The term ‘hacker’ is always associated with individuals who attack and steal information from computers and networks with some malicious intent. However, in the world of technology, there exists the skill of ethical hacking.
Historically, people used words like ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ to distinguish between criminals and cybersecurity specialists who defend the systems against these criminals, respectively. But in today’s world, these words are not descriptive enough of the various job roles available under this umbrella.
Ethical Hacking is the process of penetrating into the system to find out vulnerabilities, threats, etc. In general ethical hacking is mainly performed to improve the security of the network. Normally ethical hackers utilize the same methods as malicious hackers but ethical hackers do everything with an authorized person’s permission. However, Ethical Hacking is performed to improve the security of the systems from attacks done by malicious users. Ethical hackers utilize their skills and some advanced methods to test organizations’ IT security. An ethical hacker’s also known as black hat hackers and they find security exposures and other issues in insecure system configurations to ensure the overall security of the system.
This article explores the basic steps you will have to cover on your journey to becoming a certified ethical hacker.
Who Is An Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker is a highly coveted individual who can enhance network and system security by anticipating threats and fixing any loopholes. Their expertise in cybersecurity and skills with testing security controls and perimeter penetration makes them indispensable to both small and big businesses.
Ethical hackers have legal permission from the organisation that hires them to hack into their network to identify software vulnerabilities and increase the system’s robustness. They minimize the chances of anyone gaining unauthorized access to the company’s systems or servers.
Steps To Become An Ethical Hacker
1. Get Certified Under CEH
The domain of ethical hacking is very vast, and trying to navigate it on your own may prove to be complicated. That is why it is advisable to get certified, as a fixed curriculum would help you learn the necessary skills without getting overwhelmed by the amount of available information.
The certification would also serve as a validation of your skills and knowledge. The CEH certification trains professionals in the latest hacking tools and methodologies. You can study for the certification exam on your own or enroll in a training programme. Many online courses and websites will help you become an expert in the field.
2. Upgrade Your Skills According To The Prerequisites
If you’re wondering what qualification is needed for a certified ethical hacker, then you need to focus on the following prerequisites:
- Understanding of the processes involved in networking and the working of the network layer.
- Deep understanding of existing and upcoming technologies involved in operating systems and firewalls
- Knowledge of database operations and their implementations
3. Apply For Suitable Job Roles
Ethical hackers can work as freelance consultants under an organization that provides cybersecurity services. They can even be hired as an in-house employee entrusted with an organisation’s network and system security.
This job requires the professional to understand the current attack methods and the tools associated with them. In addition to multiple penetration tests, ethical hackers are also responsible for creating reports that identify the security flaws and provide instructions and suggestions that will boost the security of the systems.
These professionals are given written permission that details the systems, networks, applications, or websites included in the simulated attacks. They then use the information regarding the organisation’s network to attempt and break into their systems. They also try to analyze the extent of data they can acquire in these simulated attacks.
Ethical hacking skills are crucial for black, white and grey-box engagements and form the requirements for several other roles in cybersecurity.
Roles like network security analysts and network engineers, application security developers, and security researchers, otherwise known as bug hunters, require a clear understanding of the network layer and both offensive and defensive skills involved in ethical hacking.
4. Run on OS which is similar to UNIX, like Linux
- UNIX as well as UNIX-like OS are the operating systems of the Internet. Though a person can learn how to use Internet without knowing UNIX, but he cannot be a successful hacker without understanding UNIX. Because of this must learn criteria, the hacker communities today revolve around UNIX. There are various OS, which are similar to UNIX, the most popular being Linux, which a person can run alongside Microsoft Windows on the same machine. Learn how to hack for beginners in this part.
- The best way to start the installation of UNIX in the system is to boot up a device called a live CD or USB, which is a distribution that runs entirely off a CD or USB without the need of modifying the hard disk. Apart from Linux, there are few other OS similar to UNIX, such as the BSD systems. The BSD systems that are the most popular ones are FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFly BSD. Just like Linux, all the above mentioned BSDs are open source.
- A UNIX operating system that is available under FreeBSD is MacOS on Darwin. Darwin is available on “ http://opensource.apple.com” and is completely free & open source. UNIX being the core of the system and because of the growing popularity of MacOS, many people who had Linux applications have now ported to MacOS. Those programs are available with a package manager like Homebrew, Fink, or MacPorts. Or else, a person can just run Linux on a Mac alongside MacOS.
- A person is also free to run operating systems like Open Indiana, which is based on the open source release of the Solaris operating system before it was taken over by Oracle and had it converted into closed source. Linux applications does not find compatibility with Open Indiana and Solaris that are made on UNIX System V. It is suggested that MacOS, BSD or Linux must only be used, as they are more popular and have more programs available for them.
5. Promote Valuable Information
Another characteristic of a good hacker is that he must be able to collect and filter useful and interesting information into web pages or documents, such as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) lists, and make those available to all. Those who maintain technical FAQs are respected at the same level as the open-source authors.
The DSCI (Data Security Council of India) has claimed that the global cybersecurity services market would see growth up to $116 billion by 2025. With the rise of organisations that are turning to online or cloud services, there has been a drastic increase in the number of malicious attacks.
Even government organisations and NGOs require cybersecurity experts trained to secure their systems and help maintain the confidentiality of their information.
Koenig Solutions is a prominent IT training centre providing international-level ethical hacking courses (recognised by EC Council). You can enroll here and access the best study material, resources and lectures in the world to hone up your skills and expand the horizons of your knowledge.