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Know The 5Ws and 1H: How To Build A Career In The Field Of Ethical Hacking

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With technological advancements, the IT industry is growing at a rapid rate. Companies continue to generate a huge amount of data every day, leading to the increased requirement of professionals who could ensure the safety and security of this data. Over time, cybersecurity has brought lucrative career opportunities for skilled enthusiasts, the most lucrative one being ethical hacking. If you have a keen interest in making your career as an ethical hacker, here is everything that you need to know. 

Ethical hacking
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What Is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical hacking is the act of legally intruding into a system or network to detect its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. The practice helps the organisations to make sure that before a malicious hacker enters and exploits their network, the vulnerabilities are detected and dealt with.

Ethical hacking is basically testing the network and understanding the scope for improvement in it. Ethical hackers may or may not use the exact same techniques, tools, and measures used by attackers.

What differentiates them is that they have a permit from respective authorities that allows them to enter the network, scan, detect, and report all the vulnerabilities so that the organisation could strengthen their security measures. 

Why Is Ethical Hacking Needed?

Whether it is e-commerce, healthcare, blockchain, government, or any other sector, the requirement of ethical hacking is growing more than ever due to the risk of data theft. Had ethical hacking not been there, all the users’ data including passwords, credit card details, social security numbers, or sensitive corporate data could be easily stolen by malicious attackers.

Companies in every sector are dealing with enormous cyberattacks either done by competitor organisations or individuals involved in cybercrimes. To stand against such negative agents and to ensure data safety, organisations need hackers who can break into their web applications, devices, server, network, etc., and can create a protective shield.

To maintain the trust of the clients and secure user data, organisations deploy complex security technologies through ethical hacking that can not be broken by attackers. 

When Do Organisations Need Ethical Hackers? 

Organisations look up to ethical hackers when they want someone to use the general information of the company found online and try to penetrate into the system.

Last week, the database of one of the most popular food delivery apps in India was hacked. The hacker accessed major details of 17 million users including the names, user names, numeric user IDs, email, and password hashes.

These details were then put up on the darknet for sale without even considering a negotiation with the organisation. Such incidents could create a situation of panic as a lot of users generally keep the same password on their social media accounts, mobile applications, and even for mails.

Organisations need ethical hacking services all the time. Whether it is launching a new product, expanding the current product line, or branching out the business, companies have to keep on evaluating and improving their security measures to keep the user data secured.

During an ongoing attack, ethical hackers play a key role as they track the issue faster to stop it as soon as possible and reduce the organisations’ liability. 

Organisations look up to ethical hackers when they want someone to use the general information of the company found online and try to penetrate into the system. They want the ethical hackers to imitate attacks that could be done by malicious hackers, try to enter in the wireless system of the company, test routers, firewalls, and switches, and intrude into the company’s website and app to detect vulnerabilities before attackers could reach this stage. 

Where Is The Need For Ethical Hacking Felt: Career Opportunities For Ethical Hackers

Approximately, every industry today has some or all of its operations taking place online leading to growth in the requirement of ethical hackers. Some of the most prominent places where ethical hackers can work in different roles such as chief information security officer, information security analyst, ethical hacking trainer, network security administrator, and chief application security officer, include – 

  • Government (non-defence and defence) – The government, policymaker of every country contains a huge amount of sensitive data of each of its citizens and residents. Details about infantry weapons, missile systems, aircraft, radar, etc., and plans to deploy these in the situation of a national emergency is extremely confidential. The government needs ethical hackers to secure all this data and avoid unwanted intrusions. Within the government, ethical hackers could work in departments such as forensic, law, or investigative. 
  • Banking and finance – Public funds are extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To deploy robust security measures on all financial services such as debit and credit cards, online banking, mobile banking, foreign currency exchange, accepting deposits, and advancing of loans, banks need professional ethical hackers. They help the banks in the implementation of advanced security measures to secure every transaction and user details. 
  • Healthcare – In the number of cybercrimes taking place in pharmaceutical companies, India stands at the 6th position with various healthcare machines, equipment, and devices at stake. Nothing is more important for an economy than providing effective healthcare services to its people and keeping their information safe. Ethical hackers help the healthcare industry in securing their research results, latest medical formulas, and other sensitive details. 
  • Professional consulting firms – A community of ethical hackers could work independently and can form professional consultancies to provide companies with the required knowledge about ethical hacking. Organisations which do not hire ethical hackers, choose such services to get their networks scanned and issues reported. Hackers understand every organisation’s products and keep them informed about the latest practices in the cybersecurity world to avoid malicious risks. 

Ethical hacking

Who Can Do Ethical Hacking?

To perform ethical hacking, an individual must be aware of the latest technology and security concepts used in various sectors such as education, healthcare, e-commerce, automobile, and biotechnology. Ethical hackers are skilled individuals who are provided with access to a network by authorities to detect and report vulnerabilities in the system.

The individual must have basic computer and networking skills, programming skills with a good understanding of Linux, cryptography, database management systems (DBMS), and social engineering.

On a regular basis, ethical hackers have to build and develop their understanding of password guessing and cracking, network traffic sniffing, session spoofing and hijacking, exploiting buffer overflow vulnerabilities, denial of service attacks, SQL injection, and a lot more. Someone with all of these skills, a passion to pursue a career in cybersecurity, patience and persistence, and ability to upgrade her set of hacking skills with growing technology, can perform ethical hacking for organisations. 

How Can One Learn Ethical Hacking? 

Ethical hacking has turned into one of the most in-demand skills lately. Learning ethical hacking can be affordably done through online training. Online training comes with an array of benefits including the liberty of learning anytime from the comfort of your homes. Breakdown of the overall course into different modules accompanied by various exercises, quizzes, assessment tests, and code challenges makes the learning process stress-free, engaging, and interesting. Even a beginner with no understanding of programming can make a career in this field. 

After enrolling in an online ethical hacking training, you learn the basics of information security and computer networking. You also understand the concept of information gathering and basics of web development while getting an introduction to web VAPT, OWASP, and SQL injections. You learn about advanced web application attacks and how to perform client-side attacks.

You become proficient in identifying security misconfigurations and exploiting outdated web applications, automating VAPT and secure code development, and documenting and reporting vulnerabilities. The online training also features a real-world project where you utilise tools and techniques used by hackers to find weaknesses in an e-commerce website, which strengthens your practical understanding of everything that learn in the training. 

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (trainings.internshala.com) – an online training platform

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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