A Comprehensive Guide to Becoming an Ethical Hacker

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The term 'hacker' was once used to describe professionals who redeveloped mainframe systems, boosting their productivity and enabling multitasking. However, the term has recently come to refer to programmers who gain unauthorised access to a computer system with malicious intentions. A hacker uses his/her skills to break networks and impair the system causing problems in functioning and data theft. Ethical hackers have come into the picture to protect computer systems from such malicious activities.

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Theft of priceless information or monetary gain is the main motivation behind harmful or unethical hacking. With businesses and governments increasingly resorting to cloud storage to store data, cloud security is of utmost importance, amongst other things. This is where ethical hackers come in. This is the right time to build a career in ethical hacking, with lucrative job opportunities proliferating.

Read on to learn more about how to become an ethical hacker.

What is ethical hacking?

Ethical hacking is the legitimate practice that helps to find flaws in any application, computer system or organisation's infrastructure that goes beyond the security of the system. It uncovers potential data breaches and network risks. Ethical hacking helps to find vulnerabilities that can be exploited by black hats. 

Ethical hackers enhance the system security of a company and deflect any attacks by black hats. This is a planned and approved process which is absolutely legal as opposed to malicious hacking. Ethical hackers evaluate the system or network to find any loopholes that can be exploited by hackers. 

Roles and responsibilities of an ethical hacker

Companies employ ethical or white hat hackers to identify weaknesses in systems and create defences against them. Black hat hackers could steal the data and destroy the files, resulting in serious financial loss for the company. Following are the roles and responsibilities of an ethical hacker in an organisation:

  • Performing multiple system penetration tests to constantly check the security system
  • Locating and noting down any security weaknesses and violations
  • Conducting regular meetings with the company's security department to discuss the state of the current security system
  • Identifying the locations that require high security and focusing more on such areas
  • Conducting regular evaluation and assessment tests of the security system
  • Coming up with new ideas for strengthening system and network security
  • Assembling the penetration test reports for presenting them to clients
  • Implementing solutions to avoid harming the integrity of a company
  • Suggesting system security upgrades to protect data theft and breaches
  • Removing all of the breaches following a system vulnerability check

Benefits of ethical hacking

Ethical hackers are in demand as they are indispensable in organisations today. The following are the key advantages of ethical hacking:

  • Ethical hackers play a very important role in the fight against national security breaches and cyber terrorism.
  • It acts as a wall of protection against potential hacker assaults.
  • Ethical hackers build a system that is secure against any sort of hacker inclusions.
  • It also helps to protect crucial information in the banking and finance sectors.
  • Ethical hackers can prevent sensitive data loss with the correct measures in place.

Skills required to become an ethical hacker

To become an ethical hacker, one must have deep knowledge about protecting system security, network breaches, algorithms, etc. Here is a list of the major skills that one requires to become an ethical hacker:

  • Knowledge of programming: It is very important for security professionals working in the field of software development life cycle (SDLC). It enables them to write codes to protect them from malicious attacks.
  • Scripting knowledge: Security professionals who deal with host- and network-based assaults must have knowledge of scripting.
  • Networking skills: Networking is a very crucial skill because security threats generally arise from networks. A cybersecurity professional must know about the devices, their connections and how to protect them in case of any vulnerabilities.
  • Understanding of databases: Databases are the primary targets of attacks. Being familiar with database management systems like SQL will allow cybersecurity professionals to efficiently examine database activities.
  • Knowledge of hacking tools: A cyber security professional must be familiar with the various types of hacking tools available. One must be aware of the usage and application of such tools to effectively carry out the desired objectives. They must constantly update themselves on the different hacking tools and trends to keep ahead of black hats.


Ethical hacking is an excellent career option if you are interested in this discipline. Cyber security is a major concern in this technologically advancing world. The IIT cyber security course can be a perfect fit to learn everything about ethical hacking and related topics. You'll gain a detailed understanding of the information technology (IT) world. 

Sign up for the Advanced Certification Program in Cyber Security by IIT Roorkee and Imarticus Learning and gain all the insights from the eminent IIT faculty and learn job-relevant skills. 

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