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When Should I Learn Ethical Hacking?

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By: payloadartist

September 27, 2021

Should one learn ethical hacking?

People often ask if they should start learning ethical hacking, and the answer to that is yes, they should. Ethical hacking is still ripe with opportunities and relevant and practical skills.

Before deciding whether one should learn ethical hacking, it is pertinent to know what ethical hacking is, and what purpose it serves,

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical Hacking refers to carrying out offensive security testing of software to find out if there are ways in which attackers can compromise a system. It often involves exploiting a vulnerability to gain unauthorized access to systems, just like an attacker. The purpose is to simulate real hacking done by black hat hackers, the opposite of ethical hackers.

Further, one should follow all ethics and boundaries set by the client during any such engagement, as hacking anything without consent is illegal, whether done in good or bad faith. Therefore, do not attempt to learn hacking by hacking random websites and servers ( a common problem among beginners). By doing so, beginners eventually lose their trustworthiness and employment readiness due to their criminal background. Hence, it is crucial to learn and understand ethics while learning how to hack.

Why should one learn ethical hacking right now?

Ethical hacking is one of the most promising careers out there right now, with immense opportunities. There is a multitude of roles that remain unfilled in various sectors where ethical hacking skills are needed. Almost every big corporation needs to hire ethical hackers.

There is an industry-wide shortage of skills in cybersecurity as of now. In last year's (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, analysts noted that the industry needs about 3.12 million more cybersecurity professionals (including ethical hackers) globally, which opens up many opportunities for people who want to learn this skill. Furthermore, as per the survey, more than half of the respondents felt their organization was at significant risk due to a shortage of skills. It is clear that the industry requires a lot more ethical hackers.

Almost every company needs someone who knows how to hack themselves so they can improve their defenses. The number of vacant positions for ethical hackers is rapidly growing as the demand continues to rise and more job openings remain unfilled due to a lack of skilled talent in this field. Companies need more ethical hackers to help keep up with the burgeoning demand of making software more secure. There is also a need to meet newer compliance requirements, government policies, and business needs. The shortage of skills in this sector makes it even more valuable.

Who is an ethical hacker?

Generally, it is someone who possesses the right skills to find, mitigate, and assess security vulnerabilities in software before the bad guys do. Ethical hackers get hired to perform security testing on applications because ensuring software security is required per industry standards. Ethical hackers thus become a backbone for companies as they work closely with software developers and engineers to mitigate and prevent security vulnerabilities from being exploited by the black hat hackers, the bad guys.

What challenges do new Ethical Hackers face?

Does ethical hacking appeal to them?

When someone asks whether they should learn ethical hacking, the first thing to consider is whether the concept of hacking systems ethically for a living excites them. It doesn't appeal to everyone. People who are accustomed to following a stereotypic way of doing things might find it hard.

As software changes, it becomes harder for ethical hackers to find exploits. This requires the constant need to keep up-to-date with new bugs and techniques and can easily be overwhelming for many beginners from different fields of work. One common reason why many newbies find it hard to do ethical hacking on modern systems is they often learn from older content while the techniques change rapidly.

With the passing of time, attackers find newer ways to exploit the latest security checks in software. It makes it a challenging profession, as ethical hackers need to keep up with these changes in the industry.

How to learn ethical hacking?

There is no shortage of resources and content to learn ethical hacking. Online there are many beginner-friendly courses for learning ethical hacking courses that are updated regularly, keeping up with new and novel attacks.

The best way to learn a new skill is by doing, and it is the same with ethical hacking. In 2021, the software has gotten a lot more secure, so it is a lot harder; but, with practice, it should become easier to achieve.

There are several skills one needs to learn to be an ethical hacker, depending on the specialization. Here are a few:

  • Learning at least one programming language (the most popular being Python)
  • Learning about SQL and database software
  • Knowledge of the OWASP Top 10 classes of bugs

Learning at least one programming language is essential because one often needs to build tools by writing custom scripts. The Python course will make it easier for beginners to learn Python. Not just that, but Python is most commonly used for writing exploits for security vulnerabilities.

One should also know the basics of SQL (Structured Query Language) and databases, as they will need this knowledge to perform test cases for common attacks, such as SQL injection. Courses such as the SQL training course will help in learning this. Learning how databases work will help in understanding how to secure them from attacks.

Learning about the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities is essential to learning how to hack web applications. The OWASP Top 10 Course could be the perfect place to begin, allowing students to understand what to expect when performing security testing on websites or web apps. It is also something companies desire candidates to possess, as companies frequently mentioned in job postings.

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