want to begin a career in ethical hacking? But don’t know how? Don’t worry … a lot of people stumble across hacking-related movies and TV shows. And suddenly, they want to become a hacker, anything that resembles matrix. Finally, they search their good-old all-knowing friend Google.
“How to become a hacker?” is all they ask and their friend Google provides them with their answer. After a week or two, they’d simply throw their heads on any hacking-related stuff, and eventually, they’ll end up wasting time, simply because they just can’t get out of the question, “Where to begin?”. We at shutter apps will provide you with the answer in this article.
How to begin a career in ethical hacking?
First thing first, let me inform you straightly that hacking’s not a one day show. It’s not as if you’ll become Mr. Robot overnight by simply watching hacking related stuff. Think of it like any other hardcore competitive exam. You take your time, build up your skills, and have your knowledge at your fingertips. Only do it if you’re really interested in it.
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To be a hacker means you’ve to learn about computer and a lot of it. This consists of learning about networking, computer languages like python, java, HTML, etc, operating system fundamentals, and so on. Also, you’ve to learn about Linux, since it’s going to be your main operating system. So let’s get acquainted with each of these terms.
Career in ethical hacking- Prior knowledge
- Programming languages like java, python, HTML, SQL, etc.
- Operating System fundamentals.
- Networking, since you’ll be trying to get into systems miles away from you.
If you’ve prior knowledge about this stuff, you can begin your hacking career. You can check out for these on many free online courses like Cybrary.
Get yourself familiar with UNIX/LINUX
Every major hacking operating system is Linux-based. So to begin a career in ethical hacking It’s in your favor to get to know about Linux. For starters, we’ll recommend you to use Ubuntu. It’s a famous, Debian-based Linux distro, an ideal OS to switch from Windows.
If you’re hesitant to install Linux as your main OS and need some safer place to use it, try using virtualizing software like virtual-box or VMware. You can install Linux in this software first and use it like any other app. More essentially, learn to use its terminal, a command prompt-like tool. Below are some of the famous Linux distros out there.
You might’ve heard about this operating system previously, maybe even seen in Mr. Robot, a famous hacking TV show. It’s a Debian-based Linux distro. It comes with many tools designed for hacking purposes. It is and always has been the first choice for hacking enthusiasts and cybersecurity experts.
This operating system also comes in handy when performing hacking stuff. Also, it’s better than Kali in many ways. But, unlike Kali, it’s an arch-based Linux. Meaning, it’s way too hard to use and thus, not an ideal option for beginners. But with time, if you’re going to stick to hacking as a profession, you’re gonna love this distro.
Other distros include:
- Parrot Security OS
- Pentoo Linux
- Samurai Web Testing Framework
- DEFT Linux (Digital Evidence & Forensic Toolkit)
Learn different hacking terminology
It is not essential, but recommend to have some knowledge about hacking terminology to begin a career in ethical hacking. It’s simply to ease your business, or simply, to know what you’re trying to do. It comes in handy when you’re trying to use your hacking skills for a company project (more of that later). Below are some of the most commonly used hacking terms:
- Attack: An attack is an action to exploit a vulnerability you’ve found in a system and access files in it.
- Adware: An adware is a program designed to show specific ads in software.
- Backdoor: It is a hidden entry to a computer entry to access a system, bypassing login credentials.
- Bot: It’s a program designed to automate an action at a much higher rate.
- Botnet: Also known as a zombie army, it consists of an already exploited system you’d use later on to send spam and initiate a denial of service attack.
- Brute-force attack: A password attack, also known as a dictionary attack, in which you simply run a program that uses all the possible passwords it can find in a dictionary provided.
- Denial of Service: An attack in which you fill up an entire server by sending spontaneous HTML requests, causing the server to crash temporarily.
- Firewall: A filter designed to keep unwanted intruders away.
- Keyloggers: Software that mimics your keystroke and sends the log file to the attacker.
The terms mentioned above are just a small fraction of a larger number. You can search them on the internet since they demand a separate article based entirely on terminologies.
Types of hackers
Apart from that, one should know there are many types of careers in ethical hacking. These are as follows:
- Black-Hat hackers: These guys are bad. They use their skills for their own gains and cause huge losses to attacked systems and their owners.
- White-Hat hackers: They’re commonly called cybersecurity experts. They do not cause any harm. Instead, they apply their skills to gather as many vulnerabilities in their system they could find and inform the owner of the system about such potential risks. In today’s digital world, these fellas are in high demand and are also provided with a handsome amount of money for their work.
- Grey-Hat hackers: Professionally they are cybersecurity experts. But they also indulge in bad activities sometimes.
- Hacktivists: They expose governments all around the world and use their skills to inform the general public about the clandestine activities of their governments. Anonymous is a famous hacker group in this category.
Even though these terminologies do not have any practical purpose, you’ll be asked about them while giving a test for a certified ethical hacker (CEH). That’s why, it is important to learn them, or at least, memorize them.
Undertake free ethical hacking courses
Perhaps it won’t give make you a certified ethical hacker, it’s still recommended to take free hacking courses online to begin a career in ethical hacking. They’ll teach you a lot about hacking. Many websites will provide you free hacking courses like Cybrary. Once you attend them, you can head towards recognized hacking courses. A few of them are provided below:
- CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
- CHFI – Computer Hacking And Forensic Investigator
- OSCP – Offensive Security Certified Professional
- OSCE – Offensive Security Ceritifed Expert
- CompTIA Security+
- CISM – Certified Information Security Manager
If it allows you, go for Offensive Security courses. They may be costlier compared to other courses, but they’ll pay you handsomely in the long run.
Join hacking community
There are many hacking forums online you can join free of cost. You can join them and ask, even answer questions online. My favourite is null-byte.wonderhowto.com. Others are hackthissite.com, the ethical hacker network, Hacker Association Forum, etc.
Solo-learn by watching online videos
Almost everything is available on youtube. The same goes for hacking videos. You can search for popular youtube channels that provide free hacking videos. Hackersploit, null-byte, Metasploit are some of the free channels you can subscribe to. Udemy is also a good place where you’ll find hacking-related videos.
Try CTF challenges
Once you’ve harnessed enough hacking skills, test your skills in cracking some of the popular CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges. My personal favorite is the Mr. Robot CTF challenge, based on that show. Its difficulty level resides somewhere between easy to moderate. You can also look for other, smaller CTF challenges online.
Update yourself with latest developments in hacking world
Know what latest developments are taking place in hacking community. Learn about new vulnerabilities, softwares, and new techonologies in the market. Attent local and international hacking conferences like DefCon. By doing so, you’ll meet with new peers and employers, which is beneficial to you. Also subscribe to hacking newsletters. You can find a couple of them online.
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Ethical Hacking Earnings
Ethical hacking is a highly demanded skill now in the market. Any company will be more than happy to employ and pay you handsomely. The average payout to a Certified Ethical Hacker is $83k per annum. The salary ranges from $45k up to $130k per annum with an additional bonus averaging at $15k. In India, though it’s Rs 3.5 lac per annum. But as your experience increases, it can soar up to Rs 20 lac per annum.
How can you find job as an ethical hacker
People in this field mostly work with private sector. Although, government does provide direct hacking jobs, but the prospect is limited to Ministry of Defence or Homeland Security. Most of the time, goverment tend to have a contract with private company. Hackers are recruited by almost every company, be it computer-based or not. So, it’ll be pretty easy for you to find a lucrative job, provided you have enough skill.
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So that was all about Career in Ethical Hacking. If you’ve any future plans with this field, tell us down in the comment section. Also, feel free to ask questions regarding the topic.