Believe it or not, hackers aren’t always the bad guys. Are you new to the world of ethical hacking? Learn everything you need to know about this emerging profession and get all the advice you need to plan your own path into cyber security.
Also known as “white hats,” ethical hackers are security experts who legally and deliberately use hacking methods to perform security assessments. These assessments help businesses and organisations improve their security posture.
Ethical hacking is an authorised attempt to gain access to restricted data on a computer, system or network, replicating the hacking methods a malicious attacker would use. This practice helps to pinpoint security vulnerabilities, which can then be strengthened before an attacker has the chance to exploit them.
Ethical hacking is a complex, multifaceted process, with many different elements to consider. An ethical hacker will identify security weaknesses in a variety of different ways, while they will also perform a range of other Cyber Security-related tasks. These include:
While white hat hackers are the good guys, black hat hackers are definitely the villains of the piece. When white hat hackers go in search of security vulnerabilities, it’s black hat hackers that their assessment is intended to defend against.
Black hat hackers are criminals who break into computer networks with malicious intent. They may also release malware that destroys files, holds computers hostage (known as ransomware), or steals passwords, bank details and other sensitive information.
Black hats are motivated by self-serving reasons, such as financial gain, revenge, or simply a desire to create havoc. Sometimes the hacker’s motivation is ideological and they will target people or organisations who adopt policies that they strongly disagree with.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, ethical or white hat hacking is a completely legal activity, provided the ethical hacker has been given permission by the company who owns the system, network or data that the hacker will attempt to breach.
With that in mind, there’s a shortlist of responsibilities that every ethical hacker should follow one-by-one. Let’s take a closer look at that list.
There are a few simple protocols that every ethical hacker should follow. These will keep clients happy and ethical hackers on the right side of the law. These protocols are as follows:
There are a number of benefits that come with ethical hacking, the biggest being:
The Australian Cyber Security market is growing at a rate of more than 8% annually. A hefty chunk of this growth can be attributed to rising levels of cyber crime and the increased regulation of cyber security protocols, which companies are now striving to meet.
With companies prioritising their cyber security posture, ethical hacking is fast becoming a core component of any solid cyber security strategy. As a result, ethical hackers are in high demand.
While you’ll struggle to find a role dedicated to ethical hacking alone, Penetration Testers spend a large proportion of their time planning and orchestrating ethical hacks. The average annual salary for a Penetration Tester is extremely high at $125,103. As long as there’s cyber crime (and there always will be), there will be a strong demand for Penetration Testers, meaning it’s a career with superb long-term prospects.
You’ll need a range of skills to succeed in the competitive world of cyber security as an ethical hacker. The most important skills include:
Completing practical, hands-on training in cyber security is a great way to get a foothold in the industry. Whether you’re already an IT professional seeking to upskill, or keen to launch a tech career from scratch, ensuring you have all the fundamental skills under your belt is a must.
Our Cyber Security Engineering: Transform course will give you technical skills and strategic mindset that today’s Cyber Security Professional needs, taking you from beginner to job-ready and also offering access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates straight into the industry.
If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your Cyber Security journey.