Skills Required to Become a Ethical Hacker

Ethical Hacking is compromising computer systems for assessing security and acting in good faith by informing the vulnerable party. Ethical hacking is a key skill for many job roles related to securing the online assets of an organization. The professionals working on these job roles maintain the organization’s computers, servers, and other components of its infrastructure in working conditions preventing unauthorized access through non-physical channels.


People believe that “hacking” means to hack any website within a minute. This concept comes from watching movies, so they do not even know the original basic concept of what it means to hack or how to do it. To crack passwords or to steal data? No, Ethical Hacking is much more than that. Ethical hacking is to scan vulnerabilities and to find potential threats on a computer or network. An ethical hacker finds the weak points or loopholes in a computer, web applications, or network and reports them to the organization. So, let’s explore the skills required to become an ethical hacker.

1. Computer Networking Skills

One of the most important skills to become an ethical hacker is networking skills. The computer network is nothing but the interconnection of multiple devices, generally termed as Hosts connected using multiple paths to send/receive data or media. Understanding networks like DHCP, Suoernetting, Subnetting, and more will provide ethical hackers to explore the various interconnected computers in a network and the potential security threats that this might create, as well as how to handle those threats. To Learn computer networking refer Computer Network Tutorials.

2. Computer Skills

Computer skills are knowledge and ability which allow one to use computers and related technology. Typically, basic computer skills include data processing, managing computer files, and creating presentations. Advanced computer skills include managing databases, programming, and running calculations in spreadsheets. Some of the most essential computer skills are MS Office, Spreadsheets, Email, Database Management, Social Media, Web, Enterprise systems, etc. An ethical hacker needs to be a computer systems expert.

3. Linux Skills

Linux is a community of open-source Unix like operating systems that are based on the Linux Kernel. It is a free and open-source operating system and the source code can be modified and distributed to anyone commercially or non commercially under the GNU General Public License. The main reason to learn Linux for an ethical hacker is, in terms of security, Linux is more secure than any other operating system. It does not mean that Linux is 100 percent secure it has some malware for it but is less vulnerable than any other operating system. So, it does not require any anti-virus software.

4. Programming Skills

Another most important skill to become an ethical hacker is Programming Skills. So what does the word programming in the computer world actually means? It means, “The act of writing code understood by a computational device to perform various instructions.” So, to get better at programming, one will be writing a lot of code! Before one writes code he/she must choose the best programming language for his/her programming. Here is the list of programming languages used by ethical hackers along with where to learn these programming language.

5. Basic Hardware Knoweldge

Computer hardware comprises the physical parts of a computer, like the central processing unit (CPU), monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer data storage, graphics card, sound card, speakers and motherboard, etc. By contrast, the software is the set of instructions that can be stored and run by hardware. For example, suppose one wants to hack a machine that is controlled by a computer. First, he needs to know about the machine or how it works. Last, he has to get access to the computer that controls the machine. Now, the machine will have a very good software security system; however, hackers don’t care about hardware security, so he can play with the hardware if he can access it. If one doesn’t know about hardware, then how will he/she know how the motherboard works, how USBs to transfer data, or how CMOS or BIOS work together, etc.? So one must have basic hardware knowledge also to become an ethical hacker.

6. Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering is a process of recovering the design, requirement specifications, and functions of a product from an analysis of its code. It builds a program database and generates information from this. The objective of reverse engineering is to expedite the maintenance work by improving the understandability of a system and to produce the necessary documents for a legacy system. In software security, reverse engineering is widely used to ensure that the system lacks any major security flaws or vulnerabilities. It helps to make a system robust, thereby protecting it from hackers and spyware. Some developers even go as far as hacking their system to identify vulnerabilities – a system referred to as ethical hacking.

7. Cryptography Skills

Cryptography is the study and application of techniques for reliable communication in the presence of third parties called adversaries. It deals with developing and analyzing protocols that prevent malicious third parties from retrieving information being shared between two entities thereby following the various aspects of information security. Cryptography deals with converting a normal text/message known as plain text to a non-readable form known as ciphertext during the transmission to make it incomprehensible to hackers. An ethical hacker must assure that communication between different people within the organization does not leak. To learn the basics of cryptography refer to Network Security and Cryptography.

8. Database Skills

DBMS is the crux of creating and managing all databases. Accessing a database where all the information is stored can put the company in a tremendous threat, so ensuring that this software is hack-proof is important. An ethical hacker must have a good understanding of this, along with different database engines and data schemas to help the organization build a strong DBMS. To learn DBMS refer to Database Management System (DBMS).

9. Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving skills help one to determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. Apart from the technical skills pointed above, an ethical hacker also must be a critical thinker and dynamic problem solver. They must be wanting to learn new ways and ensure all security breaches are thoroughly checked. This requires tons of testing and an ingenious penchant to device new ways of problem-solving.

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