Comprehensive Guide to help you become an Ethical Hacker

Ethical Hacking is a perfect career choice for those interested in communication, IT security, and problem-solving. This article aims at serving as a  guide to become an ethical hacker. It includes detailed information about the field, an ethical hacker’s role, some of the skills required, and strategies for landing a job as a white-hat hacker. Traditionally offensive and defensive cyber security pursuits have been described using the monikers of blackhat hackers and white-hat hackers. These terms are commonly used today to distinguish the good and bad guys. One of the cyber security professionals’ nicknames is adequately descriptive of today’s various roles found in the modern cyber security ecosystem. The white hat hackers are now known as ethical hackers, penetration testers, the red team, and the blue team. Blue teams provide defensive services, red teams provide offensive security services, and purple teams are the combination that provides some of each flavor of security service. 


Table of Contents


  • Ethical Hacking
  • Who is an Ethical Hacker?
  • Required Skills
  • Certifications


The last section of the blog talks about cyber security certifications online and how to become a cyber security expert


Ethical Hacking


The term ‘hacking’ is believed to have a very negative interpretation, but that’s only until ethical hackers’ role is fully understood. Ethical hackers can be referred to as the good guys of the hacking world- the ones who wear the ‘white hat’. An ethical hacker’s role entails identifying weaknesses in data computer security for organizations and businesses across the globe for protecting them from hackers with less honest motives rather than using advanced computer knowledge for nefarious activities. Engineers or security analysts are also the job titles that many include offensive elements. These security services are often rolled up under a vulnerability management group and a threat within the company. There are some minor technical differences between the services provided by an in-house pentester and an independent offensive cyber security consultant. However, the various names for ethical hackers can be used interchangeably. 


The primary purpose of ethical Hacking to view security from the adversary’s perspective to find vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit. This presents the defensive teams with an opportunity to mitigate by devising a patch before a real attack can occur. The objective is fulfilled by executing simulated cyberattacks in a controlled environment. While most of the value ethical hacking provides is related to testing devices and security controls for perimeter penetration vulnerabilities, the field also looks more broadly for weaknesses that can be exploited deep within an application or network, such as data exfiltration vulnerabilities. 


Who is an Ethical Hacker?


An ethical hacker is a professional who hacks into a computer network to evaluate or test its security, rather than with criminal or malicious intent. Ethical hackers can be employed by a firm specializing in simulated offensive cyber security services or can be independent freelance consultants and even in-house employees protecting a company’s apps or websites. An in red house team’s advantage is that the team has a more intimate understanding of how their applications and systems are constructed than an independent consultant. The advantage holds to the point the view doesn’t become myopic. In-house teams are also considered to be less expensive than utilizing a consulting firm continuously.

On the other hand, an external ethical hacker provides a fresh set of eyes to identify shortcomings that have been overlooked by the internal team. Organizations that employ an internal red team may occasionally contract an external ethical hacker for a fresh perspective. The external offensive security service provider requires written permission from the client before starting any offensive activity. The scope of service is also limited. 


The industry uses various colors to delineate various cyber security functions and roles. They are black-box, white-box, and gray- box ethical hacker engagements. A white-box hacker is a cyber security professional with as much information as possible about the target system. This allows the simulated attack to go deep and wide very quickly to take a real bad element a very long time to uncover. Simultaneously, a black-box engagement is when no inside information is provided to the ethical hacker. This is more close to a real attack and provides valuable insight into a real attack’s vectors. Gray-box engagement, as the name implies, denotes the simulation of an attack where the attacker has already penetrated the system and spent some time inside. Many firms enlist all three engagement types in partnership with external and in-house ethical hackers. This variation of applied knowledge provides the best view of what protections must be used and also, which would be less expensive. 


Skills Required


As a white hat. one needs to be well versed in the following areas to enter into the IT security field:


  1. Programming
  2. Networking
  3. Operating Systems(Windows and Linux)
  4. Databases


If one knows the above fields, then Hacking can be learned. Having the fundamental knowledge of IT can help one break some of the underlying vulnerabilities within computer architecture. Above and beyond strong technical skills and good ethics is a unique mix of analytical and creative thinking. Ethical hackers must think like the adversary, understand the bad actors’ motives, and estimate the effort and time the blackhat might apply towards the specific target. To do this, the pentester must understand the value of the system and the data it protects. 




A certified Ethical Hacker is a skilled professional who knows and understands the vulnerabilities and shortcomings in target systems and employs the same tools and techniques as a malicious hacker, but legitimately and lawfully to assess the security posture system. A cyber security certification certifies individuals in the specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective. Information security certifications and cyber security training are the right places to start your career. These would provide a foundation for work in the security field. Check out the Global Tech Council for cyber security training online.