Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH): What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It’s Important

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The Certified Ethical Hacker CEH) certification is more than just another paper to add to your collection. While one could argue that it’s just another multiple choice exam, there is no mistaking the value of the knowledge you learn from studying for and then gaining this certification.

What is the CEH?

It’s a multiple choice exam which verifies your knowledge of the penetration testing structure and the tools used within that structure. It equips prospective job seekers in the information security industry with a solid start, making sure the holder of the certificate knows how to do the basics like:

information gathering

attacking computers or servers

wireless attacks and social engineering

The concept is great, teaching students the theory of how tools work and how to evaluate situations and look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities, which is a major part of studying for the CEH; one thing it does well is to bring in real world tools for each of these situations. By the end the journey to obtain your CEH, you’ll know what tools do what job, how to use the tools properly and how to conduct an ethical penetration test.

What the CEH Isn’t.

Here’s what it isn’t. The CEH is not your one stop shop for everything you need to learn. Rather, it is a great start into the realm of information security. As with technology, it’s always best to stay ahead and current; thus, the CEH should be looked at as a gateway to higher levels of knowledge as well as proof that you can administer a penetration test.

Why is it important?

While talent and ability aren’t established only by certifications, they do help when proving your knowledge and skill to others. Unlike other certifications, the CEH gives you the knowledge that will last outside of the exam by teaching you a methodology that will carry into your real world jobs and tools that you will use in real world engagements. Few certs have that to offer and the few that do are further down the road from the CEH.

What makes the CEH different?

There are many certifications one can get on their journey in the information security world, but few come to the level of training and understanding required to earn the CEH certification. The biggest factor of what makes the CEH such a unique certification is its method of teaching. Unlike other security certifications which teach defensive tactics such as firewall configuration or other forms of preemptive security, the CEH takes an alternative approach. Offenses are featured as your best defense – which is a major difference from certifications that only focus on defensive tactics. The CEH imparts offensive tactics supplemented with defensive countermeasures. This ensures that the CEH professional can have a more holistic security perspective of the organization.

Full blog from Jonathan Gibson, which includes sample questions for the certification

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