If you love the cyber world, are very intrigued by the computer systems and networking, and if you are thinking of a career in cybersecurity, then why not consider becoming a certified ethical hacker? Certified ethical hacker job candidates are in demand in the cybersecurity realm, especially in Silicon Valley. If you have an educational background in computer science and application and information technology, you can easily follow this career path and become a professional hacker.
Now, before you begin preparation, let us tell you that cybersecurity is an umbrella term, and there are different kinds of hacking professions under it. They include White Hat, Black Hat, Grey Hat, Script Kiddie, and Hacktivist. You cannot confuse or interchange one with another because they vastly differ from each other.
In today’s blog, we will discuss white hat hacking, a.k.a ethical hacking, how to learn ethical hacking, certified ethical hacker prerequisites, how to become a hacker, and job description and salary.
What is Ethical Hacking?
We have understood that there are different types of hacking in cybersecurity. Let us explain each in brief so that you understand the terminology ‘white hat hacker’ better.
- White Hat Hacker: Ethically and legally hacks a system after gaining permission from the company
- Black Hat Hacker: Is the typical hacker that hacks a system unauthorized
- Grey Hat Hacker: Is the computer savvy that hacks a system illegally but eventually reveals the vulnerabilities to the said organization
- Hacktivist: Is the techie who hacks a computer with a thought and idea and leaves specific messages and signs
- Script Kiddie: The non-techie person who hacks systems using pre-built platforms for hacking.
As an ethical hacker, you will obtain permission from your client company, gain access to their networking and computer system, and identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities to help the firm troubleshoot them.
While white-hat hackers and black hat hackers do the same work, ethical hackers are granted an official permit to enter the systems legitimately and rightfully.
What are the Skills Required to Become a White Hat Hacker
The principal responsibility of an ethical hacker is to find systems’ weaknesses and provide solutions to fix them. Sometimes the answer is provided by another team of technicians, such as computer programmers, data analysts, and so on.
You can be an ethical hacker without prior experience in cybersecurity. As we said, a background in computer programming and information technology is enough to pursue a career. However, it is always better to get into this line of the profession at an infancy level, rather than deciding to change your field suddenly.
List of Certified Ethical Hackers’ Prerequisites
- You must have a basic understanding of computer coding and programming languages
- Be a learner of new things and stay persuasive
- Have foundational knowledge of network and web security
- Know how to access the internet and use search engines for researching and gathering information
- Know how to operate a Linux-based operating system and understand its basic commands
What You Should Do to Qualify for Certification
You have to start from the very beginning because unlike what we see in movies, not everyone with computer skills can crack a fully functioning networking system. Therefore, to obtain an A+ Ethical Hacking Certification, do the following:
- Learn and practice coding
- Study the fundamentals of the operating system, networking, and cybersecurity
- Learn any one (or more) markup language
- Practice hacking, join hacking forums and workshops and volunteer in developing open-source programs
Important NOTE: Do not skip learning programming languages. Since you will identify and solve problems and build tools, programming languages will help you implement the solutions you found.
Coding and writing programs will also help you find errors in applications quickly and efficiently. By using your knowledge and experience in programming, you can even customize/ modify existing source code to suit your prerequisites without worrying about writing everything from scratch.
Furthermore, if you don’t learn a programming language, you won’t be any different from a script kiddie.
And let us also tell you that certified ethical hackers’ salary is much higher than what script kiddies get.
What Programming Languages Should You Learn?
This depends upon your interest in the particular platform. For instance, if you are a desktop savvy, you can learn Java, C++, and C#, and if you are interested in web applications, then you can study HTML, ASP, JSP, and PHP. Learn Java, Swift, and C# for mobile apps.
Other programming languages that will significantly benefit you in your ethical hacking career include:
- SQL database language for web hacking and by-pass of web application logins
- Ruby, Python, Perl, and Bash high-level programming language for tools building and scripts, and customization of tools
- CSharp, Visual Basic, and VB Script for other cross-platform uses
How to Become a Certified White Hat Hacker
A certification in ethical hacking will help you secure better jobs and a higher salary, even without sufficient industry experience.
The best certification course for a white hat hacking job is CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker). A CEH Certified technician can earn around $88000 per annum.
Other certification courses include:
- Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE)
- Certified Vulnerability Assessor (CVA)
- SANS GIAC
- Certified Professional Ethical Hacker (CPEH)
You have to clear the CEH multiple-choice examination (240 minutes, 125 questions) to receive the certification. The examination assesses the candidate’s knowledge of penetration testing tools and structure and other basics of attacking hacking and social engineering.
To clear the CEH examination, you must attend the official CEH training approved by the EC-Council. The training is available in multiple formats – live online training, classroom training, or computer-based classes.
The passing score for the CEH certification is 70%.
You can apply for the exam on ECC Exam Center or your respective state’s cybersecurity certification training website.
If you have any more questions, do mention them in the comments below. We will be happy to answer.