How to become an ethical hacker in 2024

how to become an ethical hacker in 2024

Hi there, hackers! If you’re just starting in cybersecurity, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the technical stuff. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. 

So, the first question that will arise in your head is: Is hacking legal? So, the short answer is YES! But there are certain conditions. You can learn those in this article [IS HACKING LEGAL? 7 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ANSWERED]. 

This guide is designed to make things super simple for you. We’ll break down the complex stuff into easy steps and walk you through practical exercises. 

This comprehensive guide is crafted based on the concepts explored in the ‘Hacking: Magic of the Modern Era (2nd Edition)’ eBook. Inside this eBook, you’ll find advanced topics such as WiFi hacking, password cracking, RDP cracking, website hacking, and more, making it an indispensable resource for ethical hackers.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and resources that you are going to need on your way to being an Ethical Hacker. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonderful world of ethical hacking together!

Who Exactly is an Ethical Hacker?

Alright, let’s talk about ethical hackers – but first, let’s break down what exactly that means. An ethical hacker, also known as a white-hat hacker, is essentially a cybersecurity professional who uses their hacking skills and knowledge for good. Unlike the bad guys (the black-hat hackers), ethical hackers work within legal boundaries to find and fix vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and applications.

These ethical hackers are like the digital detectives of the cyber world. They use a wide range of techniques, tools, and methodologies to assess security measures and identify potential weaknesses that could be exploited by malicious actors. By adopting the mindset of a hacker, they can think like the bad guys and stay one step ahead in the ongoing battle against cyber threats.

Importance in Cybersecurity

Now, why are these ethical hackers so important? Well, think of them as digital superheroes! They play a crucial role in keeping our digital world safe. By uncovering and fixing vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks before cybercriminals can exploit them, ethical hackers prevent data breaches and other cyber attacks.

Without them, our online world would be a lot riskier, and we could be more vulnerable to hackers and scams. Ethical hackers help maintain trust and security in our digital interactions, making them essential protectors of our online lives.

Are cybersecurity and ethical hacking the same?

Ethical hacking and cybersecurity might sound similar, but they’re actually different aspects of keeping our digital world safe.Ethical Hackers use their skills to find and fix security holes in systems, networks, and apps, but they do it with permission. Their goal is to make things more secure by finding weaknesses before bad actors can exploit them. They follow strict rules about privacy, honesty, and reporting vulnerabilities responsibly.

Now, cybersecurity is like the overall security guard for our digital realm. It’s a bigger picture that involves protecting all sorts of digital stuff – data, systems, and even people – from cyber threats and attacks. Cybersecurity pros use a mix of technology, rules, training, and quick responses to keep everything safe and running smoothly.

So, while ethical hackers are focused on finding and fixing specific security problems, cybersecurity experts have a wider job that includes planning, managing risks, responding to incidents, and making sure everyone knows how to stay safe online. Both roles are super important in keeping our digital lives secure and protected!

7 quick steps to be an ethical hacker

ethical hacker roadmap

1. Basic IT Skills

Start by learning about computer networks, operating systems like Linux and Windows, and programming languages such as Python, C, and Java. We’ll begin with the basics and progress step by step.  

> Understanding Computer Networks

To start your journey as an ethical hacker, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of computer networks. This includes concepts such as IP addressing, subnetting, routing, and network protocols like TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP, and DNS. Resources such as online courses, textbooks, and networking forums can be valuable for gaining this knowledge.

> Operating Systems Knowledge

Gain proficiency in both Linux and Windows operating systems. Learn about command-line operations, file systems, user management, security configurations, and common vulnerabilities.

> Programming Languages

Master programming languages such as Python, C, and Java. These languages are fundamental for writing scripts, automating tasks, and developing security tools. Online coding platforms and programming tutorials can aid in learning these languages effectively.

From where to learn Basic IT skills and Python? Below are some of the Free resources:

2. Networking Essentials

Mastering computer networking is crucial for hacking. Understand IP addresses, protocols like TCP/IP and HTTP, and how data moves through networks. It’s like learning the hidden language of the internet! 

> Network Protocols and Services

Delve into network protocols and services to understand their functions, vulnerabilities, and security mechanisms. Topics include TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP, FTP, SMTP, DNS, DHCP, and more. Practical lab exercises and network simulation tools can enhance learning in this area.

> Network Security Mechanisms

Explore network security technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), virtual private networks (VPNs), and secure configurations for routers and switches. Hands-on experience with network security tools and simulations can provide valuable insights.

From where to learn Computer Networking? Below are some of the Free resources:

3. Web Technologies and Security

Next, learn about the web. Dive into HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). Get your hands dirty with tools like Burp Suite to find and fix those pesky web vulnerabilities.

