Ethical Hacking? Sounds like an oxymoron by definition! Hacking has a terrible reputation but it can be used for great good, from securing an online system to getting data out from a locked device for police purposes. There are a lot of people who’ve heard of Ethical Hacking but have no idea what it entails, that’s why we made a guide on How to be an Ethical Hacker and Pass the CEH Exam. In this exam you’ll find what EH actually is, a few tips on Ethical Hacking, and our recommendation on how to pass the CEH Exam and get into an exciting career field!
How can hacking be ethical?!?
Hacking in general is a slang-word that has taken on technical meaning. It basically means to gain unauthorized access into a computer system. Over the years hacking has entered the public consciousness as this nefarious dark thing done by anarchists and governments. That’s quite true actually, often illicit entry into a computer system is done by those with a negative agenda. That’s where Ethical Hacking comes in. As Sun Tzu said in the art of war, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle”.
Ethical Hackers are hired by companies and governments to purposely attack the systems at a business in order to expose security flaws and shore up terrible security practices. These don’t necessarily even need to be digital attacks. Edward Snowden is famous for the USB in the Parking Lot trick that he used to expose the government secrets of the US. Thinking like a hacker is incredibly important for security professional and that’s what Ethical Hackers do.
So how is this not illegal?
Ethical Hackers don’t just break into a company network and leave a message asking for work like in movies. Ethical Hackers are actually hired by companies with the intention of breaking in but by and large are certified individuals who have a long history of proven integrity. The Certification is very important because it teaches you how to Ethical Hack without entering into weird legal or morally gray areas. One of the best and most common paths is CEH certification. So you are probably wondering now How to be an Ethical Hacker and Pass the CEH Exam, read on to find out!
What is CEH Certification?
CEH or Certified Ethical Hacker is a certification offered by the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants or EC-Council for short. Based in NM, USA, the EC-Council certifies individuals in the realm of Ethical Hacking and other unique security credentials. They also offer an insanely competitive master’s program for those who want to be the best of the best in Cyber Security. CEH certification is gold standard for an entry level Ethical Hacker and involves passing an exam known as the 312-50. Getting CEH certified is the first step in a lifelong educational journey though as the various methods and ways hackers use to break into systems changes over the years. It gets more advanced and we’ll finally start to see some very scary AI based viruses in the future. CEH certification is widely accepted and even required by the US Government for some IT roles (DoD 8570.01-M Guidelines). It is a serious certificate that is heavily believed in as this article illustrates.
How do I get CEH Certified?
Take an exam. It’s harder than it sounds though. Unlike many entry level certifications, CEH can be costly and isn’t an overnight certification. You have two pathways for taking the exam, the first is attending training at an Accredited Training Center or ATC. The second route is studying on your own but this requires relevant experience in Information Security (At least two years). So Self-study can actually be the slower route if you don’t want to do the ATC course. EC-Council has a ton of information here as well on the process!
That sounds like quite commitment, how do I decide?
To be honest an ATC center session can cost a lot of money, the exam is usually $600, and self-study with two years of experience is hard to come by. So how do you make sure CEH is for you without getting in so deep your wallet hurts? We recommend perusing online practice exams. Online Practice Exams exist to help those see a simulated version of a certification test beforehand, for practice, and to familiarize yourself with a subject. Some are so good, they are better than book training. Others only cover a small percentage of test content due to the nature of some exams. We love the tests from Examtopics because they are designed by those with personal experience, they’re free, and almost every exam imaginable is offered.
These jobs pay $95,000 or more on average. They are worth pursuing even if the exam process is a bit expensive.
So How do I pass the Exam?
It takes a lot of work and experience to be CEH certified so we have a few recommendations on how you can pass the Exam. Besides the normal common sense approach of sleeping and eating well long before exam day, do these four things to study and you’ll be far closer to nailing the exam on day one.
Work through an Online Video Series
Youtube, Udemy, and Coursera have numerous courses that can teach you the skills you need. Often for free! These practical series will teach you the skills you need in a visual and memorable way.
Build a Lab
A Lab is simply an area to test and use your skills. Building a lab is simple but for Ethical Hacking will probably require a few computers, a router, and more. Using this you can actually PRACTICE your CEH skills.
Online Practice Exams
As we mentioned earlier. These are king in the certification world and will take you very far! These are free and can get you the necessary experience.
Cyber Security Jobs
Whether it’s working at a small business or a government office, the best CEH workers have experience in Security long before they take the aggressive Ethical Hacking approach. You can take the ATC route but we think practical job experience is the best.
Ethical Hacking may sound like a contradiction in terms but it is actually one of the most exotic and exciting IT fields out there today. Becoming CEH certified opens the doors to insane careers and even ones at the Department of Defense. We hope our guide has helped you learn How to be an Ethical Hacker and Pass the CEH Exam. If you’ve learned something or have a new career idea after this guide, take a moment and tell us! As always, check back regularly for more awesome guides on the world of certification and good luck out there.