The word âhacker originally defined a skilled programmer proficient in machine code and computer operating systems. Today, a hacker is a person who consistently engages in hacking activities, and has accepted hacking as a lifestyle and philosophy of their choice. Hacking is the practice of modifying the features of a system, to accomplish a goal outside of the creators original purpose.
The term âhackingâ has very negative connotations, but thats only until the role of an ethical hacker is fully understood. Ethical hackers are the good guys of the hacking world, the ones who wear the “white hat”. So what does the role of an ethical hacker entail? Instead of using their advanced computer knowledge for nefarious activities, ethical hackers identify weaknesses in data computer security for business and organizations across the globe, to protect them from hackers with less honest motives.
Before understanding how to become an ethical hacker, let us understand what is the ethical hacking career.
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What does an ethical hacker do?
Certified ethical hackers are tasked with various roles. Their responsibilities can vary across companies, but there are common roles for all ethical hackers, such as:
What is an ethical hacker?
The term hacking is associated with cybercrimes, but thats not an ethical hackers role. Ethical hackers are unlike hackers who use their advanced computer knowledge for nefarious activities. Instead, ethical hackers capitalize on their tech knowledge to identify weaknesses in data computer security and protect organizations and individuals from cybercriminals. Ethical hacking involves modifying features of a system to accomplish positive goals outside the creators original purpose.
How to become an ethical hacker
Patience is an essential skill for anyone planning to pursue a career as an ethical hacker. As in any other career, beginners in ethical hacking cant expect to secure a higher ranking role and earn a large salary right away. While there is potential to build an impressive career profile within a short period, ethical hacking beginners should be patient and focus on honing their skills.
1. Earn a degree in computer science
Obtaining a degree in computer science is a requirement for most careers in ethical hacking. Ethical hackers also can receive an A+ certification by taking two exams that test their knowledge of computer components and their ability to reassemble a PC. You must possess at least 500 hours of experience in computer science to take the qualification test. Ethical hackers who have taken this test can expect to earn an average of $44,000 per year. However, an ethical hacker needs to obtain a CNNA or Network+ qualification before advancing their career. It is a certification that validates an ethical hackers knowledge in networks, including troubleshooting, maintenance, installation and computer management.
2. Gain experience in network support
The next stage before qualifying as an ethical hacker is network support. At this stage, ethical hackers learn to update, install and monitor security programs and test for weaknesses. Before securing a position as a network engineer, an ethical hacker will need to gain network security experience. The Certified Ethical Hacking Course at this stage will build the network security skill required to counter hacking attempts.
3. Work as a network engineer
You can hope to earn between $60,000 and $65,000 per year after gaining experience in network security. Network engineers are knowledgeable and skilled enough to not only support a network but design and plan networks. Once you become a network engineer, your focus should be on the security aspect. Certifications necessary for a network engineer include TICSA, CISSP, and Security+.
4. Learn about information security
Learning to deal with information security is a major step to becoming an ethical hacker. The average salary for an information security expert is around $69,000 per year. Your role will include examining network security and systems, putting security measures in place and handling security breaches. An information security expert must concentrate on infiltration testing to understand how various tools are used.
5. Obtain the necessary certification
Certified ethical hackers are professionals who use the same knowledge as malicious hackers to identify vulnerabilities in target networks and systems. CEH assesses the security posture of an organizations network or system legitimately and lawfully. Certified ethical hackers are some of the most sought-after professionals by tech-savvy businesses and organizations. However, several job roles can be mapped to CEH certification, including security consultant, security auditor, site administrator, security analyst, penetration tester, network security specialist and ethical hacker. CEH certification opens high-ranking and well-paying job opportunities in the government and private IT sectors.
There are two ways to qualify for CEH certification. First, attend an official certified ethical hacker training course. You can enroll for this training at an EC-Council-approved institution or online via the iClass platform. The CEH can also be attained without attending official training. However, the following requirements, including remitting a $100 non-refundable application fee, submitting CEH Exam Application, and presenting information security experience documentation, must first be fulfilled. Your eligibility for CEH certification will be confirmed by the EC Council via email.
Essential skills for an ethical hacker
Experience with various network and system testing tools can increase your success as an ethical hacker. Tools such as OpenVAS, Netsparker and Metasploit are designed to save time when an ethical hacker searches for system vulnerabilities. Here are some essential skills for an ethical hacker.
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