Hacking comes in all shapes and sizes, and with it, comes a great deal of opportunity to become a professional hacker, one who makes a career out of unique IT knowledge and skill. While the world is full of corrupt hacking schemes and government funded penetrations, there is a great deal of profit to be made from professional positions in the field.
Different Types of Hacking
The term “hacking” covers a range of people, careers, and opportunities. Modern business use a range of hackers for from things like finding out if your spouse is having an affair to preventing nefarious infiltration.
The most severe hackers are known as black hats whose primary activities are criminal and malicious. Black hats will attempt to identify and exploit flaws or security gaps within a computer, network, or operating system in order to gain control of them, steal data, destroy data, or orchestrate illicit activities. After the system has been obtained a black hat is able to take measures to establish long-term covert access to that system.
White hats are the antithesis of a black hat. These are generally referred to as ethical hackers. The job is to search for flaws that exist within a network or computer system but their efforts are done so that they can patch the vulnerabilities or alert the administrator of the software or system to repair them. Their job, in essence, is to maintain security within the connected systems.There are many shades and nuances to be found within the community of hackers.
The Career Scope for Hackers
For a career in the field of hacking, you have to have some form of cyber-security training under your belt; most companies prefer a cyber security certification from a successful cyber security course which specializes in the type of hacking you want to pursue. The more certifications, the better range of careers are available to you. The most common job titles for someone in this field include Security Engineer, Penetration Tester, Information Security Consultant, Network Security Analyst, Application Security Manager, and IT Security Administrator, among many others.
Ethical Hacker Salary Range
The average salary for a Certified Ethical Hacker is $71,331, a figure which is contingent upon location and organization. This salary ranges though, fluctuating from a mere $25,000 to $112,000 based on certification and skill.
The Department of Labor has found that New York City offers the highest salary of $117,000, followed closely by California, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. The certified ethical hacker cyber security certification is among the top 15 highest paying certifications you can have in IT.
Top Cyber Security Companies
Palo Alto Networks has a security platform that brings together all key network security functions to protect against advanced threats, prevent URL filtering, and help with firewalls. Such functions are built into their platforms, creating a demand for regular maintenance, improvements, and hacking. Cisco too offers advanced malware protection, network security, VPN and web security, among other things
Protecting against malicious software offers many job opportunities in the market. MacAfee and Norton, or teams that work security for companies like Juniper, Palo Alto Networks, or Cisco all offer chances for cyber security. Even companies like Microsoft have a team working for them. Conversely, a high number of individuals work as freelance ethical hackers, providing services as needed to a multitude of companies.
Why Companies Hire Cyber Security Professionals
As the world reads regularly occurring news reports on high-profile breaches in the public and private security, the increasing demand for cyber security measures is clear. Worldwide cyber security attacks on products, services, consumer data, and more has led to this industry and its projected four year growth from 2017 to 2021 of $1 trillion. The continually evolving nature of cyber attacks requires companies to remain vigilant and up to date on the latest security measures.
That said,the reasons for using cyber security professionals are plenty. First and foremost, to protect against potential zero day vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities that have not yet been exploited.
Updated patches released by companies like Microsoft might have missed something, a vulnerability that would allow someone to gain access. If no one yet knows about it, this is a zero day vulnerability, giving the black hacker the power to pick the time and day they want to launch their virus or attack, the time which will later be referred to as “zero day”.
If companies do not know about a problem, they cannot prepare against it. Ethical hackers can discover and devise a solution, selling it back to the company as corporate intelligence used to help seal any cracks, figuratively speaking.
Additionally, with ethical hackers, companies can keep abreast of ongoing trends in cyber security. They can protect against state sponsored actors, particularly those who come from China, Russia, and North Korea. Finally, there is the potential to develop and test new products, new software, hardware, and firmware.
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