Ethical Hacking - A boon to career growth

The topic of cyber security is rapidly developing, making it an exciting time to be a computer scientist. The Internet of Things (IoT) and smartphones have become information supercomputers in the digital world. The Cisco research predicts that by 2030, there will be 500 billion internet-connected devices. Furthermore, Cisco's Annual Visual Networking Index report forecasts that global IP traffic will climb from 122 exabytes per month in 2017 to 396 exabytes per month in 2022, representing an increase of more than 300 percent.

More and more devices are getting online, making them susceptible to attacks from anywhere in the world. It is the responsibility of every company and organization to safeguard its resources and information against cyber criminals. This increased demand opens up numerous doors for computer experts seeking employment in the dynamic field of cybersecurity. By testing for these vulnerabilities, ethical hacking provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen the security of the network and systems.

Definition of Ethical Hacking

What we call "ethical hacking" is assessing the security of a system's networks against potential intrusions, thefts, or attacks that could cause monetary or other types of damage. An estimated half a million British Airways customers were compromised by a data breach in 2018, costing the company £183.39 million ($230 million). The harm goes beyond monetary loss, as the companies' reputations and images are also harmed.

Ethical hackers use the same techniques as their criminal counterparts when breaking into systems. The critical distinction is that an ethical hacker has been granted authorization by the proper authorities to attempt a breach to strengthen the system's defenses against actual attacks. According to research from Juniper, cybercrime will cost organizations over $2 trillion in 2019. Moreover, extremist organizations provide funding for cybercriminals who insert malware or spyware to compromise a nation's security or extort enormous amounts of data.

Ethical hacking can be broken down into five phases −

1. Reconnaissance

An ethical hacker will first research the system in question. Hackers can use various footprinting tools to investigate many aspects of a target system, including search engines, web services, social networking sites, domain name servers (DNS), email, networks, and more.

2. Scanning

Next, ethical hackers collect data on the system's infrastructure, such as open ports, protocols, services, hosts, and active servers.

3. Obtaining Entrance

The most important part of the process is the penetration test. The ethical hacker uses the vulnerabilities discovered in the scanning phase to attempt to break into the targeted network, host, device, or application.

4. Keeping the Door Open

A vulnerability is not always required to remain open once a hacker gains access, especially if users apply updates. A hacker who plans to keep using the device despite the vulnerability may feel compelled to add keyloggers, trojans, or spyware.

5. Getting Back on Track

The final steps involve eradicating any malicious software (trojans, spyware) that may have been installed during the hack. It is a Proof Of Concept (POC) to see if malicious actors can replicate the conditions without being spotted.

Reasons to Study Ethical Hacking

Let's have a look at some data on the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks and threats −

  • According to research conducted at the University of Maryland's Clark School, on average, a hacker attempts to breach a system every 39 seconds. Cybersecurity attacks are likely to target one in three Americans.

  • Cyber Security Ventures projects that by 2020, worldwide spending on cyber defense will have reached $1 trillion. Meanwhile, it estimates that cybercrime will cost $6 trillion by 2021.

  • EY Worldwide Information conducted a poll on information security and found that only 38% of global firms felt ready to deal with a sophisticated cyber-attack.

  • Many large companies, including Facebook, offer bounties to anyone who discovers a security hole in one of their products. Such that responsibly report threats to their platforms to make those networks safer receive significant rewards. Inexperienced people join these programs to make money and build their resumes.

  • Learning ethical hacking can equip you to protect networks and data from malicious actors. You can do the following as a good hacker −

  • Carry out assessments and investigations of the target systems from a hacker's perspective to uncover any security or system flaws and provide a solution.

  • Contribute to setting up a highly secure network capable of withstanding any potential threats.

  • Assist government entities in preventing terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure.

  • Maintain your customers' faith by keeping their personal information safe using industry-leading security measures.

  • Enterprises can better prepare for future harmful hacker attacks by conducting a controlled assessment of their networks and systems in which an assault is simulated in real-time.

Who Is an Ethical Hacker?

An ethical hacker, sometimes known as a "white hat" hacker, is a specialist in computer security who breaks into systems in a controlled and moral manner to help find weaknesses in their security. These threats are identified and reported to appropriate companies or government authorities so that preventative measures can be taken to protect data and the network.

One can categorize hackers as one of three types −

White Hat Hackers

These professionals are known as "ethical hackers," and their job is to find ways to make systems more secure and efficient. They follow the proper channels by obtaining approval from the appropriate authorities inside the firm.

Black Hat Hackers

To steal money, perpetrate fraud, or cause other havoc, these criminals acquire unauthorized access to a company's network and then steal or otherwise compromise the company's sensitive information. Do you recall the WannaCry ransomware that caused a global loss of $4 billion (USD)? It encrypted user data and demanded a bitcoin ransom after infecting thousands of Windows systems in 2017.

Grey Hat Hackers

In other words, these hackers do both good and evil. They gain unauthorized entry to establishments to harm. However, grey hats can also be hired to assist businesses with security upgrades. They play both ends of the field.


The presence of new malware, spyware, ransomware, trojans, and worms grows every day. Therefore, businesses and government agencies must employ ethical hackers to protect their networks and systems. The result is a persistent talent gap in the cybersecurity industry. By 2021, there will be 3.5 million openings in the cybersecurity industry, according to Security magazine.

Since businesses are spending more money to tackle cyber security concerns, the ethical hacking industry is growing quickly. The certified ethical course is the way to go if you have a genuine interest in cybersecurity. You can get started in information security analysis or cyber security with theoretical and practical expertise.

Updated on: 26-Dec-2022


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