How Ethical Hackers Make Computers Safer

Written by Chloe Harwood

What is Ethical Hacking?

If you are a technologically inclined person who loves not only coding, but cracking codes, you may find hacking appealing. There is something to be said for breaking into a computer or network that is supposed to be “secure.” However, even though you may enjoy the process of hacking, you mostly likely also want to stay on the right side of the law. In many situations, hacking is illegal and can lead to serious fines and even a prison sentence. If you want to practice your hacking skills under legal conditions, you may want to consider becoming an ethical hacker.

Ethical hackers (also known as legal hackers or white hat hackers) are hired to hack into an individual’s, a company’s, or a government’s network, computers, and security system to test it for flaws and weaknesses, usually with the aim of preventing data theft, viruses, and fraud. They basically do the same job as a hacker by making attempts to bypass a system’s security, but they do not have a criminal intent. After finding the flaws and weaknesses, they work with programmers to help make the network more secure. Talented ethical hackers can make serious money if they can point out the flaws in a network and help to make it stronger. Hackers may be employees of a specific company or they may work as an individual consultant who takes on clients.

How do ethical hackers make networks and computers more secure for everyone’s safety?

When people think of hackers, they often imagine a shady figure sitting at a computer in a dark room, furiously typing as they break into government security systems or hack into a bank’s network. They imagine the hacker growing rich while common people lose their identities and personal property. However, not all hackers are bad. Many hackers use their skills for good.

Ethical hackers are a crucial part of computer and network security. Ethical hackers are pointing out flaws and weaknesses in systems that many never even knew existed. We often rely on technology that was developed decades ago and can be vulnerable to modern threats created by malicious hackers. We need ethical hackers to help find the issues in our systems and fix the problems. It is much better for a government network or a corporation’s network to be hacked by someone who is trying to protect it than by someone who has malicious intent. Ethical hackers help to fix the problems with networks before it is too late.

Ethical hackers are the best at finding security issues because they have the mindset of a hacker. They can see through codes and puzzle through a security system just like a hacker would.

Ethical hackers can play an important role in a multitude of industries. Some have made great strides in the medical fields, where they have pointed out weaknesses in the security systems linked to medical devices. These hackers have helped to save people’s lives. Other hackers have found flaws in automotive security, again saving lives by making our vehicles safer.

As our society is becoming more and more reliant on technology for nearly every aspect of our lives, it is important than ever that governments and corporations forge alliances with ethical hackers. These are the best people to make sure that our systems are safe. They can prevent terrible things from happening both to individuals and large groups of people. Hopefully as time passes and these ethical hackers are given credit for the important work they do, there will be less of a stigma associated with the term “hacker.”

What knowledge do you need to become a certified ethical hacker (CEH)?

In order to become a certified ethical hacker (CEH), you must first have a passion for computers, systems, and networks. If you have a personality that enjoys breaking codes and solving puzzles, you will find this type of work very stimulating and satisfying. You also have to have patience and perseverance. You will usually need some form for IT training, typically a college degree in computer science or information security. You should have extensive knowledge of how networks function and the various modes of hacking.

How do you become an ethical hacker?

Despite what you may see in films, it is rarely the case that someone becomes an ethical hacker overnight. If you are interested in becoming an ethical hacker, you will most likely start your career in the IT field, usually with an IT-related college degree. The military is another good option for those just getting started, especially if you need help paying for your education.

Once you have an education under your belt, you will likely begin your career in tech support with an A+ certification. After working in tech support for a while and getting some more certifications, you will then move into an admin or network role, and then network engineering. Along the way, you will want to continue getting even more certifications, such as Network+, Security+ and others. Once you have your security certifications, you will want to look for a job in information security.

In addition to learning about network security, it is helpful to know some programming and database functions. The more you know, the more you will have to offer your future employers or clients.

You are now ready to begin your CEH training. Your CEH training will cover a multitude of topics, included but not limited to:

  • Penetration testing
  • Foot printing
  • DoS attacks
  • Trojan Horse attacks
  • Virus creation
  • SQL injection
  • System overflow

About the author

Chloe Harwood