Programming Languages You Must Master to Become an Ethical Hacker

Securing and Defending Digital Infrastructure: Essentials Concepts of Cybersecurity

The interaction between man and machine is growing by leaps and bounds daily. With this comes the rise of hackers willing to exploit cyberspace with malicious intent. 

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Ethical hacking ensures the protection of vulnerable systems and data. The role of ethical hackers in finding chinks in the cybersecurity armour is invaluable. They use various tools to figure out the system’s shortcomings and offer remedies.

Want to know which programs an ethical hacker should learn? Read on to find out.

Programming languages every ethical hacker should know

Here are some programming languages every ethical hacker must know:

  • Python

It is one of the easiest high-level programming languages to learn for beginners. This open-source language is free and has a basic syntax. As a result, it is a common language for the creation of web and desktop applications, games and automated software.

An ethical hacker can use this language for malware analysis, debugging, reverse engineering and hex editors. Some hacking libraries on Python are Scapy, IMPACT and Cryptography.

  • Java

The Tiobe Index lists Java as the third most popular programming language in the world in February 2023. This object-oriented, class-based programming language is used in software development, hardware programming, and data analytics.

Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android are operating systems that deploy Java. Mastering Java can enable an ethical hacker to make worms and create false attacks on many systems to make security checks.

  • JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level programming language popularly used for web and app development. 

Another easily comprehensible object-oriented programming language, JavaScript is a favourite amongst hackers for performing cross-site scripting attacks. They access cookies and data by inserting scripts via web browsers. In the wrong hands, JavaScript facilitates credential theft and authentication fraud.

Thus, mastering Java becomes invaluable for an ethical hacker. White-hat hackers can run scripts they create to check how the cybersecurity system deals with it and develop strategies for defence. 

  • C

C is the first low-level language on our list. This language can be used to program hardware, and build operating systems, compilers and databases. Hackers can use C programming to access system processes and memory and attack low-level components like RAM.

The biggest strength of C programming is its speed. This allows white-hat hackers to make any system functional and robust with minimum functioning time.

Ethical hackers can use this programming language to mimic a cyberattack and find faults in the system. C programming is used by OS like Unix and Windows, making it a useful ethical hacking tool.

  • C++

C++ is a low-level language belonging to the C family. It is a popular language for programming browsers, graphics, games, and operating systems. Like C, C++ is used by hackers to gain access to components like memory and databases.

This general-purpose language is a must-learn for any ethical hacker. Its cross-functionality allows expert hackers to quickly infiltrate systems.

  • Perl

Initially, Perl was a programming language for text manipulation. This dynamic language has now evolved to perform network routing, access servers and databases, exploit data and send scripts to the back end of an application.

Hackers use Perl to infiltrate systems and steal data with ease. To identify points where the software may be breached, every ethical hacker should master this general-purpose language.

  • PHP

PHP stands for Personal Home Page. As the name suggests, it is used for scripting the user-facing side of an application. Attacks using PHP can shut down the front end, making users unable to access the website or application. Hackers also use it for DoS (Denial of Service).

Ethical hackers can learn PHP to ensure the protection of the front end. They can also use this language to detect potential faults in the architecture and patch them before infiltration occurs.

  • Ruby

Ruby is a popular high-level web-oriented language. This language is the first choice of many for writing exploit code. Metasploit, a Ruby framework, is widely used for the exploitation of system faults.

Ethical hackers can use the flexibility of this language to create scripts of various sizes. It is used for efficient testing and fast and efficient code writing.

  • SQL

Short for Structured Query Language, SQL helps relational databases to query, insert and modify data. Hackers can take advantage of this to block queries and steal sensitive information. They do this by bypassing app security protocols and eliminating the need for authorisation to access data.

Ethical hackers equipped with knowledge of SQL can protect databases from such malicious attacks. They protect information by simulating attacks and figuring out solutions to SQL injection attacks.


Programming languages used to design various software are the tools hackers use to infiltrate the system. An ethical hacker should have mastery over multiple programming languages to anticipate, simulate and protect against cyberattacks. 

If a career in cybersecurity is your dream, then consider applying to the Certification Program in Cyber Security from IIT Roorkee. This online course teaches advanced skills to make you proficient in ethical hacking and cybersecurity.

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