We’ve all seen the stereotypes of hackers; usually, someone with few social skills, holed up in their bedroom, trying to break into complex IT systems to steal data or worse. For the most part, these are best left to film scripts because the reality can be wildly different. Of course, there will always be someone who wishes to break into somewhere they shouldn’t have access to, and this could be due to any number of motivations. It could be to steal data for financial or corporate gain. It could also be to uncover secrets hidden by governments from the public. It could be to wreak havoc by unleashing viruses, or it could simply be just to see if the hacker can get into the system. Hacking is seen as mostly highly illegal.
But today, there is another type of hacking which actually won’t result in a potential prison sentence, and that is ethical hacking. So if you want to get into this field, read on to find out more…
What is ethical hacking?
Ethical hacking is otherwise known as the less glamorous ‘penetration testing’. In short, it is where the hacker tries to penetrate an IT system with the knowledge and permission of the owner. It is a way to work out where the vulnerabilities and weak spots of the system lie in order to thoroughly test how secure a company’s (or organisations’) cyber position is.
It is a way for managers of an IT system to understand what they can do to make their system safer, to work out what preventative and corrective measures they can put in place to stop other, more nefarious hackers, breaking into the system. Ethical hacking is legal and an extremely useful practice to help companies isolate their issues and prevent the more dangerous problems from occurring.
How to become an ethical hacker
There are a few ways of becoming an ethical hacker, and they will all necessitate some training on how to do it legally and morally, rather than just doing whatever you fancy from the comfort of your own home!
1. Do your training
There are several codes you can use in order to hack into systems, and Swift is one of the most prolific. Learn Swift and you will have a much better chance to become an ethical hacker.
2. Gain the right qualifications
It is all well and good knowing how to hack ethically, but in order for companies to realise they are using someone qualified, you will have to prove you can do it in the right way. So ensure you complete any necessary qualifications and keep the proper records of them.
3. Get a permanent role for a company in need
You might not see a lot of job adverts announcing ‘ethical hacker wanted’ because the job titles are a little more diverse than that. You might want to search for ‘penetration tester’, ‘security analyst’ or ‘network security specialist’ instead.
4. Go the consultancy route
If you’d somewhat not be encumbered by the constraints of a permanent job for a company, you can be a freelancer instead and pick up contracts wherever and whenever you want. This usually is a job that can be done remotely, so location shouldn’t be a big issue.
We certainly don’t recommend hacking into systems without the knowledge of the owner and then telling them where their issues lie – this would be illegal and could get you into trouble! But with the prevalence of IT and security of data etc. being of such a high priority, there will always be jobs available in this field.