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What is The Salary of Ethical Hacker?

In this article, you will learn who is an ethical hacker and what are their responsibilities. You will also learn more about the demand for an ethical hacker and salary trends around the globe.Who is an Ethical hacker? Also called a white-hat hacker, an ethical hacker is a skilled security professional. He or she has good technical knowledge and practical skills to identify and exploit vulnerabilities (bugs) in the target system. You might wonder at the use of the term ‘ethical’; what ethics could there possibly be in hacking?Ethical hackers work with the permission of the owners of the systems. If you are working as an ethical hacker in an organization, you are required to find vulnerabilities in their network and systems; so that they can take precautions to safeguard them before they are found by real hackers who have a malicious intent.Ethical hacking is not illegal, and it is one of the demanding jobs available in the IT industry. Businesses and organizations across the world hire ethical hackers to safeguard their networks, applications, and other computer systems in order to improve their cyber security and prevent data theft and fraud. There are numerous companies that hire ethical hackers for penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.You need to remember that you can hack only whatever you are permitted to do and should not investigate whatever you do not have permissions for. This is the fundamental difference between a malicious hacker (or black-hat hacker) and you.While we are learning about who is an ethical hacker, you need to know about different kinds of hacker and their motives. Hackers fall into these categories: White hat hackers Black hat hackers Grey hat hackersThese names are taken from old Spaghetti Westerns; where the bad guys wear black cowboy hats and are easily distinguished from the good guys who wear white hats!White Hat HackersWhite Hat hackers are also known as Ethical Hackers. Their intent is not to harm or exploit a computer or network system, but to find the vulnerabilities and give the product owners or network admin the right measures to mitigate any issues found during the penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.Black Hat HackersBlack Hat hackers work with a malicious intent, and break into computer systems to gain unauthorized access to a network system or software. They work with the goal of damaging operations or stealing sensitive information. Black Hat hacking activities are always illegal because of their motive to break into systems without the system owner’s permission. They could steal highly sensitive private or corporate data which may result in violating privacy, damaging the system, or stopping the network communication.Grey Hat HackersGrey hat hackers carry out both black hat and white hat hacking, acting in accordance with the opportunities they get. If they get an opportunity for ethical hacking, they will work as an ethical hacker and if they get an opportunity to work as a malicious hacker for somebody, they will hack and exploit a security weakness in a computer system or network without the owner’s permission or knowledge.Miscellaneous HackersWhile the above are the well-known and commonly accepted categories of hackers, there are some more, lesser-known categories:Blue Hat HackersBlue hat hackers are those who work with product development teams to test for security vulnerabilities before a product is going to be launched. They use hacking techniques to find vulnerabilities which could possibly be exploited; and inform the team about the bugs in the product so that it can be fixed before its launch. The term Blue Hat is used to indicate a series of security briefing events. Red Hat HackersRed hat hackers are similar to gray hat hackers who do both black hat and white hat hacking. The difference is that red hat hackers usually work on high level, top secret requirements, such as hacking government organizations, high-secret information, and usually anything that’s related to the category of sensitive information. Elite HackersElite hackers are those who are considered to be the most skilled in the hacking community. The exploits that they have discovered are widely circulated and followed by others. HacktivistA hacktivist is a hacker who uses hacking methods to further political and social change in the community. They work for a cause rather than to steal information for financial gain. They use hacking to announce a social, political or religious message, and may use their skills for defacement of web sites or public denial-of-service attacks. Script KiddieA script kiddie is a hacker who uses the tools and techniques developed by other hackers but does not have adequate expertise and knowledge about the usage of tools and the