With technological advancements, the IT industry is growing at a rapid rate. Companies continue to generate a huge amount of data every day, leading to the increased requirement of professionals who could ensure the safety and security of this data. Over time, cybersecurity has brought lucrative career opportunities for skilled enthusiasts, the most lucrative one being ethical hacking. If you have a keen interest in making your career as an ethical hacker, here is everything that you need to know.
What is ethical hacking?
Ethical hacking is the act of legally intruding into a system or network to detect its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The practice helps the organisations to make sure that before a malicious hacker enters and exploits their network, the vulnerabilities are detected and dealt with. Ethical hacking is basically testing the network and understanding the scope for improvement in it. Ethical hackers may or may not use the exact same techniques, tools, and measures used by attackers. What differentiates them is that they have a permit from respective authorities that allows them to enter the network, scan, detect, and report all the vulnerabilities so that the organisation could strengthen their security measures.
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Why is ethical hacking needed?
Whether it is e-commerce, healthcare, blockchain, government, or any other sector, the requirement of ethical hacking is growing more than ever due to the risk of data theft. Had ethical hacking not been there, all the users’ data including passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, or sensitive corporate data could be easily stolen by malicious attackers. Companies in every sector are dealing with enormous cyberattacks either done by competitor organisations or individuals involved in cybercrimes. To stand against such negative agents and to ensure data safety, organisations need hackers who can break into their web applications, devices, server, network, etc., and can create a protective shield. To maintain the trust of the clients and secure user data, organisations deploy complex security technologies through ethical hacking that can not be broken by attackers.
When do organisations need ethical hackers?
Last week, the database of one of the most popular food delivery apps in India was hacked. The hacker accessed major details of ~17 million users including the names, user names, numeric user IDs, email, and password hashes. These details were then put up on the darknet for sale without even considering a negotiation with the organisation. Such incidents could create a situation of panic as a lot of users generally keep the same password on their social media accounts, mobile applications, and even for mails. Organisations need ethical hacking services all the time. Whether it is launching a new product, expanding the current product line, or branching out the business, companies have to keep on evaluating and improving their security measures to keep the user data secured. During an ongoing attack, ethical hackers play a key role as they track the issue faster to stop it as soon as possible and reduce the organisations’ liability.
Organisations look up to ethical hackers when they want someone to use the general information of the company found online and try to penetrate into the system. They want the ethical hackers to imitate attacks that could be done by malicious hackers, try to enter in the wireless system of the company, test routers, firewalls, and switches, and intrude into the company’s website and app to detect vulnerabilities before attackers could reach this stage.
Where is the need for ethical hacking felt? – Career opportunities for ethical hackers
Approximately, every industry today has some or all of its operations taking place online leading to growth in the requirement of ethical hackers. Some of the most prominent places where ethical hackers can work in different roles such as chief information security officer, information security analyst, ethical hacking trainer, network security administrator, and chief application security officer, include –
- Government (non-defence and defence) – The government, policymaker of every country contains a huge amount of sensitive data of each of its citizens and residents. Details about infantry weapons, missile systems, aircraft, radar, etc., and plans to deploy these in the situation of a national emergency is extremely confidential. The government needs ethical hackers to secure all this data and avoid unwanted intrusions. Within the government, ethical hackers could work in departments such as forensic, law, or investigative.
- Banking and finance – Public funds are extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To deploy robust security measures on all financial services such as debit and credit cards, online banking, mobile banking, foreign currency exchange, accepting deposits, and advancing of loans, banks need professional ethical hackers. They help the banks in the implementation of advanced security measures to secure every transaction and user details.
- Healthcare – In the number of cybercrimes taking place in pharmaceutical companies, India stands at the 6th position with various healthcare machines, equipment, and devices at stake (source—: News18). Nothing is more important for an economy than providing effective healthcare services to its people and keeping their information safe. Ethical hackers help the healthcare industry in securing their research results, latest medical formulas, and other sensitive details.
- Professional consulting firms – A community of ethical hackers could work independently and can form professional consultancies to provide companies with the required knowledge about ethical hacking. Organisations which do not hire ethical hackers, choose such services to get their networks scanned and issues reported. Hackers understand every organisation’s products and keep them informed about the latest practices in the cybersecurity world to avoid malicious risks.
Who can do ethical hacking?
To perform ethical hacking, an individual must be aware of the latest technology and security concepts used in various sectors such as education, healthcare, e-commerce, automobile, and biotechnology. Ethical hackers are skilled individuals who are provided with access to a network by authorities to detect and report vulnerabilities in the system. The individual must have basic computer and networking skills, programming skills with a good understanding of Linux, cryptography, database management systems (DBMS), and social engineering. On a regular basis, ethical hackers have to build and develop their understanding of password guessing and cracking, network traffic sniffing, session spoofing and hijacking, exploiting buffer overflow vulnerabilities, denial of service attacks, SQL injection, and a lot more. Someone with all of these skills, a passion to pursue a career in cybersecurity, patience and persistence, and ability to upgrade her set of hacking skills with growing technology, can perform ethical hacking for organisations.
How to learn ethical hacking?
Ethical hacking has turned into one of the most in-demand skills lately. Learning ethical hacking can be affordably done through online trainings. Online trainings come with an array of benefits including the liberty of learning anytime from the comfort of your homes. Breakdown of the overall course into different modules accompanied by various exercises, quizzes, assessment tests, and code challenges makes the learning process stress-free, engaging, and interesting. Even a beginner with no understanding of programming can make a career in this field.
After enrolling in an online ethical hacking training, you learn the basics of information security and computer networking. You also understand the concept of information gathering and basics of web development while getting an introduction to web VAPT, OWASP, and SQL injections. You learn about advanced web application attacks and how to perform client-side attacks. You become proficient in identifying security misconfigurations and exploiting outdated web applications, automating VAPT and secure code development, and documenting and reporting vulnerabilities. The online training also features a real-world project where you utilise tools and techniques used by hackers to find weaknesses in an e-commerce website, which strengthens your practical understanding of everything that learn in the training.
Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (trainings.internshala.com) – an online training platform