> Web Development Basics

Understand web development languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and server-side scripting languages (PHP, ASP.NET). Learn to create, secure, and test web applications.

From where to learn web technologies? Below are some of the Free resources:

> Web Application Vulnerabilities

Explore common web vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery), and security testing tools like Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP.

From where to learn web application vulnerability?  Below are some of the Free resources:

4. Cybersecurity Fundamentals

After learning about web technologies, dive into cybersecurity fundamentals! Learn about encryption, authentication, access control, and security models. It’s like building your digital fortress!

> Cryptography

Study cryptographic algorithms, encryption/decryption techniques, digital signatures, cryptographic protocols, and key management.

> Security Concepts

Understand core security concepts including authentication, authorization, access control models (DAC, MAC), least privilege principle, security policies, and risk management.

From where to learn cryptography and security concepts?  Below are some of the Free resources:

5. Ethical Hacking Tools

After that, get familiar with essential tools explore Kali Linux, Metasploit, Wireshark, and more. These tools will be your sidekicks in finding and fixing security holes.

> Kali Linux and Tools

Kali Linux is a popular ethical hacking distribution that comes with a wide range of tools such as Nmap for network scanning, Wireshark for packet analysis, Metasploit for penetration testing, John the Ripper for password cracking, Aircrack-ng for wireless security testing, and more.

> Metasploit Framework

The Metasploit Framework is a powerful tool for penetration testing, exploit development, and vulnerability assessment. It allows ethical hackers to simulate cyber attacks and identify weaknesses in systems and networks.

> Wireshark

Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that enables detailed inspection and analysis of network traffic. It’s useful for troubleshooting network issues, detecting anomalies, and identifying potential security threats.

> Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a comprehensive web application security testing tool. It allows ethical hackers to intercept and modify web traffic, identify vulnerabilities such as XSS and SQL injection, and generate detailed reports.

> Nmap

Nmap is a versatile network scanning tool used for discovering hosts and services on a network. Learn about Nmap’s scanning techniques, scripting capabilities, and use cases for network reconnaissance and vulnerability assessment.

> OWASP ZAP

OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy) is an open-source web app security scanner. It helps ethical hackers identify and exploit vulnerabilities in web applications, prioritize security issues, and enhance overall web security.

> Nessus

Nessus is a widely used vulnerability scanner that helps identify security vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and compliance issues in networks and systems. Learn how to configure and use Nessus effectively for vulnerability assessment.

From where to learn ethical hacking tools?  Below are some of the Free resources:

6. Continuous Learning and Practice

It is also the most important part of every hacker’s journey. A hacker needs to stay updated with the latest trends, threats, and best practices. They solve Capture The Flag (CTF) challenges to test and sharpen their skills in real-world scenarios.

Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field. Stay informed about the latest threats, vulnerabilities, attack techniques, and security best practices through industry news, blogs, forums, and professional networks. Now, How can you stay updated? For that the best place is Twitter. Visit the profile of @trickyhash and follow all of his following to stay updated. You can follow this blog too for the latest techniques and vulnerabilities. 

> Participate in Capture The Flag (CTF) Challenges

Engage in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions to apply and enhance your ethical hacking skills in realistic scenarios. CTF challenges simulate real-world cybersecurity incidents and provide hands-on experience.

7. Certifications: Enhancing Your Credentials

Consider getting certified to showcase your expertise. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), CompTIA Security+, and Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) are some of the badges of honor in the ethical hacking world.

> Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The CEH certification from EC-Council validates your ethical hacking skills, knowledge, and expertise. It covers topics such as footprinting and reconnaissance, scanning networks, enumeration, system hacking, malware threats, sniffing, social engineering, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, session hijacking, and more.

> CompTIA Security+

The CompTIA Security+ certification demonstrates your foundational knowledge of cybersecurity concepts, tools, and best practices. It covers areas such as risk management, cryptography, network security, identity and access management, and incident response.

> Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

The OSCP certification by Offensive Security is a hands-on and challenging certification that focuses on penetration testing skills. It involves a rigorous exam where candidates must demonstrate their ability to identify, exploit, and mitigate vulnerabilities in a controlled environment.

BONUS

Practical Sites to Learn Ethical Hacking:
Best YouTube Channels to Learn Hacking:
  1. Hacking: Magic of the Modern Era (1st Edition) [FREE]
  2. Hacking: Magic of the Modern Era (2nd Edition)[Advanced]
  3. The Hacker Playbook: Practical Guide To Penetration Testing
  4. The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook
  5. Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
  6. Metasploit: The Penetration Tester’s Guide
  7. Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking

Wrapping up!

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps toward becoming an ethical hacker. Keep exploring, practicing, and honing your skills. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Keep hacking ethically, stay curious, and enjoy the adventure of cybersecurity!


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