Skills needed to become an ethical hacker

“Hacking involves a different way of looking at problems that no one’s thought of.” More often than not, Hacking involves a unique out-of-the-box approach and excellent problem-solving skills. But is that enough? Well, the answer lies within the meticulous craft of ethical Hacking! Read ahead to find out what creates the essence of a successful ethical hacker, the importance of hacking in the modern era, and the various necessary skills needed to become an ethical hacker.

What skills do Ethical Hackers require?

“Ethical Hacking is an approved effort to obtain unauthorized access to an operating device, program, or data.” In simple words, ethical hackers have the permission to hack systems to ensure the organization’s safety. Ethical hackers use their skills to protect and develop organizations’ infrastructure. They prove a valuable asset to organizations by searching for bugs that could lead to a security breach. The skills required by ethical hackers can be broadly summed into three categories –

1- Academic or certified skills-

These include the certifications and official ethical hacking training programs that an ethical hacker must acquire to become a good hacker. A conscientious hacker should be well-versed in computer science. They may also specialize, being subject matter experts (SME) in a specific field of the ethical hacking domain. Other academic certifications include –

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or A+ Certificate forms the fundamentals of cyber software and hardware, which is essential for hacking purposes.
  • They should then get network certifications like Network+ or CCNA and then security certifications like Security+, CISSP, or TICSA. Some work experience as a Network Engineer and System Administrator goes a long way to help understand networks and systems inside out.
  • Studying courses that cover creating Trojan horses, backdoors, viruses, worms, denial of service (DoS) attacks, SQL injection, buffer overflow, session hijacking, and system hacking are also essential skills to enhance the core abilities of an ethical hacker.
  • A master in penetration testing, footprinting and reconnaissance, and social engineering is another desired skill set for ethical hackers.
  • A Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification is a necessary ethical hacking training program that helps a good hacker become a great certified ethical hacker!

2) Hard skills –

These include abilities or skills that enhance the knowledge of an ethical hacker and impart more expertise to him/her. Acquiring these skills ensures that one has a working understanding of Ethical Hacking. These skills include a thorough grasp and fundamental knowledge in Scripting languages, Operating systems, Networking, and key Information technology concepts. Other than knowing web wiring and web apps, other hard skills include –

  •  Capabilities in Penetration Testing

Along with Networking abilities, Ethical hackers should be familiar with penetration testing, which aids in the identification of device flaws.

Penetration monitoring enables ethical hackers to identify and correct flaws before an attack takes place.

  •  Programming Capabilities

Programming is a method of communicating with computer programs and providing instructions to execute an operation known as “code.”

Computer programmers write these codes to execute a particular operation. A combination of computer programming abilities provides the basis for ethical Hacking.

  •  Fundamental Hardware Knowledge

Since it can lead to a security violation, an ethical hacker should clearly understand hardware. An ethical hacker should understand how computers function, how motherboards work, how USBs move data, and how CMOS and BIOS work together.

  • Cryptography Knowledge

Cryptography knowledge is essential for an ethical hacker. Cryptography is the use of keys (factors) and algorithms (logic) to secure records.

It requires various methods and techniques for data security, such as encryption, decryption, hashing, digital signatures, etc.

  • Database Awareness

A database management system (DBMS) is a method for building and maintaining databases. Most hackers attack networks to harvest classified information. A good understanding of DBMS allows ethical hackers to tackle the root of a bug.

3) Soft skills –

These include the personality traits or cognitive skills that an individual should possess to think and act like a hacker. These skills or qualities include-

  •  Social Deception-

Social engineering is the method of persuading individuals to reveal sensitive information. To prevent social engineering attacks from harmful hackers, an ethical hacker must know how to manipulate someone into decoding information.

  • Problem-solving capacity-

Ethical Hacking is an exciting profession that will present you with new challenges daily. To solve these obstacles, ethical hackers must have good theoretical and proactive problem-solving skills.

  • Ethical or Moral righteousness-

An ethical hacker must be honest in all terms. They must adhere to the code of ethics and hack responsibly and be mindful of widespread cyberattacks such as phishing, social engineering, trojans, insider attacks, identity hacks, and so on. They should be able to use effective avoidance tactics and countermeasures to tackle these problems.

  • Concentration and quick decision-making skills-

Ethical hackers must act swiftly, type quickly and have a remarkable ability to focus on the task at hand.

Computer hacking is both a science and an art. Becoming an efficient hacker requires experience and diligence, but most of all, to hone your skills, you need to know you love what you’re doing – hacking!

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