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How to become an ethical hacker? Salary and Opportunities

This article talks about what is ethical hacking, how one can become a ethical hacker, certifications, salary and job opportunities. It also gives advantages of ethical hacking and distinguishes between ethical and malicious hacker.

Last week, I briefly discussed what hacking is, how to know if your device is hacked, precautionary measures and the different types of hackers. One type of hacking is white hat hacking, also known as ethical or moral or legal hacking. Ethical hacking involves an authorized attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer system, application or data and conducting an ethical hack involves duplicating the tactics and actions of malicious attackers. Ethical hacking helps identify security vulnerabilities and addressing them before malicious hackers have an opportunity to exploit them and thereby preventing any potential losses to the company.

With the huge increase in cybercrimes in India and the legal norms one has to adhere to, there is a huge need for ethical hackers both for permanent and consulting or part-time positions in various government organizations and private companies to check the security vulnerabilities of their new device or software before releasing it to the public. A casual open or available ethical hacker job search done on naukri.com showed 4921 vacancies. According to the website glassdoor.com, the average salary of an ethical hacker ranges from 25,000 to 1,50,000 rupees per month.

Anyone with the right guidance, dedication and specific training can become an ethical hacker, but a degree or diploma in computer or network engineering always helps. Some of the key skills required for an ethical hacker include: Knowledge of computer hardware and networking concepts, various operating systems, programming, scripting, cryptography, database, reverse engineering and problem solving skills. There are plenty of free and paid courses available online and offline (in schools/colleges) that can be used to learn the basics of ethical hacking and gain practical expertise.Some of the major ethical hacker requirements and certifications include: EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), CompTIA PenTest+, CISCO CCNA and SANS GIAC.

Typically an Ethical Hacker is responsible for penetration (pen) testing (simulating ways of malicious hackers to gain unauthorized access to company systems), vulnerability assessments, malware analysis and defining, developing, implementing and implementing a risk management policy as part of his job profile. Penetration tester, vulnerability assessor, information security analyst, security analyst, certified ethical hacker (CEH), ethical hacker, security consultant, security engineer/architect, and information security manager are some of the common job titles in the field of ethical hacking.

Advantages of Ethical Hacking :-

  • The primary benefit of ethical hacking is to prevent data from being stolen and misused by malicious attackers.
  • Finding vulnerabilities from an attacker’s perspective and fixing those vulnerabilities.
  • Implementing a secure network that prevents security breaches.
  • Protecting national security by protecting data and networks from terrorists.
  • Gaining the confidence of customers and investors.

How are ethical hackers different from malicious hackers?

  • Ethical hackers use their knowledge to secure and improve organizations’ technology, while malicious hackers use their knowledge to commit cybercrimes.
  • An ethical hacker reports the identified vulnerabilities to the organization, whereas a malicious hacker exploits the vulnerability for personal or financial gain.
  • An ethical hacker work is legally as he is authorized for it and is paid a salary or remuneration, whereas hacking by a malicious hacker is illegal and a crime, he earns money by exploiting vulnerabilities.

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