consequences of hacking activities. In other words, they break into computer systems by using automated tools developed by others, with little understanding of the underlying concepts. They are considered novices (or ‘kiddies') in the hacking world. What are the responsibilities of an Ethical Hacker?An ethical hacker is usually a part of a security team that helps in finding and mitigating vulnerabilities or bugs. They provide support that safeguards and mitigates risks to the network or application that they need to protect. They also continually monitor the network for any irregularities. Ethical hackers must have out-of-the-box thinking capabilities to go beyond what is considered normal ways of working and should keep themselves updated with advancements in tools and technologies. The job could come with high levels of stress, and ethical hackers must be prepared to work quickly and effectively to keep the systems they are always protected safe and secure.Certified Ethical Hacker Responsibilities: Discuss with clients about the security system they use currently.Conduct research on recent vulnerabilities in the computer system, network structure, and software and suggest the ways of mitigating any vulnerabilities.Conduct penetration tests on the network and application. Identify and record vulnerabilities and security breaches. Review security posture of the network. Advise the organization on the latest security measures. Create ethical hacking or penetration test reports for the client. Retest the new security features that have been implemented to verify the security mechanism. Stay on top of industry advancements and advise on upgrades whenever needed. Management cadre professionals and organizational decision makers are typically not tech or security experts. With breaches in cyber security becoming a growing treat to organizations everywhere, ethical hackers who have the right experience and skills are highly sought after across industries. As tech experts in systems, networks and applications, ethical hackers are at the frontline, keeping organizational data and systems safe from cyber-attacks.In the UK, JOBLIFT conducted a study and found that the demand for Ethical hackers has increased by 3X the rate of supply.There are several other reasons as to why ethical hackers are in demand:Widespread adoption of cloud computing has introduced security risks such as ransomware, identity theft, malware infections and data breaches.Cyber threats are growing increasingly sophisticated, which means that organizations must keep themselves safe by increasing the budget for cybersecurity. This has raised the demand for reputed cyber specialists and ethical hackers.With the rampant increase in the numbers of internet users, the web has become a prime target for the malicious activities of black hat hackers.This chart indicates the increase in the number of internet users across the world.WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS 2020 Year-Q2 EstimatesWorld RegionsPopulation (2020 Est.)Population % of WorldInternet Users 30 June 2020Penetration Rate (% Pop.)Growth 2000-2020Internet World %Africa1,340,598,44717.2 %566,138,77242.2 %12,441 %11.7 %Asia4,294,516,65955.1 %2,525,033,87458.8 %2,109 %52.2 %Europe834,995,19710.7 %727,848,54787.2 %592 %15.1 %Latin America / Caribbean654,287,2328.4 %467,817,33271.5 %2,489 %9.7 %Middle East260,991,6903.3 %184,856,81370.8 %5,527 %3.8 % North America368,869,6474.7 %332,908,86890.3 %208 %6.9 %Oceania / Australia42,690,8380.5 %28,917,60067.7 %279 %0.6 %WORLD TOTAL 7,796,949,710100.0 %4,833,521,80662.0 %1,239 %100.0 %Salary trends for Ethical hackers around the globe1. Ethical Hacker salary in the USACyber Security Analyst$85kInformation Security Analyst$78kCyber Security Engineer$105k2. Ethical Hacker salary in INDIAAccording to the study conducted by CISO: The average annual salary of ethical hackers is Rs 570,000. Chief Information Security Officers salary ranges from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 80 lakh per year, with a median salary of Rs 23.7 lakhThe highest number of security professionals are in Bengaluru with 20.5 per cent.The second number of security professionals are from National Capital Region with 20.3 per cent.Telecom service providers pay the highest salaries for cybersecurity professionals with an average annual salary of Rs 11.75 lakh.The second highest paying sector is banking and financial services with an average of Rs 10.52 lakh.NCR and Bangalore are two cities which offer the highest average salaries for ethical hackers.CEH — The Way ForwardAs you can see, ethical hackers are highly respected professionals who can seek rewarding positions in top firms across industries. If you want to begin your career in ethical hacking, getting a certification like EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to get ahead.

