One of the largest concerns of businesses today, large and small, is securing client and customer data privacy; one way to ensure you know how to do so is by employing certified ethical hackers to protect your organization.
What is the CEH Certification?
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is a certification offered by EC-Council to validate a cybersecurity professional’s knowledge and skills as a “White Hat” or ethical hacker. Named No. 2 on Toms IT Pro list of “Best Information Security Certifications for 2019” CEH certification is among the most sought-after certifications an InfoSec professional can earn for their skills in ethical hacking.
What is an Ethical Hacker?
Ethical hackers are professionals who have the same knowledge and skills as a criminal hacker. However, the ethical hacker uses these skills to invade a computer network in order to test and determine weaknesses within the network. This purposeful invasion of the computer network is called penetration testing. The ethical hackers who perform pen-tests are able to identify weaknesses before they can be exploited by cyber criminals.
But How Can Hacking Be Ethical?
If you are considering earning your CEH certification, you need to make sure that you know how to ensure the hacking you are performing is deemed ethical. These four steps will start you on the right foot if you engage in ethical hacking.
- Expressed consent- preferably in writing
- Respect for the organization or individual’s privacy
- Leave no “doors” open– once you have finished working (even if it is for the day) make sure you have not left anything open so that someone with criminal intent can get into the network easily
- Inform the necessary people of the vulnerabilities you found
Following the four steps listed above will ensure that you have followed the necessary precautions for an ethical hacker. If the “White Hat” hacker does not follow these steps the manner in which the enter and expose weaknesses within a computer network may be seen as criminal. Take the this young Hungarian “White Hat” hacker when he alerted the public transportation to a flaw in their ticket purchasing website in summer 2017.
Why Does Being An Ethical Hacker Require Certification?
Truthfully, you probably don’t need a certification to remind you to act ethically. However, the CEH certification shows current and future employers that you have pledged to work and perform your duties in an ethical manner. The main thing an ethical hackers’ daily work consists of is penetrating a computer network to find vulnerabilities and weak points that a cyber-criminal could exploit. The work of an ethical hacker uses the same tools and skill set that a malicious hacker uses, but with the intent of improving the security of the network they are infiltrating.
What is the Benefit of Being Certified?
EC-Council’s CEH certification is supported by government organizations such as the NSA, DoD and CNSS. In recent years, large companies have begun employing “White Hats” and pen-testers within their own organizations in order to keep pace with cybersecurity trends. If that isn’t enough, salaries for someone with the CEH can be as high as $125K annually if you prove you’ve got the “right stuff.”
How to Become CEH Certified
There are two ways in which a candidate can become CEH Certified:
This training course will teach, or reinforce, the skills and knowledge-base possessed by any hacker while teaching you how to remain ethical while performing the necessary tasks. The vendor-neutral EC-Council CEH course will introduce you to the “Hacker Mindset.” This mindset will allow you to get into the mode of scanning, testing, hacking, and securing networks in which you are responsible for the security.
2) Attempt the exam without training
It is not impossible to become CEH certified without taking an approved training course. To be eligible to sit for the exam you must have at least two years of InfoSec experience, have a specialized educational background in InfoSec, pay a non-refundable eligibility application fee when submit your completed application, and can only purchase your exam voucher through the EC-Council store.
About the CEH Exam
Here is a breakdown of what each exam domain encompasses:
- Introduction to Ethical Hacking
- Footprinting and Reconnaissance
- Scanning Networks
- Vulnerability Analysis
- System Hacking
- Malware Threats
- Social Engineering
- Denial of Service
- Session Hijacking
- Evading IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
- Hacking Web Server
- Hacking Web Applications
- SQL Injection
- Hacking Wireless Networks
- Hacking Mobile Platforms
- IoT Hacking
- Cloud Computing
After the Exam
Once you have taken and passed the CEH exam, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But not for long, your CEH certification is only valid for 3 years. To retain a valid CEH certification you must earn and submit proof of at least 120 EC-Council Continuing Education (ECE) credits. You can earn credits in a variety of ways; attending conferences, attending trade show seminars, taking training courses, and more. However, don’t think you can get away with jamming all 120 ECE credits into the last year you hold a valid certification. You must log your credits through the Aspen portal by end of day December 31st for each year you hold a valid CEH certification.