Online frauds and malicious online activities are usual these days and affecting our lives in some manner. Hackers are adopting creative new techniques to infiltrate our network and to the data and information saved on our systems. So, it’s required sometimes to think like a criminal to handle the other one. The best defensive approach when you want to prevent hacking is hiring an ethical hacker to protect your data and network. Against common perceptions, hacking is not about engagement in malicious activities all the time. Ethical hacking or ‘White-hat Hacking” is also a version of hacking skills used proactively to prevent the loss and ensure the security of entities. White-hat hackers are allowed to, or we can say, are specially hired to, infiltrate an organization’s security to find vulnerabilities in the system and network security mechanism. They do this for identifying and reporting bugs, vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the security system of the organization so that these can be fixed by the concerned IT professionals to ensure IT security of the organization. In other words, white-hat professionals assist organizations in assessing and strengthening their network security against the bad actors. Let’s find out what is needed to become a certified white-hat hacker.
What Is Needed To Become A Certified White-Hat Hacker?
While the demand for white-hat hackers is increasing rapidly, the more opportunities are emerging for the aspirants seeking a career in this exciting profession. These opportunities require some fundamental qualifications and skills, which one has to obtain if they want to pursue this profession.
For beginners, it is necessary to have some education in the related field. It is highly considerable and useful if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant area or stream of IT education, including Computer Programming, Computer Science, Information Security, or Information Technology. Notably, every company or organization doesn’t require similar educational qualifications. Instead, some businesses better prefer to consider and accept real hands-on-experience for a year or two, and it’s in an appropriately related field, in place of degree or certificate. You cannot be sure that spending three years in a mailroom and obtaining a degree will be your ticket to the profession. There is the possibility that spending a few years in an IT-related job may give you the required access to building a career in the field of ethical hacking. The next thing you need is a specialized White-hat Hacker training and White-hat Hacker Certification. Certification as a white-hat hacker is crucial because it affirms and tells a prospective employer about your proficiency in the necessary skills and methods required to perform your role and responsibilities as a professional.
It would help if you also learned, in addition to White-hat Certification or Ethical Hacking Certification, several additional security certifications because it is better to know more to be competent in the fast-paced, highly competitive Cyber Security arena. Such Certifications include- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT) Master, etc. Finally, you should gain some on-the-job experience because there is no alternative and better way to learn other than experience. All these essentials prepare you to strike out on your own as a skilled white-hat hacker.
Some Personality Traits needed for a White-hat Hacker
Undoubtedly education has its importance, but a professional in any field must have the same personal qualities that build the attitude that leads to success in the area. Some personality traits would suit to a career as a white-hat hacker. These are:
- Understanding of fundamental concepts of operating systems;
- Being Intelligent and quick learner;
- Logical and rational thinking and ability to show common logic;
- Being well-organized;
- Exceptional and instant problem-solving skills;
- Excellent communication skills;
- Envisioning or thinking like a black hat hacker to prevent the penetration by them in an IT system.
- Strong and disciplined work-ethics;
- Dedication to work and learning;
- Ability to keep calm under pressure or tight situation; and
- Being persuasive or the ability to convince others to give you access to sensitive information.
Along with all these traits, you also need to learn how to code. It would help if you learned coding on several coding platforms like HTML, Java, Swift etc., and the learning to code should be vast from coding for computers to coding for mobile devices.
Roles and Responsibilities of a White-Hat Hacker
Being a White-hat professional, you are expected to use all your technical knowledge, expertise and security experience to breach the security system of the organization you are working for. You have to analyze what you explore and provide recommendations on how to strengthen the network security of the organization. There are general misconceptions that an ethical or white-hat hacker is only responsible for penetration testing of network or security systems and applications in an organization, which is not valid. A white-hat hacker is expected to do much more and play a crucial role and perform several responsibilities in an organization:
- Scanning variously closed and open ports using reconnaissance tools;
- To scan target networks using commercial, open-source, or custom vulnerability checking devices;
- Involvement in social engineering techniques;
- Performing vigorous vulnerability analysis on and examination of patch releases;
- A white-hat hacker ensures the defence of intrusion detection systems (IDS), intrusion prevention systems (IPS), honeypots and firewalls; and
- He is responsible for deploying other strategies like sniffing networks, cracking wireless encryption and hijacking web servers and applications.
A certified white-hat hacker works to replicate the actions of a black hat hacker by examining the security protocols and social-engineering aspects of an organization. His responsibility is to ensure that the organization’s response to such threats must be instant and intense.
White-hat hacking is a responsible job and not a joy ride through networks of other organization or people. An ethical hacker has to ensure the security of IT network of the organization while on work as well as at the odd timings because most of the black hat hacking activities happen at odd hours as at that time the target is usually least monitored and most vulnerable. Ethical hacking is not strictly limited to penetration testing only, and many ethical hackers perform writing or examining computer coder to exploit flaws in the defence mechanism of the organization.