Ethical Hacking for Beginners and Top Career Paths in Cybersecurity
As the digital world continues to evolve, organizations constantly discover new threats to their systems and data security. With the number and severity of attacks on the rise, businesses need skilled cybersecurity professionals who can help them identify vulnerabilities and strengthen their security posture. One in-demand role is that of an ethical hacker. But what is an ethical hacker, what skills do you need to become one, and is there a free ethical hacking course for beginners that you can take? This article will discuss everything you need to start your ethical hacking career.
What Are Hacking and Ethical Hacking?
The term “hacking” refers to gaining access to computer systems or networks by exploiting weaknesses in software, hardware, or human behavior. If malicious intent is a motivating factor (e.g., to create disruption or financial gain), it’s called “black hat hacking.” Black hat hackers may seek to gain control over an IT environment or access sensitive data they can steal or exploit. Not all hacking is necessarily unethical or illegal, however. Ethical hacking (sometimes called “white hat hacking”) is a form of hacking in which the hack is performed with its target’s full knowledge and consent.
Ethical hackers focus on identifying vulnerabilities in an organization’s IT security posture, including its computer systems, networks, applications, and data. They adopt the mindset of black hat hackers, simulating real-world cyber attacks and probing the target’s defenses for security flaws. Once these vulnerabilities have been detected, ethical hackers recommend how to resolve or mitigate them before malicious hackers exploit them.
The distinction between hacking and ethical hacking lies in the intentions and legality of the perpetrators. Ethical hackers operate within legal boundaries by obtaining permission from their targets before launching the attack. They also have noble motivations, helping organizations prevent data breaches and unauthorized access by safeguarding their digital assets.
Core Ethical Hacking Skills Recommended for Ethical Hacker at Beginner level
Becoming an ethical hacker can be highly rewarding, but you’ll first need to acquire some ethical hacking essentials. Before getting started, you should learn ethical hacking skills such as:
- Networking: Ethical hackers need to be familiar with computer network protocols and architecture, so they can analyze network traffic and identify potential entry points. This includes proficiency in TCP/IP, DNS, routing, and subnetting. (This is an added advantage)
- Operating systems: Ethical hacking requires in-depth knowledge of the most common operating systems: Windows, macOS, and Linux. This allows ethical hackers to identify the vulnerabilities unique to each operating system and exploit misconfigurations.
- Programming and scripting: Ethical hackers often use several different programming and scripting languages to automate tasks or scan for vulnerabilities. These may include C/C++, Java, Python, or Bash. (This is an added advantage)
- Problem-solving and analytical thinking: The field of ethical hacking requires strong problem-solving and analytical skills. Ethical hackers need to quickly find vulnerabilities, understand how to exploit them, and think critically and creatively.
- Communication: Once the attack is complete, ethical hackers need to report their findings to the target, offering information about vulnerabilities and suggestions for how to address them. Ethical hackers should be able to communicate effectively with non-technical decision-makers, such as managers and executives.
Many ethical hackers have received formal education in computer science, information technology, computer engineering, or cybersecurity. However, other ethical hackers learn from real-world experience on the job. Still, others have obtained certifications through programs such as EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) that demonstrate their credentials and expertise in ethical hacking.
Ethical Hacking Course for Beginners
We’ve discussed the definitions of hacking and ethical hacking, the most crucial ethical hacking skills, and finding the right ethical hacking career path. There’s just one question: how can you break into the field with the right “ethical hacking for beginners” course?
EC-Council’s Ethical Hacking Essentials (E|HE) program is a ethical hacking course that teaches you everything you need to get started in this fascinating and dynamic field of cybersecurity.
The E|HE course teaches the key fundamentals of ethical hacking and penetration testing to students of all ages — from high schoolers to working professionals. Graduates of the E|HE certification receive training in IT security concepts such as threats and vulnerabilities, password cracking, web application attacks, Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, cloud computing, and much more.
Ethical Hacking Essentials consists of 12 modules, more than 15 hours of self-paced video training, and 11 lab activities. By receiving the E|HE certification, graduates receive formal recognition that they have expertise in ethical hacking, a highly useful and in-demand cybersecurity field. E|HE is the ideal way for would-be ethical hackers to get a foothold in this fast-paced, rewarding industry.
Certified Ethical Hacking Course
Once you are through the ethical hacking course for beginner, its time now you get through the Certified ethical hacker course from EC-Council (CEH) the original and world’s no. 1 ethical hacking course.
About Certified ethical hacker course:
The CEH Certification by EC-Council—globally recognized in the industry with 20+ years of experience in cybersecurity training and certification—is the world’s no.1 ethical hacking certification. C|EH v12 is a one-of-a-kind certification that provides comprehensive training in ethical hacking with hands-on training, labs, assessment, mock engagement, and global hacking competitions to ensure that students are at the top of their game.
Know the 4 Learning Framework of Certified Ethical hacking course.
