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How to become an Ethical Hacker – Beginner's guide to Ethical Hacking 15 May, 2019   

Would you like to become a hacker, and an ethical one at that? An angel among jackals who perpetrate the internet for their benefit!

Whatever may your objective of ethical hacking be, you could be the most sought-after person around if you’re into it, and you are doing a great favor to everyone else! 

Why Become a Hacker (Ethical)? 

Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief of Tech Republic, says, “Data is the new oil.” Data theft and security violations are all set to become the next big reason for disaster in the world after World War II which decimated a number of economies and individuals! 

Network Security violations have become a subject of scrutiny, and political leadership all over the world have started questioning network related organizations on the kind of violations that they perpetrate, and are constantly scanning platforms to prevent security compromises and violations.

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica is a major example of a mega-organization to be in the news recently for the wrong reasons. This is despite the amount of 4 million that Facebook paid for its cybersecurity professionals in 2016.

Being an IT guy/gal, do you want to dabble your hands in Ethical Hacking? 

Before you become a white hat hacker, the very first step is to understand the opportunity you have.

There has been a tremendous increase in IT spending of industries, as data becomes vital to all businesses. This has led to more data theft which has pushed cybersecurity spending to increase annually. Cyber Security Ventures predicts that cybersecurity spending will be $ 1 trillion by 2021 and the cost of cyber-attacks, breaches, and DDoS will reach $6 trillion annually by 2021.

People call ethical hackers as ‘white hat hackers’ as they seek out to help protect the networks. Hence, most organizations hire ethical hackers and penetration testers and help probe and improve their networks and applications and other computer systems with the ultimate goal to prevent data theft and fraud incessantly. Hence a white hat hacker has plenty of opportunities waiting.

 If you are an IT person, decide the color of your hat. 

White, grey or black. Remember, the darker the color, more the fun, and deeper your pocket will be, but also more serious problems await you!

With Ethical Hacking, you can expect to earn honest and good money and not become a fugitive of law for their deeds. They become cyber bodyguards. Globally Cyber Security skills deficit is 1.5 million professionals. So, good cybersecurity knowledge will enhance your chance of landing at envious positions with respectable pay and hikes. 

Understand a Cyber Criminal?

Cyber Criminals earn a pretty lot of money by data theft and interfering with systems security. They look out for cyber backdoors to hack your data. Unfortunately, these backdoors exist and once a cyber-criminal finds it out, s/he takes very less time to hack and gain entry into your system. 

The justice system and their exposure to the law are tremendous. 
In spite of the havoc they cause, it is very difficult to book a Cyber Criminal. 
This actually makes the cyber-criminal to feel safe, unless caught red-handed and that is a very difficult thing to achieve for any government.

This requires that we have plenty of sincere white hat hacker around! Better you are, worse the criminal. Hence anyone looking to get into ethical hacking should understand their own importance, position, and role, and work harder than a criminal. Be continuous self-learners. Don’t rest with the feeling that your job is done anytime soon.

Opportunities that can boost you as a White Hat, Ethical Hacker

1. It is very clear that ethical hackers have a great demand in the job market.  
2. The IT sector is still growing despite the threats of data thefts.
3. In spite of the financial meltdown and the bubble burst that we faced recently, IT spends and Cyber Security spends is on the rise. 
4. Penetration testers and ethical bodyguards guard the systems and hence are an essential part of the IT ecosystem.
5. Criminals work on the in-between spaces to get at your data, and a white hat hacker is alert about his systems, like a sentry on border vigil.
6. To counter the menace of hacking, we look to you ‘the angel’ around. 

How to get started to be an Ethical Hacker? 

First things first, how are you with your IT skills? 
You should be an IT guy with knowledge of C, Python or Java
You should work to become a Tech Support professional 
You need to get your certification for IT professionals along with experience and certification in CCNA and Network+.
With experience and hard work, one can become a Penetration Tester
With additional certifications in place and experience, you should get the CEH certification also called Certified Ethical Hacker offered by the International Council for Electronic Commerce Consultants. This needs a lot of experience in the field.
Soft skills too are essential to become a hacker other than technical skills
You need a strong will to solve problems
Your aim should be to hack off malicious hackers and not just work for cheap thrills
You also need an altruistic motive and be willing to put in long hours of hard work as a self-learner

Also, there are a number of courses that equip you in cybersecurity. Every university in the US offers courses in cybersecurity as the demand of the day is high and constantly on the rise. Courses are at all levels and also for students of varying proficiencies.

Enrolling in such courses and getting certifications is only half the journey. You have to work on your communication skills, IT skills and find reasons to be called the best cyber professional in high demand.

Following are the tools and apps that help you become a hacker and be the best cybersecurity professional. 

Best Tools & Apps for an Ethical Hacker

One should create many lines of defense in cybersecurity as the cyber-criminal is always smarter and hard-working than you! Work on your skills and tools. Some people work on about ten cyber armors to safeguard themselves from cyber-attacks.

How to prepare yourself (your organization) from cyber-attacks–

1.     Open source software Gnu PG, software used for files and email encryption.

2.     Open source utilities for disk encryption which encrypts files when it is saved and decrypts it while opening and requires no interference from you.

3.     Application security that will combat web vulnerabilities.

4.     Use a very secure antivirus tool such as ClamAV.

5.     OSSCE is an open source tool that provides SIM and SEM solution and web monitoring.

6.     Snort is an intrusion detection and prevention system that detects and analyses network traffic.

7.     Automated cloud security solutions.

8.     White Hat Security that secures from bottom to top.

9.     Qualys, a cloud tool for securing computers and apps.

10.  Okta that focuses on the identity of users including customers, employees, and partners.

11.  Proofpoint identifies the weakest point in your system.

12.  Zscalar is a checkpoint in the cloud that monitors network entries and exits.

13.  CipherCloud protects data, communications, and documents.

14.  Centrify provides 100% protection from anywhere and everywhere.

15.  Vaultive that protects the no-mans land between the network and the internet.

16.  Cloudy skies or Clear provides email monitoring and protection

17.  Nmap, Security Onion, MetaSploit Framework, Open SSH, Wireshark, and Nikto are the six security frameworks that a white hat hacker needs to be aware of.

18.  Beyond these, one should be aware of four security assessment tools such as NStealth, SNMP superhit, SQLRECON, and Enum.

With all these tools and apps along with your knowledge and continuous monitoring, the threat to security is still real. There are organizations that get lost in the huge cost of a network breach all over the world. Getting into ethical hacking is interesting but quite difficult.

Prevention is better than cure. But how to prevent is even more difficult job in the world of hacking. Open source tools or commercial tools, security is always under threat, and ethical hackers always need to be alert.

Ethical Hacking Ethical Hacker Cyber Threats Cyber Criminal White Hat Black Hat
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