Who is an Ethical Hacker?
People usually think that being a hacker is a criminal offense but in reality, they are two types of hackers one that plays for the bad side known as black hat hacker and the other plays for the good side known as the white hat hacker or an ethical hacker.
Ethical hacker will defend you against the hacking attempts of black hat hackers. These hackers will stop cybercrimes and defend you and your company from potential network vulnerability threats. They use similar tools for hacking that are also used by the black hat hackers but for the good. As they say to beat a hacker, you have to think like one.
Hacking can be legal if you’re doing it with permission and for the betterment. Companies hire ethical hackers to look for vulnerabilities and to keep them protected from black hat hackers who might want to hack companies for personal gain, steal private data of customers or even to launch a cyber-attack.
Requirements and Skills to Become an Ethical Hacker
You should be having a background in IT fields like bachelors in computer sciences or related to cybersecurity or coding. Good knowledge of operating systems, networking and databases will be required. Even if your background is not from computer sciences, you can still become a Hacker but for that you need to have exceptional knowledge about these things. First you become a Master in Programming or Networking, then you find a way to hack it.
Many start off as tech support engineers and climb their way up the ladder by completing certifications like CCNA and CISSP. Then some aim for the best CEH and LPT certifications after which they are ready to go in the market as an ethical hacker. Therefore, a lot of certifications are important and will only polish your skills as an ethical hacker.
Companies who hire ethical hackers have some expectations from the employees and all ethical hackers should be skilled in:
- Networking, bypassing encryption and finding vulnerabilities
- Using of software’s like Nmap and Nessus to scan for vulnerable ports
- IDS (Instruction Detection system) & IPS (Instruction Prevention system)
- Sniffing networks
Jobs and Scope in Ethical Hacking
After doing CEH v10 certification, options open up for you as an ethical hacker and you can apply for various fields depending on your expertise. But again, just doing CEH doesn’t make you a hacker. It just gives you a mindset of a hacker and make you familiar with latest hacking techniques or technologies. If you want to become a hacker, you need to be expert in Programming.
Information Security Analyst:
For companies where you look after the computer networks of the company and protect them from potential security breaches and cyber-attacks. Almost all big companies require information security analysts and vacancies are available if you search on the web.
Network Security Consultant:
You can work as a security consultant where firms can hire you and you can oversee their security operations and look for vulnerabilities and suggest them how they can fix these problems and how they can take measures against cyber attacks. You should have in-depth knowledge of Certifications like CCIE Security, if you want to become a Network Security Expert or consultant. CCIE Security professionals start their careers with salary package of around 6-8 lacs per annum in India. CCIE Security engineers earn over 300,000 USD per annum in countries like USA, UK etc. CCIE Security engineers are known as World’s Highest paid IT Professionals.
Information Security Manager:
As an information security manager you can manage information systems cyber security which will include software development, database protection and disaster recovery. So, if you have interest in these fields this might be a good option for you. Do you know Scope of Information Security and Network Security is 5x more than average programmer? Ethical Hackers, Cyber Security professionals and Network Security experts earns a fortune in India, USA, UK etc. Scope and Salary packages of Ethical Hackers in India, USA, UK, Canada, Australia are incomparable.
Companies hire you to hack into their systems and check for vulnerabilities so that they can be patched and be safe from other black hat hackers. This is an unusual job but still in demand and many giant companies are often hiring penetration testers so that they are not left vulnerable.
Other than that, you can work for the government sector too, maybe for the state-owned internet provider company, national security agency or even with your country’s intelligence team.
Average Salary of a Hacker
Certified hackers earn an estimate of $85,000-95,000 annually according to indeed.com. According to the founder of NoWiresSecurity, Eric Geier, certified hackers start from $50,000 and go up to 100,000 years depending on their past experience and education. A hacker with decent certification and a couple of years of experience can earn up to $120,000 or more per year.
Average salary by Position
By 2021, the cyber security market is expected to grow to $170 billion. This means the demand is high and salaries start from $94,000 for someone who has less or no experience and the salaries rise to $125,000 for someone who has 5-9 years of experience and $140,8260.30 for someone who has at least 15 years of experience.
As we have mentioned above companies hire you to hack into their systems and run tests on their software’s to check for vulnerabilities so that they can be patched. Starting salary for a penetration tester is around from $55,000 to $85,000 per year, again depending on past experience and skills. The overall salary goes up to $142,000 according to PayScale.
Ethical hackers recruited by defense agencies like the Department of Defense, National security agency and Homeland security also offer very good pays starting from $75,000 to $175,000.