More businesses are relying on ethical hackers to improve their network security vulnerabilities. According to PCWorld.com, ethical hackers (otherwise known as white hat hackers) use legitimate ways to legally infiltrate systems. They can then use this knowledge to determine security weak spots, thereby preventing future security breaches or data theft. There is a huge demand for ethical hacking, as it’s a highly specialized skill, and it pays well too. Although illicitly hacking into the Pentagon’s website is far more adrenaline-fueled, ethical hacking is at least above board, and you won’t end up on a terror suspect list. If you are curious about this line of work, here are the three most commonly asked questions:
Why do companies need ethical hackers?
It’s all about security. According to recent research conducted by Gartner, it’s predicted that by 2015 IT security spending will increase by 40% worldwide (PCWorld.com). Companies need to know where their security weak spots are, as they often store highly sensitive data. Many small to medium-sized companies have been incredibly lax about their security, but they’re quickly waking up to the fact that they’re haemorrhaging data! (Inc.com). It’s no secret that hackers like to infiltrate smaller businesses, as they usually have links to much bigger fish (Inc.com).
What skills will I learn?
Apart from hard skills like how to make Trojans and hijack a system, you’ll also acquire some interesting soft skills, in particular those of manipulation. According to PCWorld.com, this kind of manipulation comes standard in the world of ethical hacking, and it’s termed social engineering. It’s a fine art, but with some practice you’ll learn how to get your clients’ employees to divulge personal details (Inc.com). This is to test how they handle certain situations, such as clicking on dodgy links (which have been planted by you). This social engineering is needed to pin-point vulnerabilities – of the human kind.
Why should I legally hack when I can go black hat?
If you want to go the illegal route, then prepare for some jail time. Of course it’s much more exciting than fake phising, but any infiltration without permission is asking for trouble. According to PCWorld.com, if you want to work for the government, they do rigorous background checks (including polygraph testing). Many smaller companies are also using background checks on their ethical hackers, as there is a lot at stake. Don’t do it, you’ll put your career at risk.
If Ethical Hacking sounds right for you, why not consider EHC certification? You can even do it online as a part-time course. Ethical hacking can be extremely rewarding – financially and otherwise. Do the right thing, and become a good hacker!Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes various higher education study opportunities, including financial management and IT courses in Australia.