Grey Matter: What is Ethical Hacking?
We have all heard about hackers, and if we are really unfortunate, we may have even been victims of criminal hacking activity. From stealing financial details of individuals through to theft of data from big businesses, hackers are experts at infiltrating computer systems for fraudulent purposes. It’s for this reason that “hacking” normally has many negative connotations.
But there is a flip side to the world of hacking that is altogether different. In fact, there is such a thing as an “ethical hacker”. The term may sound oxymoronic, but actually the advanced practices of hackers can be used for good as well as bad.
How so? Ethical hackers infiltrate computer systems in covert ways (just like their criminal counterparts), but instead of hacking in order to take individuals and corporations down, they hack computer systems in order to find weaknesses that need to be protected.
Who uses ethical hackers?
The skills of ethical hackers are extremely sought after. By leaning on the expertise of “white hat” hackers, organizations can identify the weaknesses within their systems, and ensure that they have robust security measures in place to protect their data. In our world of “big data”, where so much sensitive and valuable information is stored online, system security is more important than ever before.
For example, if a bank has security issues that can potentially lead to financial data being exploited, this could have extremely negative repercussions. Another instance may be if a government branch has security problems that could lead to sensitive security information being leaked; this could have major effects on civic safety. For this reason, organizations that need to protect their data and sensitive information often employ ethical hackers.
The route to ethical hacking
Because we are used to thinking about hacking in such a negative way, it can be difficult to think of hacking as a skill, but in fact, it takes a great deal of expertise, learning, and experience to be a great ethical hacker. As hacking requires such an advanced and niche skill set, ethical hackers can find themselves in great demand, but getting to a point of employability can be a long process.
Of course, as a first step, people who want to become ethical hackers should study for a relevant qualification in related fields, such as information security. But beyond this, it is experience and a solid reputation that makes ethical hackers experts in their field. Working as a network engineer and building a repertoire of security certifications is a great way for aspiring ethical hackers to prove their worth to prospective employers.
There are various certifications are available in market. For people who already have a few years of experience working in internet and network security, this certification is a great way to advance and hone hacking skills, greatly improving the chances of employability as an ethical hacker. The five-day course (which can be taken on-site or online) covers all of the ethical hacking fundamentals such as trojan horses, viruses, and system hacking.
As our world continues to migrate online, “big data” is only going to grow. As the potential or fraud rises, so will the need for people who can protect systems against that fraud. As a result, the future looks very bright for ethical hackers.
Camille McClane is an online journalist with a passion for developing technology for business. As a contributor to 1800-Number.com’s blog, she also enjoys covering the topics of globalization and corporate telecommunications.
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