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Data protector

An ethical hacker is employed by an organisation to protect its computer network.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:12 IST

The lowdown
An ethical hacker is employed by an organisation to protect its computer network. He has to be trustworthy enough to undertake an attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems, using the same methods as a hacker would – but his job is to devise a foolproof system to prevent hacking of the network, too. Hacking is felony, but when it is done on request and under a contract between an ethical hacker and an organisation, it is legal

Clock Work
9am: Leave for office
10am: Start work, carry out tests and checks
10.30am: Attend team meeting
12pm: Study current needs and steps required to check them
2pm: Lunch
2.30pm: Work on firewalls and sort out network glitches to protect it from hackers
5.30pm: Leave for home

The demand for specialised talent within IT is growing fast and the profession has lots of money to offer those who want to get into the hacking business

Nishant Raman, senior information security consultant in a private company in Delhi

The payoff
After becoming a penetration tester or ethical hacker, one can make Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 and can grow rapidly depending on his/her skills. There are people who have grown by leaps and bounds and reached top technical positions. In the West, one can make around $50,000-$70,000 a year as an ethical hacker

. The most important prerequisite before one studies to become an ethical hacker is to ace computer networking knowledge
. Expertise in at least one application like Java or C++
. Knowledge of the functioning of UNIX
. One should have an analytical approach and should probe every functioning with a critical bent of mind

Getting There
First of all, one should work in a company on networking designs, administration principles, system designs or application software. Then do a certificate/ diploma programme in ethical hacking to gain an edge over competitors

Koenig Solutions (Indian centres of EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker) and
. Innobuzz Knowledge Solutions
. IMT Ghaziabad

n pros and cons
n It is a challenging and enterprising job
n Industry estimates show that there is a scarcity of IT security professionals, which means good job prospects
n Becoming a pro is a little difficult. Few institutes offer training in ethical hacking and some even ask for prior experience
n Professionals must continuously improve and update themselves as technology changes at breakneck speed
n The profession may require a lot of travelling in India and abroad