What is The Salary of Ethical Hacker?

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  • by Anand V
  • 04th Nov, 2020
  • Last updated on 10th Mar, 2021
  • 8 mins read
What is The Salary of Ethical Hacker?

In this article, you will learn who is an ethical hacker and what are their responsibilities. You will also learn more about the demand for an ethical hacker and salary trends around the globe.

Who is an Ethical hacker?   

Also called a white-hat hacker, an ethical hacker is a skilled security professional. He or she has good technical knowledge and practical skills to identify and exploit vulnerabilities (bugs) in the target system. You might wonder at the use of the term ‘ethical’; what ethics could there possibly be in hacking?

Ethical hackers work with the permission of the owners of the systems. If you are working as an ethical hacker in an organization, you are required to find vulnerabilities in their network and systems; so that they can take precautions to safeguard them before they are found by real hackers who have a malicious intent.

Ethical hacking is not illegal, and it is one of the demanding jobs available in the IT industry. Businesses and organizations across the world hire ethical hackers to safeguard their networks, applications, and other computer systems in order to improve their cyber security and prevent data theft and fraud. There are numerous companies that hire ethical hackers for penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

You need to remember that you can hack only whatever you are permitted to do and should not investigate whatever you do not have permissions for. This is the fundamental difference between a malicious hacker (or black-hat hacker) and you.

While we are learning about who is an ethical hacker, you need to know about different kinds of hacker and their motives. Hackers fall into these categories:  

  • White hat hackers  
  • Black hat hackers  
  • Grey hat hackers

These names are taken from old Spaghetti Westerns; where the bad guys wear black cowboy hats and are easily distinguished from the good guys who wear white hats!

Ethical Hacker Salary

White Hat Hackers

White Hat hackers are also known as Ethical Hackers. Their intent is not to harm or exploit a computer or network system, but to find the vulnerabilities and give the product owners or network admin the right measures to mitigate any issues found during the penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

Black Hat Hackers

Black Hat hackers work with a malicious intent, and break into computer systems to gain unauthorized access to a network system or software. They work with the goal of damaging operations or stealing sensitive information. 

Black Hat hacking activities are always illegal because of their motive to break into systems without the system owner’s permission. They could steal highly sensitive private or corporate data which may result in violating privacy, damaging the system, or stopping the network communication.

Grey Hat Hackers

Grey hat hackers carry out both black hat and white hat hacking, acting in accordance with the opportunities they get. If they get an opportunity for ethical hacking, they will work as an ethical hacker and if they get an opportunity to work as a malicious hacker for somebody, they will hack and exploit a security weakness in a computer system or network without the owner’s permission or knowledge.

Miscellaneous Hackers

While the above are the well-known and commonly accepted categories of hackers, there are some more, lesser-known categories:

Blue Hat Hackers

Blue hat hackers are those who work with product development teams to test for security vulnerabilities before a product is going to be launched. They use hacking techniques to find vulnerabilities which could possibly be exploited; and inform the team about the bugs in the product so that it can be fixed before its launch. The term Blue Hat is used to indicate a series of security briefing events. 

Red Hat Hackers

Red hat hackers are similar to gray hat hackers who do both black hat and white hat hacking. The difference is that red hat hackers usually work on high level, top secret requirements, such as hacking government organizations, high-secret information, and usually anything that’s related to the category of sensitive information.   

Elite Hackers

Elite hackers are those who are considered to be the most skilled in the hacking community. The exploits that they have discovered are widely circulated and followed by others.   

Hacktivist

A hacktivist is a hacker who uses hacking methods to further political and social change in the community. They work for a cause rather than to steal information for financial gain. They use hacking to announce a social, political or religious message, and may use their skills for defacement of web sites or public denial-of-service attacks.   

Script Kiddie

A script kiddie is a hacker who uses the tools and techniques developed by other hackers but does not have adequate expertise and knowledge about the usage of tools and the consequences of hacking activities. In other words, they break into computer systems by using automated tools developed by others, with little understanding of the underlying concepts. They are considered novices (or ‘kiddies') in the hacking world. 

What are the responsibilities of an Ethical Hacker?