1. C|EH Learn (C|EH Training and Practice)
The C|EH training program includes 20 modules that cover various technologies, tactics, and procedures, providing prospective ethical hackers with the core knowledge they need to thrive in cybersecurity. The concepts covered in the training program are split 50/50 between knowledge-based training and hands-on application through our cyber range. Delivered through a carefully curated training plan that typically spans five days, C|EH continues to evolve to stay up-to-date with the latest operating systems, exploits, tools, and techniques.
The C|EH (MCQ Exam) contains 125 questions with a duration of four hours.
The C|EH (Practical) is a six-hour, hands-on live exam that can be taken anytime, anywhere. Designed by subject matter experts in the ethical hacking domain, C|EH (Practical) tests the candidate’s skills and abilities in techniques such as vulnerability detection, SQL injection methodology, cryptography, and wireless encryption against 20 real-life scenarios.
2. C|EH Engage (Intensive Lab Practices)
EC-Council labs are hosted online with lab trainers who assist you by providing feedback, enabling you to defend networks and systems against attacks. With 50% of the time dedicated to practical learning, C|EH provides a hands-on learning experience. The labs provide maximum exposure through the real-time environment comprising the latest hacking techniques, methodologies, tools, and tricks. They are configured with firewalls, domain controllers, and vulnerable web applications that allow you to hone your hacking skills.
3. C|EH Compete
The C|EH Global Challenges occur every month, providing capture-the-flag style competitions that give students exposure to various new technologies and platforms, from web applications, OT, IoT, SCADA, and ICS systems to cloud and hybrid environments. Our compete structure lets ethical hackers fight their way to the top of the leaderboard each month in these 4-hour curated CTFs. Objective-based flags are designed around the ethical hacking process, keeping skills current, testing critical thinking abilities, and covering the latest vulnerabilities and exploits as they are discovered. Hosted 100% online in EC-Council’s Cyber Range, candidates race the clock in scenario-based engagements against fully developed network and application environments with real operating systems, networks, tools, and vulnerabilities to practice, engage, compete, build, and hone their cyber skills against various new target organizations.
Top Career Paths for Ethical Hackers
If you’re interested in an ethical hacking career, the good news is that there’s no shortage of job roles. Cybersecurity professionals who follow an ethical hacking career path may work in jobs such as:
- Penetration tester: Penetration testers simulate cyberattacks on computer systems, networks, or applications to identify vulnerabilities. They conduct thorough assessments and audits of an IT environment and offer recommendations to improve the organization’s security posture.
- Security analyst: Security analysts monitor and analyze IT systems, network traffic, and logs to detect and respond to potential security incidents. They investigate system alerts, analyze vulnerabilities, and recommend enhancements to the organization’s security defenses.
- Incident responder: Incident responders react to and mitigate cybersecurity incidents and breaches. They investigate and analyze potential threats, develop incident response plans, and coordinate the process of recovering from an attack.
- Red team member: Red team members conduct simulated attacks on an organization’s IT systems, networks, or infrastructure to assess their security defenses and resilience. Red team members work with the organization’s blue team, which represents the defensive side of cybersecurity and is responsible for detecting and preventing attacks.
- Security architect: Security architects design and implement secure IT systems, networks, and applications. They develop cybersecurity frameworks, evaluate system architectures, and ensure that IT security controls are properly integrated during the design process.
- Digital forensics expert: Digital forensics experts help investigate legal and criminal cases by collecting digital evidence from computer systems, networks, and applications. They use forensic techniques to recover data, analyze malware, and reconstruct events after a cyber attack.
- Chief information security officer: Chief information security officers (CISOs) are responsible for managing an organization’s cybersecurity strategy and ensuring that robust security measures are put in place. Ethical hackers with a strong history of high performance and deep knowledge of security threats can progress to the role of CISO.
The question of ethical hacker salary is essential to many people interested in the field of cybersecurity. Ethical hackers with the right skills, experience, and qualifications can receive high salaries for their work. The average ethical hacker salary in the United States is over $110,288 per year, with a typical range between $83,000 and $147,000 (Glassdoor, 2022).
Certified Ethical Hacker course is mapped to below job roles:
- Mid-Level Information Security Auditor
- Security Administrator
- Cyber Defense Analyst
- Warning Analyst
- Security Analyst L1
- Cybersecurity Analyst level 1, level 2, & level 3
- SOC Security Analyst
- Network Engineer
- Information Security Manager
- Solution Architect
- Cybersecurity Auditor
- IT Security Administrator
- Vulnerability Assessment Analyst
- Information Security Analyst 1
- Infosec Security Administrator
- Network Security Engineer
- Security Analyst
- Senior Security Consultant
- Senior SOC Analyst
- Cybersecurity Consultant
Glassdoor. (2022, September 15). How much does an Ethical Hacker make? https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/ethical-hacker-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm
About the Author
David Tidmarsh is a programmer and writer. He’s worked as a software developer at MIT, has a B.A. in history from Yale, and is currently a graduate student in computer science at UT Austin.