Skills Required to Become an Ethical Hacker

Skills allow you to achieve your desired goals within the available time and resources. As a hacker, you will need to develop skills that will help you get the job done. These skills include learning how to program, use the internet, good at solving problems, and taking advantage of existing security tools.

In this article, we will introduce you to the common programming languages and skills that you must know as a hacker.


As an ethical hacker, you will need to understand various hacking techniques such as −

  • Password guessing and cracking
  • Session hijacking
  • Session spoofing
  • Network traffic sniffing
  • Denial of Service attacks
  • Exploiting buffer overflow vulnerabilities
  • SQL injection

In this chapter, we will discuss some of the skills that you would require to become an expert in Ethical Hacking.

Basic Skills

Computer Hacking is a Science as well as an Art. Like any other expertise, you need to put a lot of effort in order to acquire knowledge and become an expert hacker. Once you are on the track, you would need more effort to keep up-to-date with latest technologies, new vulnerabilities and exploitation techniques.

  • An ethical hacker must be a computer systems expert and needs to have very strong programming and computer networking skills.
  • An ethical hacker needs to have a lot of patience, persistence, and perseverance to try again and again and wait for the required result.

Additionally, an ethical hacker should be smart enough to understand the situation and other users’ mind-set in order to apply social engineering exploits. A good ethical hacker has great problem-solving skills too.

What is a programming language?

A programming language is a language that is used to develop computer programs. The programs developed can range from operating systems; data based applications through to networking solutions.

programming

Why should you learn how to program?

  • Hackers are the problem solver and tool builders, learning how to program will help you implement solutions to problems. It also differentiates you from script kiddies.
  • Writing programs as a hacker will help you to automate many tasks which would usually take lots of time to complete.
  • Writing programs can also help you identify and exploit programming errors in applications that you will be targeting.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time, and there are a number of open source programs that are readily usable. You can customize the already existing applications and add your methods to suit your needs.

What languages should I learn?

The answer to this question depends on your target computer systems and platforms. Some programming languages are used to develop for only specific platforms. As an example, Visual Basic Classic (3, 4, 5, and 6.0) is used to write applications that run on Windows operating system. It would, therefore, be illogical for you to learn how to program in Visual Basic 6.0 when your target is hacking Linux based systems.

Programming languages that are useful to hackers

  1. HTML
  2. JavaScript
  3. PHP
  4. SQL
  5. Python
  6. Ruby
  7. Bash
  8. Perl
  9. C & C++
  10. Java
  11. CSharp
  12. Visual Basic
  13. VBScript
  14. etc. …

Other skills

In addition to programming skills, a good hacker should also have the following skills:

  • Know how to use the internet and search engines effectively to gather information.
  • Get a Linux-based operating system and the know the basics commands that every Linux user should know.
  • Practice makes perfect, a good hacker should be hard working and positively contribute to the hacker community. He/she can contribute by developing open source programs, answering questions in hacking forums, etc.

Courses & Certifications

This tutorial provides the basic guidelines to become a successful Ethical Hacker. If you want to excel in this field, then you might choose to pursue the following courses and certifications −

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or A+ Certificate to gain an understanding of the most common hardware and software technologies.
  • Get into a programmer’s role for a few years and then switch to get a tech support position.
  • Proceed to get network certifications like Network+ or CCNA and then security certifications like Security+, CISSP, or TICSA.
  • It is recommended that you get some work experience as a Network Engineer and System Administrator to understand networks and systems inside out.
  • Keep going through various books, tutorials and papers to understand various computer security aspects and take them as a challenge to secure your network and computer systems as network security engineer.
  • Study courses which cover creating Trojan horses, backdoors, viruses, and worms, denial of service (DoS) attacks, SQL injection, buffer overflow, session hijacking, and system hacking.
  • Master the art of penetration testing, footprinting and reconnaissance, and social engineering.
  • Finally go for a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification.

GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification) and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) are additional IT security certifications which will add a lot of value to your profile.


Final Note

You need to stay as a White Hat Hacker which means you need to work within given boundaries. Never intrude or attack any computer or network without a required permission from the authorities.

As a final note, it is highly recommended that you refrain from engaging yourself in black hat hacking which may spoil your entire career.

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