— Nitya Sai Saumya
Recently, 21 websites, including a budget website that belongs to the government of Andhra Pradesh were hacked by a team of hackers.This incident gained attention because the websites belonged to the government. Everyday, somewhere in the world, the security of some website, network or email account is at stake. It may belong to a government organisation, bank, IT company, telecom company or an individual. Such incidents lead to serious deliberation on the safety of our networks in the cyber world. A well accepted solution to this challenge is to apply ‘ethical hacking,’ to increase the safety of networks.
Ethical hacking, in simple terms is hacking, but for good reasons. Ethical hackers or ‘white hats’ do the same job as hackers - spot a minute loophole to breach the security of the most secure networks. Other hackers take advantage of security loopholes and steal confidential information, intercept critical data, spread virus, add or delete data, masquerade identity or cause damage. However, ethical hackers report the loopholes in the security system to the owners and provide solutions to protect the network. In other words, ethical hackers try to penetrate networks, detect the vulnerabilities in the security systems and fix them before any miscreant can take advantage of it.
Career: Learning from experien-ces of others and their own, today, many organisations are recruiting ethical hackers into their IT teams to protect network security. Others are hiring ethical hacking companies to conduct audits and suggest fixes. So, ethical hacking as a career option is definitely a promising bet.
According to a survey conducted by the International Data Corp, there is a demand for over 60,000 information security personnel worldwide. It is estimated to grow to over 77,000 in India and 188,000 worldwide in next few of years. In India, Wipro, Dell, Reliance, Google, Accenture, IBM and Infosys are some organisations hiring ethical hackers.
Jobs: Ethical hackers can find employment in ethical hacking and information security companies. Primarily, the job would be to use hacking tools, techniques and tactics to breach security protocols, evaluate security of networks, applications and website, and implement measures to prevent intrusions.
IT firms are another popular option. Based on academic background and work experience, ethical hackers can don the roles of network security administrators, network defence analysts, web security administrators, application security testers, security analysts, forensic analysts, penetration testers and security auditors. Database developers, software developers and web designers are some more options. Typically, the job role would be to develop and test IT products and services of organisations and ensure that they are as secure as possible. Secure programming, authorised hacking and network security surveillance are specialisations in this domain.
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Defence organisations, forensic laboratories, detective companies, investigative services and law enforcement agencies offer roles that challenge the expertise of ethical hackers, four time to time. Those with a taste for adventure and proficiency in cryptography and forensics can venture into this domain.
With organisations expanding exponentially and taking their business global, the dependence on IT infrastructure has increased. Organisations across industries are now maintaining their own IT teams. These organisations can hire ethical hackers based on their requirement.
The growth in this field is promising. A professional who begins his career as network security administrator or application security tester can grow to become the Chief Information Security Officer or Chief Application Security Officer.
Remuneration: A beginner can expect a pay package between Rs.3-6 lakhs per annum. Candidates with higher academic qualifications and work experience draw up to Rs.30 lakhs based on the job role. In India, these jobs are primarily are located in places like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. According to K.K. Mookhney, founder and principal consultant of NIIC Consulting, “Salaries for information security professionals are at least 20-30 per cent higher than for most other positions at the same level in other fields of IT.”
Skills: Sound technical knowledge of hacking techni-ques and hands-on experience of implementing tools are important to begin a career in the field of ethical hacking. Good knowledge of Networking, Operating Systems, and Progra-mming can provide an extra edge during job search and later.
Honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are highly essential in this field.
Passion for the subject, analytical thinking, investigative nature, instinct to problem solving and fervour to face challenges are essential traits that earn success. To maintain consistent growth, constantly updating knowledge is imperative.
Academic credentials: Graduates/postgraduates and engineers in Computer Science/Information Technology and allied streams can take up a course in Ethical Hacking. A certification from a reputed institute enhances the chances of getting hired. International certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (EC-Council), Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (EC-Council), GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN) offered by SAN and GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) can further improve job prospects. The training for the certifications is available in regular and online modes.
So, if you have strong computer networking skills, love challenges, are eager to solve problems, then, take the training in ethical hacking and get the licence to hack!
Colleges and courses:
Institute Course Eligibility Admission Website
DOEACC, PG Diploma in Graduation in IT, Marks obtained in www.cedtic.com
Calicut Information Security Computer Science or the qualifying exami-
and System Electronics/ Engineering, nation/ entrance test/
Administration MCA, DOEACC O level, interview
A Level, B Level, PGDCA
Offered at Ankit Fadia Certified Basic knowledge of net- -NA- www.ankitfadia.in
all Reli- Ethical Hacker working concepts and
ance across India course programming
Institute of o CISSP Training Basic knowledge of -NA- www.iisecurity.in
Informa- o Certified Profe- computer networking
tion ssional Forensics
o Certified Infor-
o Certified Profe-
University M.Sc in Cyber A degree in Computer Entrance test www.unom.ac.in
of Madras Forensics and Science/Computer
Information Security Applications /Information
Technology / Mathematics/
Physics/ Statistics/ Electro-
nic Science or BE/ B.Tech
Interna- M. Tech in Com- B.Tech in CS/ ECE/ IT or Entrance examination www.iiit.net
tional puter Science and MCA with B.Sc. (Mathe-
Institute of Information Security matics) or M.Sc (Mathe-
Information matics/ CS)
SRM M.Tech in Informa B.E/ B.Tech (CSE/ IT/ ECE/ SRM EEE/ GATE www.srmuniv.ac.in
University tion Security and EEE), M.Sc (Computer
Computer Forensics Science/ IT/ Electronics) or
Kalasali- M.Tech in Informa- BE/ B.Tech in EEE/ ECE/ EI/ Entrance examination ww.kalasalingam. ngam tion Assurance and IC/ IT/ CSE/ Electronics or ac.in
University Security MCA
Amrita M.Tech in Cyber BE/B Tech in CSE/IT/ECE or Marks obtained in www.amrita.edu
School of Security equivalent with a minimum qualifying examin-
Enginee- of 60 per cent marks ation/
ring, Amrita GATE/ GD/ PI
The author is with TM1E2e Academy involved in training as a partner Company of National Skill Development Corporation, Govt. of India. e-mail: email@example.com