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The Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker

Ethical hackers are cybersecurity professionals who help companies check the integrity of their networks, software programs, cloud computing platforms, cybersecurity measures, and other parts of their IT infrastructure. During this exercise, they will find vulnerabilities and weak points and try everything possible to exploit them to gain access to the system. 

Ethical hackers are expected to assume the role of cybercriminals, but they do not use the vulnerabilities they find for anything nefarious. Instead, they create a vulnerability report and present it to other cybersecurity professionals in their company. These professionals will use the findings in the report to improve the company’s online security.

Ethical hacking is a vital part of cybersecurity because it helps software developers and business leaders find bugs and attack vectors in their systems before real cybercriminals do. However, to perform this role optimally, professionals need the following skills:

Reverse Engineering

To find exploits in the components of an IT infrastructure, an ethical hacker must be able to reverse engineer them to understand how they were designed and how they work. Reverse engineering includes the analysis of their code, algorithm, data structures, and interaction with other components. 

Programming

Ethical hackers need to know how to write in different programming languages like Ruby, PHP, HTML, C++, and Python so they can examine and analyze the codebase of the software they want to hack. This knowledge will also help them to work with other cybersecurity professionals to create solutions for the vulnerabilities they find.

SQL

SQL skills help ethical hackers detect and understand the vulnerabilities in databases and web applications. Most web applications store and retrieve their data from databases. These databases could be subject to SQL injection attacks. Ethical hackers can use their SQL knowledge to find weaknesses in the database and demonstrate how they can be exploited.

Hardware Knowledge

Knowing about the hardware components in an organization’s IT infrastructure is vital for ethical hackers because they need to assess them to find vulnerabilities and possible attack points. Some hardware companies have design flaws that leave them exposed to possible cyber attacks. Ethical hackers are expected to conduct vulnerability assessments on these devices to determine if they can be used for regular business operations.

Problem-Solving

Ethical hacking can be difficult because some IT infrastructure components are difficult to penetrate. Regardless, ethical hackers should be good problem solvers because they need to find vulnerabilities, exploit them, and think of ways they can be patched. If they do not have the right problem-solving skills, cybercriminals might be more determined than them to find the vulnerabilities that exist in an IT infrastructure. Then, they will exploit them to cause a data breach.

Endnote

Ethical hacking is a crucial part of cybersecurity because it helps companies and software developers ensure that their IT infrastructure and applications are secure. The goal of ethical hacking is to find and exploit the potential vulnerabilities in a system so they can be patched. To be an ethical hacker, you need to know programming, and reverse engineering, and be adept at solving problems. You should also be knowledgeable in the other skills mentioned above. 

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