Published: 07th February 2018
Break into the career boom that ethical hacking is exploding with
Ethical hackers are cyber security experts who are capable of breaching security systems. The purpose behind this is to identify weaknesses in the security systems
Just like every other place demands security, even internet security has become much-needed in today’s day and age. To borrow an oft-used sporting metaphor ‘Offence is the new defence’ and it applies heavily to today’s borderless environment. Hence, ethical hacking, no doubt, is fast becoming one of the most demanding professions in the world today.
There is practically no company in existence today that does not have huge amounts of sensitive data, records, client details and so on stored digitally. Though they invest millions in cyber security to keep it safe, you can never be sure how safe it is from being hacked until the security firewalls are opened up to attacks.
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This is where an ethical hacker comes into action. They are technically skilled experts who strive to solve problems and prevent mischievous hackers. If you turn time a decade back, the meaning of the word ‘internet’ was limited only to entertainment, but today, thanks to digitalisation in the world, there is a revolution in technology. Let me give you an example — a year ago, India used to have 15-20 million smartphones and today, we have over 250 million smartphones. I refer to this era as digital 2.0, where not only entertainment but technology is way more connected to our financial life. When you have to go out somewhere, you pull out your mobile phone and book a cab via ride apps like Ola or Uber, or when you want to gift something to someone or want to buy something for yourself, there are many e-commerce sites, out there.
When this is the scenario, then there is a huge risk of cyber attacks which are increasing on these platforms. Truth be told, as you are reading this, there are already more than 50,000 attacks happening in the world at any given point in time. With this massive technology revolution, there are a huge number of problems arising and to tackle that you need to have people with the same cyber skills as cyber criminals, but who use these skills to audit the technologies and identify flaws that can be patched before any cyber criminal can take advantage of that. So it is a no-brainer to say that by 2030, cyber security will be at the top as a career option for youngsters.
The role of an ethical hacker is to conduct advanced penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems. Hackers often employ innovative strategy and coding prowess to beat company firewalls
Recently, hacks like Equifax, where in the USA 145 million users’ critical information was released by hackers on the dark web, showed the kind of monetary loss that a company can face. That one hack reduced the evaluation of the company by more than $6 billion. Just like that!
Hence, these days people in boardrooms are concerned about the massive IT infrastructure of their organisations and assigning budgets to hire organisations employing ethical hackers to ensure that they do not become a victim of any kind of cyber attacks. But one thing youngsters must understand before jumping into the all-consuming, data-heavy information security domain, is that they must have an extremely strong understanding of technology. If you know how the technology works then and only then will you be able to find flaws in the same. It’s also a constantly evolving game that seldom ends. So you cannot afford to sit back and relax. You have to stay updated, every day.
(The author is the Vice-President of Lucideus. He is an expert in cyber security training and has held multiple pieces of training, starting from the top leadership of Fortune 500 companies, IT managers, developers and budding students. With over a decade’s experience in cyber training, he has also helped various cyber crime cells and intelligence agencies across the country, Cyber Crime Cell in Punjab being one of them.)