targets, shut down systems or restart systems via manipulation of their victim. You always need to master the art of manipulation as “social engineering” is a very important module of ethical hacking.
I just have to say one thing that never engage in any illegal activity or with any black hat hacker group even if it doesn’t lead to a conviction because that will ruin your ethical hacking career. Most of the government organizations or private organizations do a background check or polygraph test before employing.
As you can see from the previous points that Certified Ethical Hacker(CEH) organized by the EC-Council requires some prior knowledge in the ethical hacking field and also some relevant IT security experience. As I’m a CEH v8 qualified professional so I can say from my experience that in the curriculum you’ll learn the mindset of a hacker and the required tools for doing these things.
The CEH curriculum involves social engineering, footprinting, reconnaissance, system hacking, and penetration testing. In this course, you’ll learn to create viruses, Trojan horse, and worms. It will also cover attacks like Denial of service(DOS), buffer overflow, session hijacking, hacking web servers, etc. Learn how to actively and passively sniff the network, encrypt or decrypt messages, blocking packets via a firewall, regulating the flow of traffic, and much more.
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You can find the EC-Council approved training centers on their official website. They offer two options, take the five-day onsite or online training. It generally takes 5 consecutive days to complete the course and there is no restriction to complete the course in 5 days if you are a local, you could spread the curriculum of the CEH over a couple of weeks. It is not necessary that you have to take any training from any institute before giving CEH exam as you could purchase a self-paced book which will help you prepare for the exam. EC-Council offers you a special service based subscription known as i-Labs. This will help you in performing attacks on the virtual remote machine for practical learning.
If you want to learn ethical hacking then it is high time that you should start using Kali Linux OS which has all the tools required for hacking. Some people might ask that they have Windows or Mac OS in their system so let me tell you that Kali Linux should be installed on the Virtual machine installed in your PC. You can use Virtual box or VMware for this purpose.
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Wireshark is another powerful and effective tool made for sniffing the network and generally used for session hijacking attacks. Nmap is the best tool as it scans the targets and let you know about the status of your victim PC.
Like any other IT field, there are various conferences like the most famous of all is the DefCon. In these type of events, you could get the chance to meet and network with people who are into an ethical hacking field.
Remember one thing never intrude or start testing any network without their written permission as it could land you up in jail. Happy Hacking 🙂
Don’t forget to leave your comment below if you are planning to become an ethical hacker. I would love to know your views about this field.
CEO and Founder at Mighty Shouts.