Ethical Hacking: Top Courses and Certifications

Wondering what a career in ethical entails? Let’s find out all you need to know about ethical hacking and how it can prove to be a lucrative career option for you.

Ethical Hacking
Ethical Hacking

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word 'hacker'? Identify theft?Cyber crime? It is not surprising that most people have such negative connotations attached to the concept of hacking given the sharp increase in the number of such crimes. . But, hacking is not always negative! While there are a lot of hackers who use Internet to steal crucial information, there is also an army of keyboard warriors who work relentlessly to protect you against cybercrimes. They are called ‘Ethical Hackers’.

 Let’s look at the key aspects ofcareers in ethical hacking and understand how you can become one yourself, to protect others in this increasingly tech-dependent world.

What is Ethical Hacking?

Hacking, in general, is termed as the activity to gain unauthorized access to data in a computer system. When this activity is carried out with the knowledge and permission of the person whose data is being accessed as well as within ambit of the legal framework, it is termed as ethical hacking. Ethical hacking helps companies, firms, organizations and government agencies to identify vulnerabilities in computer network systems and overcome them in time. Many a times, government agencies and corporate firms hire ethical hackers to identify cybercrime threats to their network systems.

Who are Ethical Hackers?

Ethical Hackers, also known as ‘White Hat Hackers’, are certified hacking professionals who use their hacking skills in a legitimate and lawful manner to help find and fix vulnerabilities in a computer network. It helps organizations improve their cyber security systems based on the problems and issues pointed out by them. International bodies like EC-Council provide certifications to professionals interested in pursuing a career in Ethical Hacking.

Why Study Ethical Hacking?

The advent of the digital age has made our lives simpler and easier, but at the same time, it has also exposed us to new threats and challenges such as cybercrimes. This has compelled companies, organizations and even governments to find qualified and certified ethical hackers who can deal with these new age threats. In addition to this, with rapid expansion of the IT infrastructure in the country, a large number of people are being exposed to digital services. This further increases the need forkeyboard warriors who can protect these people, their information and data.

This increased need makes ethical hacking a little ‘out-of-the-box’ but lucrative career option. Apart from joining organizations or firms, ethical hackers can also pick up freelance projects from clients. This gives them the freedom and flexibility that other career options do not offer.

Who can become an Ethical Hacker?

This is a tricky question, as there are no defined eligibility criteria to become an ethical hacker, be it in India or at the international level. Being a nascent field, even the courses and curriculum that are defined for ethical hacking programmes are fluid. In fact, majority of the known ethical hackers are self-taught.However, in general, anyone with dedication and good knowledge of computer programs and languages can become an ethical hacker irrespective of their age or academic qualifications.However, you have better chances of employment as an ethical hacker at big firms if you havecertifications from reputed institutes that offer courses in ethical hacking. For these courses or certification programmes, the eligibility criteria differ from one programme to another and at times even from one institute to another. Therefore, you must check the eligibility criteria from the respective institute that you are planning to join for a course on ethical hacking. In most cases, a graduate or post-graduate degree in computer science, IT or computer engineering is enough to seek admission to certificate level programmes on computer and network security.

Which Ethical Hacking Courses are available in India?

Despite being a lucrative career option for students, not many colleges and professional institutes offer courses in ethical hacking in India. This can be attributed to the negative perception of people towards the profession of hacking. However, slowly and steadily this perception is changing and a few institutes have started offering courses in ethical hacking or have started offering them as part of a larger academic programme on computer and network security. The key among them are:

Institute Name

Course Offered

DOEACC, Calicut

PG Diploma in Information Security and System Administration

Reliance World Outlets

AnkitFadia Certified Ethical Hacker Course

Institute of Information Security

CISSP Training
Certified Professional Forensics Consultants
Certified Information Security Consultant
Certified Professional Hacker

University of Madras

M.Sc in Cyber Forensics and Information Security

International Institute of Information Technology

M.Tech in Computer Science and Information Security.

SRM University

M.Tech in Information Security and Computer Forensic

Kalasalingam University

M.Tech in Information Assurance and Security

Some of the popular certifications at the international level are -

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (EC-Council)
  • Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (EC-Council)
  • GIAC Certified Penetration Tester (GPEN) by SAN and GIAC
  • Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA) can further improve the job prospects.

Ethical Hacking - Specialization Options

Although the field of ethical hacking is still in its nascent phase in India, the pace at which security threats to computer systems is expanding, it has already given rise to several specialization options. The key specializations among them are:

  • Secure Coding – Developing programmes that are not vulnerable to cyber security threats.
  • Malware Analysis- Analyse evolving security threats and develop counter measures to overcome them
  • Network Security – Strengthen network systems against threats and vulnerabilities
  • Cryptography – Develop crack-proof security systems for safeguarding important data and information

Being an ethical hacker is more of a passion than profession. Security measures, especially in digital domain are never fool-proof and therefore ethical hackers have to be constantly updated with latest developments in the field of computer and network security. If you are genuinely interested in computer technology and in keeping the digital world secure, ethical hacking should be the ideal programme for you.

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