What is Ethical Hacking?
The term ‘hacking’ has very negative connotations, but that's 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.
Role of an Ethical Hacker
Ethical hacking is a subset of cybersecurity that entails legally getting beyond a system's security measures in order to uncover potential dangers and data breaches on the network. Ethical hackers can work as independent contractors, as in-house security guards for a company's website or apps, or as simulated offensive cybersecurity specialists for a company. All of these career choices need an understanding of current attack techniques and tools, although the in-house ethical hacker may only need to be well-versed in a specific class of software or digital asset.
What Is the Attraction of an Ethical Hacking Career?
If you’re a professional who appreciates the joys of the world of computers and relishes a challenge, then a career in ethical hacking can be an enticing prospect. You get the opportunity to use your skills to break into computer systems, and you get paid good money for doing so. Like many careers, it is not easy to get started in the field, but if you put in the effort, initially, you will be able to shape a very lucrative career for yourself. Besides, ethical hackers are always on the right side of the law!
Let us learn how to become an ethical hacker after looking into the stages in the career of an ethical hacker.
10 Steps to Become an Ethical Hacker
Step 1: Get Hands-on LINUX/UNIX
The open-source operating system— LINUX/UNIX, ensures better security for computer systems. As an ethical hacker, you should be well-versed with LINUX as it is one of the widely used operating systems for hacking. It provides ample tools for hackers. Some common Linux distributions include Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, BackTrack, and more. Among these, Kali Linux is the most popular Linux system specially customized for the purpose of hacking.
Step 2: Opt for the Mother of all Programming Languages
One of the most primitive programming languages, C is also referred to as the mother of all programming languages. This programming language forms the base of learning UNIX/LINUX because this operating system is written completely in C. So, hackers must master C programming as it gives them the power to utilize the open-source operating system Linux the way they desire.
Try to learn more than one programming language to get the upper hand. An ethical hacker with sound knowledge of two to three programming languages can dissect and analyze a piece of code. Some of the best programming languages for hackers are:
Python: Extensively used for exploit writing
PHP: Helps fight against malicious attackers
SQL: Best for hacking large databases
Step 3: Learn the Art of Being Anonymous
The most important step for ethical hacking is to learn how to be anonymous and hide your identity online so that there is no trace left and none can backtrace you. Often an ethical hacker might not know who else is in the same network, and if a Black hat hacker figures out that there is someone else in the network, they might try to hack their system. Thus, anonymity is vital for ethical hackers as well. Using Anonsurf, Proxychains, and MacChanger are the three most promising ways to safeguard your identity.
Step 4: Get Well-versed in Networking Concepts
Knowing networking concepts and how they are created is vital for ethical hackers. Getting well-versed in various networks and protocols is beneficial in exploiting vulnerabilities. An ethical hacker with in-depth knowledge of networking tools such as Nmap, Wireshark, and others can survive the challenges in the field. Some important networking concepts are:
Network Masks and CIDR
Simple Network Management Protocol
Server Message Block
Domain Name Service (DNS)
Address Resolution Protocol
SCADA Networks (Modbus)
Automobile Networks (CAN)
Step 5: Traverse the Hidden Web
The part of the internet that remains hidden or is not visible to search engines is called the dark web. It requires special authorization or software for access. An anonymizing browser called Tor can provide access to the dark web. It is the hotbed of criminal activity, but not everything is illegal on the dark web. It also has a legitimate side, and ethical hackers must learn about the dark web and how it works.