Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Ethical Hacker

I was speaking with a former student of mine the other day. He's going into the IT Security field and is hoping to become what is known as an "ethical hacker". A lot of you are probably unfamiliar with that term. You no doubt think that a hacker, by definition, is unethical. That's not necessarily the case. An ethical hacker works to ensure that a company's information systems are secure and are considered an integral part of any company's IT strategy.

Personally, I think it would be very cool to work in such a field, helping corporations tighten their IT security. Working as an ethical hacker can be a very lucrative career choice, commanding a salary of anywhere between $97,970 and $123,900. Ethical hackers also work in the field of penetration testing which means breaking into computer systems via brute force or social engineering methods. The only real downside is that you won't get to have the spiffy sounding "ethical hacker" as your title. You'll end up with something more professional sounding like "security specialist", "forensic investigator", or "network defense architect".

The thing is, if you want to go into this line of work, you're not going to be able to do with the hacking skills you've developed while working late at night on your computer. You're going to need some form of formal education. If you're looking to go that route, the folks over at EC-Council can help. They will help you become a Certified Ethical Hacker by offering classes on:
  • Security Fundamentals
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Penetration Testing
  • Computer Forensics

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Secure Programming 



  1. I would actually discourage a formal education for this type of job. If you can't prove your skills by learning this on your own, a piece of paper will only fool companies who are asking to get hacked in the first place. The "ethical hacker" certification is not much more than a marketing scam. After all, who do you think the first ethical hackers were anyway? Yes... the self-taught hackers. On a side note, hackers usually aren't of the disposition to go get a certification to prove their worth.

  2. Hi, we love your blog and would like to invite you to list it in our Blog Directory at

  3. Congratulations on Blog of note, I see you made a cheeky twit to blogger about it, but didn't offer any sexual favours like the previous blog of note.

  4. So, maybe I should just ask Blogger to make me blog of note and then they'll do it. I wonder how many other people have thought of this...

  5. Conratulations!!!!
    Blog of notes

  6. Oh my God! I can't believe this. I am so happy! :)

  7. I'd like to thank the academy and Blogger, and that dude who offered sexual favors to BlogsOfNote so that now I don't have to......

  8. A blog that is different.A range of topics ( maybe your RJ experience. And unlike some 'blogs of note' that do not really deserve the honour! Congratulations

  9. Very interesting post. A formal education on the particular topics will provide the world with more ethical hackers. If all companies have ethical hackers in part of their IT Security Team (with affordable salaries), the net will be much a safer place.

  10. Very cool. I'm telling my brother about this job he's studying engineering