Career series part V – Ethical Hacking

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Ethical hacking – (?!!) sounds an oxymoron*, isn’t it – like True Myth or kind cruelty.

But we do come across this word quite often, but hardly do we know what exactly it is all about. Adithi Iyer, Grade 7, from Canada, had a volley of questions about this amzing area of work and Nitesh Thakur patiently answered all of them.

Nitesh Thakur is a  Sr. Consultant (Cyber Security) at PricewaterhouseCoopers India. He gives us a glimpse of  the mystery clouded world of ethical hackers.

What brought you to start hacking?

  • My interest into this domain.

What languages do you have to learn to hack?

  • It further depends what kind of technology you wanna crack, normally you need to know scripting languages like python, ruby etc.

Do you use certain software? Is there any hardware or electronics knowledge needed?

  • Yes there are tools which are commonly used by hackers, different tools are there different kind of activities like port scanners, brute force etc.

Is it the same kind of knowledge needed to hack into computers / mobile network systems…and also passwords like in banks and ATM’s?

  • These days technology is very advanced and every organization is bringing security to their networks just to make them secure. So if anyone wishing to  hack any bank, they would first need to know about its security systems and ways to bypass all of them in order to get successful bypass without being detected.  Knowledge about maximum security devices is required and their protocols how they work and what are the loop holes in those devices etc.

What are some certifications or programs required to be an ethical hacker?

  • For  beginners CEH(Certified Ethical hacker) is the best certification to go with. Further technology based certifications are there in market.

Do universities offer courses in hacking?

  • EC-Council offers CEH like same way in India Ankit Fadia has some custom certification offered by his company.

Who employs hackers apart from government agencies?

  • Whoever is interested in being secured they do hire hackers like defense, banks, IT companies etc.

What is a day in the life of an ethical hacker like? Is hacking all that you do, or is it like you would be called to do some ‘hacking’ only when needed?

  • Hacking is not a easy job in order to make a successful hack it may take months and years depends upon target and as per illegal so not recommend to do it.

Would I need to learn a lot of Math to be in this job?

  • Basic Maths will work but you need to learn all technologies which are there in marker and you need to be master in all so that you can find vulnerabilities and manipulates in the required way without being caught.

Is hacking and cryptology related?

  • Yes cryptography is the main component; cryptography is what make data secure from hackers.

Do people feel uncomfortable working with you when they know you can tap into their information and security?

  • No they don’t as I am working with same skill set of people.

How many firewalls or security barriers do you usually have to pass or break?

  • It depends upon the network Architecture of the target varies from organization to organization. These days firewalls are not the only one which will save organization, there are other devices like IPS, IDS, WAF, DAM,SIEM etc

Do you get tempted to hack into systems all the time?

  • NOP

What if an ethical hacker turns bad and decides to be ‘unethical’?

  • Hacking is not easy and to hack any organization or any target multiple hackers are required, masters of different technologies. If they do illegal they will get caught by cybercrime team which monitors all activities in the country.

I read about an 8 year old boy, who was a speaker in a conference for Ethical hackers, is there no minimum age limit to be approved as an ethical hacker?

  • No Age limit.

Who decides that someone is an ‘ethical’ hacker or not? Do you get a license or id card to prove?

  • No ID cards only for certification you will get certification or license ID.

Shouldn’t ethical hackers help build “un-hackable” systems? Do they really?

  • Yeah White hat hackers do that job.

** oxymoron – a figure of speech made of contradictory words. eg: Deafening silence ; Same difference

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