An ethical hacker is usually employed by an organisation to protect its computer network.
He has to be trustworthy enough to undertake an attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems, using the same methods as a hacker would — but his job is to devise a foolproof system to prevent hacking of the network, too. Hacking is felony, but when it is done on request and under a contract between an ethical hacker and an organisation, it is legal
What do they do?
As a 12-year-old, Ankit Fadia allegedly hacked the website of a magazine. That was when this ‘ethical hacker’ had just learnt to take baby steps in a cyberspace still at its nascent stages. After this ‘intelligent’ intrusion, and afraid of the probable fallout, Fadia went into damage control mode. Within a day, he sent an e-mail to the editor, suggesting preventive measures… and got himself a job.
Bowled over by Fadia’s intelligence, the editor hired him then and there.
Twelve years later, Fadia has made a name for himself in ethical hacking and runs the programme ‘Ankit Fadia Certified Ethical Hacker’.
“We would need many ethical hackers to make the huge Indian IT industry secure,” says Fadia. “Those interested in making a career out of it can study ethical hacking and, with it, do a Master’s or Bachelor’s in computer applications.”
You will then have three career options. As a penetration tester, you will test the feasibility of firewalls (part of the network that blocks unauthorised access while permitting outward communication) created to protect web portals.
As a networking specialist, you will ensure the safety of an organisation’s computer network, which facilitates online links between staff for sharing data and interacting with each other. Even small gaps in this network security can sabotage the system.
The third job option, that of an application security professional, involves preventing intrusions in the application software used by organisations.
“The demand for penetration testers and network specialists is growing,” says Fadia.
“BPOs, finance, banking and IT require ethical hackers. Firms like Reliance hire 100-150 of them.”
However, few institutes offer a course in hacking. This probably relates to fears that the training could be misused. In India, ethical hacking is still a new domain — but thanks to Fadia, at least the beginning has been made.
Source: HT Horizons
. The most important prerequisite before one studies to become an ethical hacker is to ace computer networking knowledge
. Expertise in at least one application like Java or C++
. Knowledge of the functioning of UNIX
. One should have an analytical approach and should probe every functioning with a critical bent of mind
How do I get there?
First of all, one should work in a company on networking designs, administration principles, system designs or application software. You can undergo a certificate/ diploma programme in ethical hacking to earn merit over others. These certifications like ‘Ankit Fadia Certified Ethical Hacker’ and ‘Certified Ethical Hacker’ run by EC-Council are not approved by any university but there is no alternate and reliable bet in the market