In this digital age, data is being generated and processed at a faster rate than it is being analyzed. The more information we share over the internet, the more is the risk associated with it. Companies that collect this information can’t escape the worry that looms over whenever they see a new data breach headline or the losses in millions that it causes. Let’s face it! No organization can keep a track of all the factors that can put their sensitive information at risk. What is in their hands, however, is to create a cyber security team that includes highly-skilled security professionals.
An ethical hacker is one of the most important job roles in the cyber security space. Ethical hacking, as a career, has seen a sudden upsurge as digital transformation is on the rise and companies are eager to avoid any possible cyberattack. Ethical hacking training from reliable eLearning providers is helping professionals across the world get started in this challenging job. If you are confused about whether ethical hacking is the right career option for you, then this article is for you. Read on to know ethical hacking is all about, what responsibilities you’ll handle, and the career and salary prospects in this domain.
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Ethical Hacking Explained
Ethical hacking is a term that refers to the practice of testing the reliability of an organization’s networks, systems, edge devices, and servers against any possible intrusion and finding vulnerabilities in their digital structure. It ensures that an organization is protected from the stealing of sensitive data, manipulation of systems, and any harm caused by malicious hackers. It is much like stepping into the shoes of malicious hackers – finding out how a system can be exploited in different ways and any loopholes that can give them unauthorized access, not with the intent of harming the company but rather provide secure solutions for such threats.
There are basically five phases of ethical hacking:
- Reconnaissance – the scope and goals of a test is defined in this phase
- Scanning – intrusion attempts are made and how the target reacts to them is observed
- Gaining Access – vulnerabilities are found by attacking the target using backdoors, SQL injections, etc.
- Maintaining Access – the vulnerability is used for a longer period of time to quickly get access to the server
- Covering Tracks – it involves clearing of cache and cookies, tampering of log files, the closing of all open ports to go unnoticed from security checks
Now, conducting out all of these phases is the responsibility of an ethical hacker. They use different tools and techniques to identify the vulnerabilities, what information would a hacker seek, how can a hacker use that information, and how to find the best solution for the vulnerability. Today, you will see hackers working not only in the IT sector, but also in eCommerce, healthcare, financial services, energy, and even government agencies. When working for an organization, ethical hackers must know how to carry out the following kinds of hacking:
- Web application hacking
- System hacking
- Web Server hacking
- Hacking Wireless Networks
- Social Engineering
Ethical Hacking as a Career
Let us cover this section looking at the two aspects – demand and salary. This is because when a professional is willing to move into a new career, these two are the major questions they ask – Is the said field in demand? and Does the field offer better salary prospects in the future?
Beginning with demand, it goes without saying that businesses would continue to adopt digital transformation and gather more data. They require ethical hacking in their business niche to ensure the delivery of subsequent results. So, the demand for ethical hackers is only going to soar in the near future.
CNBC, in one of its articles, pointed out the highlights of the survey of ISC2, the largest association of certified cybersecurity professionals, that there were 2.8 million professionals working in the cybersecurity space globally. Further, there is a skills gap of around 4 million trained workers so as to defend organizations effectively. So, you can understand how the global demand related to cyber security professionals is, including ethical hackers.
Now coming to the salary prospects, the same survey by ISC2 mentioned the average annual salary of cyber security professionals as USD 90,000 in the US. If we talk particularly about ethical hackers, their median salary is USD 99,567 per year in the US, according to Salary.com. Additionally, if you take up cyber security certifications like the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification, you can further enhance your salary prospects.
Enter the Ethical Hacking Landscape Today
Summing up, ethical hacking can prove to be a great opportunity for your career. Data breaches are increasing with every passing day and so is their severity. The world is wide open for professionals who can contribute to preventing cyberattacks successfully and ensuring to follow the best security practices. Getting the CEH certification is the best credential to take your career forward in this domain. You can take up an ethical hacking online course to prepare for this certification. You won’t regret starting a career in this domain.