An ethical hacker (also known as a white hat hacker) is a security professional. Ethical hackers are adept at determining vulnerabilities and deficiencies in computer systems. These revelations will result in more secure measures to thwart a malicious hacker (or a black hat hacker). A white hat hacker experiments with techniques to see where the weak spots are in an entity’s security system. It is more prudent to test your own equipment for possible areas that could be breached. Otherwise, the black hats could penetrate vital company information and records.
We have not been able to identify any U.S. colleges offering a bachelor’s degree in ethical hacking. It is typically integrated into computer science, information systems security, network security, or cybersecurity programs. In each of these, there will be a few courses available covering the subject. For example, a course titled Hacker Techniques, Tools, and Incident Handling. It explores the key terms and techniques that a professional in security needs to know about hackers and computer criminals or black hats. You will also explore a technical overview of hacking: the methods often used by unethical hackers and how they are able to attack computer networks.
What businesses require Ethical Hackers?
This is one sector where management strives to attract cybersecurity personnel. This is imperative since the July 2014 hack into JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States. The hack compromised the data of more than half of all households in the United States. This amounted to 76 million personal accounts and 7 million small businesses. The personal information obtained, included data included contact information – names, addresses, email addresses, and even phone numbers.
In 2013, the credit card details of 110 million Target card-holders was compromised. Target originally suspected that the hackers had gained entry into their systems by means of an outsourced HVAC supplier.
The government is not immune from the ravages of hackers. One incident took place in between 2012 and 2014 when criminals accessed the records of 22 million current and former employees. This occurred in the Office of Personnel Management. The feds suspected the hackers were China-based. Further investigation revealed that the criminal activity began in 2012, but was not discovered until March 2014.
Individuals with the requisite computer/cyber security skills plus certifications may become freelance hackers. You can actually make money as a freelancer hacking into the computer systems of companies, such as Western Union and Google. You earn cash rewards that vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The cash programs have been labeled- bug bounties. Google paid $3 million through their bounty program in 2016.
Another example is the online retailer, Jet.com. They invite hackers to make them aware of security issues. According to Bug Crowd, freelancing hackers earned an average of $2,464.28 per validated vulnerability from the online retailer.
A further example is the payment service, Square that allows payments from a computer or mobile provider. They monitor every transaction in order to mitigate fraud and protect the businesses’ data of their clients. Their incentive program pays hackers $300 for a low vulnerability breach and up to $5,000 for a Critical one.
Hackers and security leaders driven to make a safer internet founded HackerOne. Major corporations worldwide use this company’s services for their vulnerability and penetration tests, and bug bounty rewards’ programs. The company works with the hacker community globally to keep abreast of current security concerns for their customers. With the purpose of thwarting criminal activity.
An example in this sector is Cresttek, which in the engineering services business. Founded in 2013, they have office in the U.S. and India. They provide support for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) with automotive engineering services. They have a job posted on Indeed seeking a Certified Ethical Hacker to conduct tests on their remotely controlled vehicle services. These consist of remote door lock/unlock, theft alarm notification, remote start/stop, horns and lights, emergency calls, stolen vehicle location, and more.
Employment sites, such as Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed and others all have job postings for ethical hackers. The beauty is the diversity of companies seeking these professionals. Household names, like Verizon, Lenovo, Motorola, Microsoft, United Airlines, and many more hire hackers. There is no specific sector where ethical hackers work due to the pervasiveness of black-hat hacking.