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Who Can Learn Ethical Hacking?

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By: Divya Bora

October 26, 2021

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Hacking is the process that involves searching for vulnerabilities in a system and using the vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized system access to perform malicious activities. Hacking is illegal and has dire consequences if someone has hacked a system illegally. Ethical hacking is defined as an authorized attempt to gain unauthorized access to a system. An ethical hacker is a security expert who performs assessments using strategies similar to what a malicious attacker would use to identify security vulnerabilities and fix them.

Hacking is divided into the following based on what the hacker is trying to attain:

1. Website Hacking This involves hacking a website and taking unauthorized control of a web server and related software or databases.

2. Email Hacking This involves unauthorized access and usage of an email account without the owner's consent. It involves activities like spam links and third-party threats.

3. Computer Hacking Consist of unauthorized access and use of a system's id with its password abstracted using a hacking technique.

4. Network Hacking This involves hacking a network to gather information about the network with malicious intent to harm or hinder the network operations.

5. Password Hacking This involves recovering secret passwords through the stored data which the system has transmitted.


There are no required skills but, it will help if you obtain the following:

1. Linux Skills

Linux is an open-source operating system similar to Unix and is based on the Linux Kernel. Its source code can be modified as per user requirements, and GNU General Public License licenses it. It is distributed amongst people commercially or non-commercially. As an ethical hacker, it is essential to learn Linux for security purposes. The responsibility for securing systems that people or organizations use is in the hands of the ethical hacker. Linux is comparatively more secure than any other operating system because it doesn't require any anti-virus software for its security.

2. Basic Hardware Knowledge

The basic hardware of the computer includes knowledge about all of its internal and external components like motherboard, Random access memory(RAM), Central Processing Unit(CPU), optical drive, heat sinks, power supply, network cards, graphical processing unit(GPU) and more. Why is this knowledge required to hack the software? Software is defined as a set of instructions stored and run by the hardware components. Suppose a hacker who lacks hardware knowledge attempts to hack a computer system with an exceptional software security system. In that case, the hacker will be helpless as they won't know how to work their way around the problem. But a person who knows the basics of computer hardware, like how the motherboard works, etc., can manipulate the hardware to gain access to the system. Hence, basic hardware knowledge is required to become an ethical hacker.

3. Cryptography Skills

Cryptography is the study and application of techniques that make communication secure; it ensures that the intended recipient only views the information inside it. It is closely associated with the process of converting plain text into incomprehensive text and vice versa. Also, cryptography is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data. Since an ethical hacker is accountable for securing communication between the organization and the client, they must know about cryptography to apply techniques, such as digital signing, data verification, and hashing to fulfill the need.

4. Problem Solving Skills

Problem-solving skill is the process of defining a problem, determining the cause of the problem, prioritizing, and selecting an alternative solution. An ethical hacker must become a critical thinker and enthusiastic problem resolver; they can identify threats and efficiently fix them. Ethical hackers should enjoy learning multiple ways to avoid security breaches and search for various solutions to problems that may assist them in crucial times.

5. Database Skills

Database Management System (DBMS) is the software used to manage all databases and their data. An ethical hacker must know how to build and secure a DBMS. They must also know the types of database engines and schemas; these will protect against any attacks on the databases.

6. Reverse Engineering Skills

Reverse Engineering is the process of analyzing the flow and functions of software or hardware to understand its behavior. It is to ensure that a system does not contain any high-level security flaws, thus making the system robust and secure from hackers. While practicing reverse engineering, an ethical hacker may hack into their systems to thoroughly identify their vulnerabilities.

7. Programming Skills

A programming language is a language used to develop computer programs. An ethical hacker must have programming skills; this will help ethical hackers solve problems requiring a coding solution and build tools that will assist in implementing their solutions. It is also useful in automating tasks. Programming skills can help to identify and exploit the programming errors of the target application. It helps in the customization of the application as well. The programming languages that an ethical hacker must learn largely depend upon the target system or platforms. The following are a few preferred programming languages:

a) PHP It is a server-side scripting language and is used in a cross-platform environment also. It also assists in web hacking.

b) C, C++ It is a low-level programming language and is used in a cross-platform environment. It assists in writing exploits and shellcodes when required.

c) HTML It is used to write web pages and is a cross-platform programming language. It assists in web hacking.

d) Python, Ruby, Bash, Perl These are high-level programming languages and are used in a cross-platform environment also. They assist in building tools and scripts as per requirement.

e) SQL It is a language used to communicate with databases and is used in a cross-platform environment also. It also assists in web hacking.

f) Javascript It is a client-side scripting language and is used in a cross-platform environment also. It also assists in web hacking.

8. Computer Skills

Computer skills are essential for an ethical hacker to possess; they must be a computer system expert to excel in their career and secure systems from potential threats. Computer skills are the ability or knowledge to use computer systems and similar technologies. An ethical hacker must have hands-on experience with basic and advanced computer skills like data processing, file management, database management, and programming. Essential computer skills like MS Office, Email, Spreadsheets, and Social media are a "must-have" for an ethical hacker.

9. Networking Skills

Computer networking skills are essential for an ethical hacker. Since every system is part of a network or is an interconnection of devices, an ethical hacker must fully understand a networking system before securing it from any potential threats. They must be familiar with network basics like Supernetting, Subnetting, DHCP, and protocol resolution.


Ethical hacking is beneficial for everyone, especially when online attacks are so prevalent. One must know how to secure themselves and follow some best practices of ethical hacking.

We tend to believe that a person who possesses a Bachelor's or a Master's degree in Computer Science or a certificate (A+, CCNA, Security+, CISSP, OR TICSA) should dive into ethical hacking. Obtaining any of these would provide new opportunities in the field and a promising career to the holder. Also, if anyone possesses a few of the abovementioned skills, should feel free to learn ethical hacking. Students and professors or working professionals who have a keen interest in computer security or cybersecurity will find ethical hacking suitable for them. Anyone who learns ethical hacking is more likely to have a good pay. Most multinational organizations have job openings for ethical hackers as keeping their data and customers safe is their topmost priority. They would go above board for it.

There is a certification or course that one can pursue to help them systematically learn ethical hacking. The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a great start for someone looking forward to building strong basics. The CEH v11 is the latest version of the certification, including abilities and skills related to the latest ethical hacking techniques. International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) is the world's largest cybersecurity technical certification body.

Beginners should start with the Ethical Hacking course, and it is also recommended for intermediates as it will help them strengthen their basics on this subject. This CEH Study Guide will prepare you for the CEH exam. The Ethical Hacking Course is suitable for people who wish to study at their own pace.


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