The Information Technology (IT) is one of the biggest and most popular industries in terms of establishing a career in the world today. Industry 4.0 has welcomed numerous technological advancements due to which specialised IT professionals have found prominence, not only in IT companies, but also in other industries. Perhaps, the most popular amongst them is a career in cyber security.
Over 1 billion cyber security professionals are expected to be in demand over the next 2 years in this field, making it one of the most lucrative career paths in the world today.
First, the magnitude of cyber-attacks prevalent in the industry must be discussed by understanding some of the most recent attacks. Last year, United Kingdom’s National Health Services was hacked due to which 19,500 medical appointments were cancelled and ambulances of over 5 hospitals were rerouted needlessly.
Despite being a mammoth organisation, National Health Services were unable to shelter themselves from such a large-scale hack. A leading nutrition app, MyFitnessPal, also underwent a massive security breach where the personal data of over 150 million users was stolen. The frequency of these attacks has increased off-late, making cyber-security critical in every organisation.
Ethical hacking in a nutshell
Large banks and jewellery stores often hire professional thieves to attempt robberies, so as to identify loopholes in their security systems. Through these trials, these institutions are able to consistently upgrade their security systems, to eventually reach a stage of becoming impenetrable.
Taking inspiration from this process, the cyber-security space has also turned the tables on hacking and made it a legalised concept through ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking is a process through which professionals are paid to hack into an organisation, in order to pinpoint vulnerabilities in the security system that the organisation needs to fix. Illegitimate hackers have also found legal prominence in the IT world today due to the growing importance of ethical hacking as a concept.
Utilising ethical hacking
Ethical hackers are hired and trained to use a multitude of techniques to try and breach different organisations. They help in the detection of gaps not only within the security system, but also those during cyber-attacks.
Government organisations wherein cyber warfare holds great prominence, ethical hackers are used to counteract attempts made by malicious hackers with the intent of outsmarting them, and keeping the data safe. Another application of ethical hacking is of aiding in the investigation that follows a cyber-attack.
Law enforcement agencies often hire ethical hackers in order to trace the steps of a hacker and identify the perpetuator.
Skills needed to become an ethical hacker
Considering the extremely technical nature of the profession, a simple degree is generally not enough to establish a successful career in the field a specialised training is necessary. Many leading IT institutions today offer certified courses in Ethical Hacking that comprise not only the basics of computer networking, but also elaborate techniques and leading processes for maintaining cyber-security.
Think creatively and out-of-the-box:
Apart from these technical concepts, it is also essential for ethical hackers to be able to think creatively and out-of-the-box. The reason hackers are evolving and are able to breach complicated security systems is because they are consistently trying to come up with new ways and approaches for the same.
Another important quality to possess is problem-solving, as the skill can be strengthened over time, and honed with experience and practical exposure. Thus, preparing for a career in ethical hacking has to comprise a good mix of both, technical and practical aspects.
Some of the biggest IT firms today like TCS, IBM, and more have realised the growing demand amongst their clients for specialised ethical hacking teams, devoted to improving cyber-security.
However, there is a very obvious skill gap in the industry today, and therefore, a lack of quality personnel in the field. Owing to the gap between the demand and supply of ethical hackers, this career path has become extremely lucrative with massive scope in the future.