How to Become an Ethical Hacker

Are you interested in the profession of an ethical hacker? Curious and dynamic, do you have a taste for a challenge? Are you passionate about IT security and do you have a perfect knowledge of the legal standards that govern this area? Discover the skills, missions, salary and opportunities of this profession.

Tasks

The massive introduction of information and communication technologies raises increasingly persistent security concerns at the organizational level. Even if computer systems today are very powerful, they are vulnerable.

Hackers or malicious hackers have clever techniques to break into systems and steal sensitive data. From this bitter observation, companies and institutions have understood the need to develop counter-offensives to protect their computer data system against the nuisance of hackers. And this is what will generate the concept of an ethical hacker.

Far from the distorted image of the criminal hacker, the ethical hacker is a computer security specialist committed to the protection of organizations’ data. His mission: to assess the security of a data system or computer equipment. To do this, the ethical hacker simulates exactly the intrusions of a malicious hacker in order to gauge the reliability of a system, its vulnerability and any exploitable flaws.

A highly skilled computer technology professional, the benevolent hacker accomplishes many missions within the framework of his operations. In addition to evaluating the security of computer systems, he must find effective solutions to prevent and fight against attacks.

Identify system misconfigurations

To counter large attacks from malicious hackers, industry standards and compliance protocols have been enacted. Companies and institutions are required to respect them scrupulously so as not to expose themselves to intrusions.

That said, the very first mission of an ethical hacker, when hired by an organization, is to identify the weak points of the information system on the scale of this charter.

They will concretely check the absence of end-to-end encryption, the misconfiguration of web applications, unsecured terminals, the maintenance of default identifiers or the use of weak access codes. These limitations in setting up a data system are considered one of the most common and dangerous flaws.

Perform vulnerability scans

This approach allows organizations to check their networks for compliance with security systems. The ethical hacker installs vulnerability analysis tools that precisely locate flaws that could be dangerous for the system in the event of an indirect attack. But long before that, it maps all of the company’s networks and ranks them in order of importance. Vulnerability scans are performed in two different ways.

First, the benevolent hacker performs the internal scan. This allows him to assess all the flaws in the computer system that a hacker could exploit. And this is in case he manages to access local data through an administrator, an employee or a collaborator.

Second, they perform the external scan. Thanks to the latter, he will be able to analyze the breaches exposing the network to applications and servers directly accessible from the web.

Prevent exposure to sensitive data

The exposure of certain information such as bank details, customer details and passwords can lead to terrible attacks and other consequences such as financial penalties for the company. The ethical hacker carries out intrusion tests in order to identify the circuits that can lead to this data and documents the operating mode of potential attacks.

To prevent data exposure, they use several techniques such as SSL/TLS certificates, updating encryption algorithms, disabling caches, and encrypting data during and after a transfer.

In addition, the ethical hacker must ensure a continuous technological watch and adapt his defense techniques to the evolution of the operating methods of hackers.how to become an ethical hacker

Qualities and Skills an Ethical Hacker Should Have

An expert in computer security in every detail, the ethical hacker is the guarantor of the data protection of the company or institution that employs him. Assuming such a responsibility requires certain skills and essential human qualities. Here are a few :

  • Passion for IT. Data processing, computer file management, computer programming, and interconnection of terminals… are areas that naturally fascinate any ethical hacker. His expertise in hacking systems and his perfect knowledge of computer hardware are undeniable.
  • Good knowledge of the legal frameworks of his activity. Compromising computer systems to judge their reliability and informing the vulnerable party in good faith sums up the actions of the ethical hacker. These are subject to rules of confidentiality that he must master and apply.
  • Discretion. The ethical hacker acts in good faith and in the name of professional secrecy. It does not disclose information about vulnerabilities in a data system.
  • The taste for challenge. There is always a challenge between informal hackers and the ethical hacker that the latter must absolutely take up.

Curiosity, dynamism, a taste for teamwork and creativity are also essential assets for the ethical hacker.

Ethical Hacker Training

There is no diploma that specifically trains the profession of an ethical hacker. Candidates for this profession can nevertheless aim for one or other of these diplomas which provide training in computer security techniques and practices.

Ethical Hacker Salary

The remuneration varies according to his experience and the structure that employs him. On average, he earns around $4,000 gross per month at the start of his career. With time and experience, the ethical hacker can earn up to $8,000 gross per month.

Opportunities

The profile of a confirmed ethical hacker is highly sought after by large companies and government institutions. Thus, banks, insurance companies, industries, IT equipment distribution companies, and ministries… are the main employers. The profession is flourishing and the job prospects are very reassuring.

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