The digital age is littered with malicious data breaches. How exactly are people working towards preventing future attacks? The answer is ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking is a popular career choice for many people that are either thinking about a cybersecurity job for the first time, looking for a career change, or are already in a professional IT setting. Consequently, businesses are employing more and more ethical hackers and there is a rising trend for people that want professional, ethical hacking training.
If you want to start or build your career in ethical hacking, here is everything that you need to know that will help you along this path.
Ethical hacking is the practice of locating vulnerabilities and weaknesses in information systems and computers by duplicating the actions and intent of malicious hackers who seek to bypass security and search for gaps in systems that can be exploited.
The drive behind ethical hacking is to improve security systems and to eliminate or mitigate potential attacks. Some of the critical rules that must be obeyed for hacking to be deemed as ethical include:
The demand for ethical hacking is higher than ever before and is predicted to keep rising for the foreseeable future due to the following reasons:
The number of attacks and the complexity of cyber-attacks is on the rise. In 2016, businesses fell victim to ransomware attacks every 40 seconds. In 2019, this number reduced to 14 seconds. By 2021, the attacks will increase in a shorter time-span of 11 seconds according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The loss and damage caused by ransomware in 2017 were at $5 billion which was a 15X increase from 2015. In 2019, it is now at $11.5 billion, and it is predicted to increase to $20 billion by 2021.
These numbers demonstrate the dire need companies face to protect themselves from hacking and cyber-attacks. The need can be fulfilled by having access to ethical hacking talents to counter attacks, mitigate attacks, and prevent any damage from ever taking place.
As companies increasingly adopt cloud computing due to its numerous benefits, so does the potential for security threats also increase. The technology is growing with a rapid pace of innovation to the extent that current security experts cannot keep pace with the innovation. As a result, security patching is inconsistent at best, and at worst, never done at all. The massive and consistent change means that the number of ways to exploit cloud computing services is growing. Ethical hacking, so far, is the best response to these threats since it allows experts with the same mindset as malicious hackers to protect organizations and individuals.
Even with the best security compliance, companies still face consistent attacks. In fact, according to Accenture, companies should not rely on compliance alone and should additionally enhance their security profile by undertaking extreme pressure testing to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their systems. The best bet for organizations today is to rely on both security compliance measures as well as a strong cybersecurity foundation built on a team of ethical hackers to reduce the impact of cybercrime. Additionally, investing in breakthrough innovations, including artificial intelligence and analytics, to enhance the scale and the effectiveness of cybersecurity, is crucial.'
|Related: Expand your knowledge, and your vocabulary, with our list of 70+ must-know cyber security terms and their definitions!|
Some of the different roles and responsibilities of an ethical hacker according to the various ethical hacking personas are as follows:
To maintain, support, and administer the security of networks, data, and systems.Proficiencies
To identify, analyze, and mitigate threats to data, networks and internal systems.Proficiencies
Investigates cybersecurity events or crimes related to systems, networks, and digital evidenceProficiencies
To perform specialized analysis of security information, cryptographic, and threat intelligence, and to improve security postureProficiencies
To advise on the concept, design, and building of secure networks and systemsProficiencies
To provide cybersecurity direction, advocacy, and management.Proficiencies
There isn’t a single path to becoming an ethical hacker. Several factors including personal preferences, current skill set, character traits, current job, and rank, etc. all factor in a person’s own path towards becoming an ethical hacker.
However, it is recommended that certain skills be at the forefront of anyone’s training towards becoming an ethical hacker or cybersecurity expert. These skills include:
If you are in a specific industry that requires ethical hacking skills, some domain knowledge of the industry will also be quite useful. Some of the industries that commonly hire ethical hackers include:
These industries constantly have to deal with sensitive information and consequently have to protect themselves by hiring ethical hackers to fend off any security threats.
Considering all of the above, a recommended path towards becoming an ethical hacker is as follows:
The average salary of penetration ethical hackers varies across countries, cities, companies, roles, and years of experience. Those with credentials such as the CEH Certification or Certified Ethical Hacker qualification will tend to get better salaries than those without any certification. Furthermore, trends show that the wages are set to increase in the foreseeable future as more and more companies seek to employ or hire the services of an ethical hacker.
With that said, here is a sample of the salaries that you can expect in the United States of America.
Average CEH salary: $90KBy employer
Becoming an ethical hacker is an excellent career path for anyone that is thinking about a long-term career in cybersecurity and the IT industry. There is a lot of demand for ethical hackers and cybersecurity experts which means that employers are ready to pay handsomely any individual with the right skills and certifications. If you are thinking of such a career path, go ahead boldly because there is nothing for you to lose.
Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Check out these cybersecurity trends of 2019!
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