An ethical hacker is usually a part of a security team that helps in finding and mitigating vulnerabilities or bugs. They provide support that safeguards and mitigates risks to the network or application that they need to protect. They also continually monitor the network for any irregularities. Ethical hackers must have out-of-the-box thinking capabilities to go beyond what is considered normal ways of working and should keep themselves updated with advancements in tools and technologies. The job could come with high levels of stress, and ethical hackers must be prepared to work quickly and effectively to keep the systems they are always protected safe and secure.

Certified Ethical Hacker Responsibilities:   

  1. Discuss with clients about the security system they use currently.
  2. Conduct research on recent vulnerabilities in the computer system, network structure, and software and suggest the ways of mitigating any vulnerabilities.
  3. Conduct penetration tests on the network and application.   
  4. Identify and record vulnerabilities and security breaches.   
  5. Review security posture of the network.   
  6. Advise the organization on the latest security measures.   
  7. Create ethical hacking or penetration test reports for the client.   
  8. Retest the new security features that have been implemented to verify the security mechanism.   
  9. Stay on top of industry advancements and advise on upgrades whenever needed.   

Management cadre professionals and organizational decision makers are typically not tech or security experts. With breaches in cyber security becoming a growing treat to organizations everywhere, ethical hackers who have the right experience and skills are highly sought after across industries. As tech experts in systems, networks and applications, ethical hackers are at the frontline, keeping organizational data and systems safe from cyber-attacks.
In the UK, JOBLIFT conducted a study and found that the demand for Ethical hackers has increased by 3X the rate of supply.

There are several other reasons as to why ethical hackers are in demand:

  1. Widespread adoption of cloud computing has introduced security risks such as ransomware, identity theft, malware infections and data breaches.
  2. Cyber threats are growing increasingly sophisticated, which means that organizations must keep themselves safe by increasing the budget for cybersecurity. This has raised the demand for reputed cyber specialists and ethical hackers.
  3. With the rampant increase in the numbers of internet users, the web has become a prime target for the malicious activities of black hat hackers.

This chart indicates the increase in the number of internet users across the world.

WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS 2020 Year-Q2 Estimates
World RegionsPopulation (2020 Est.)Population % of WorldInternet Users 30 June 2020Penetration Rate (% Pop.)Growth 2000-2020Internet World %
Africa1,340,598,44717.2 %566,138,77242.2 %12,441 %11.7 %
Asia4,294,516,65955.1 %2,525,033,87458.8 %2,109 %52.2 %
Europe834,995,19710.7 %727,848,54787.2 %592 %15.1 %
Latin America / Caribbean654,287,2328.4 %467,817,33271.5 %2,489 %9.7 %
Middle East260,991,6903.3 %184,856,81370.8 %5,527 %3.8 %
North America368,869,6474.7 %332,908,86890.3 %208 %6.9 %
Oceania / Australia42,690,8380.5 %28,917,60067.7 %279 %0.6 %
WORLD TOTAL7,796,949,710100.0 %4,833,521,80662.0 %1,239 %100.0 %
  • Salary trends for Ethical hackers around the globe

1. Ethical Hacker salary in the USA

Cyber Security Analyst$85k
Information Security Analyst$78k
Cyber Security Engineer$105k

2. Ethical Hacker salary in INDIA

According to the study conducted by CISO

  • The average annual salary of ethical hackers is Rs 570,000. 
  • Chief Information Security Officers salary ranges from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 80 lakh per year, with a median salary of Rs 23.7 lakh
  • The highest number of security professionals are in Bengaluru with 20.5 per cent.
  • The second number of security professionals are from National Capital Region with 20.3 per cent.
  • Telecom service providers pay the highest salaries for cybersecurity professionals with an average annual salary of Rs 11.75 lakh.
  • The second highest paying sector is banking and financial services with an average of Rs 10.52 lakh.
  • NCR and Bangalore are two cities which offer the highest average salaries for ethical hackers.

CEH — The Way Forward

As you can see, ethical hackers are highly respected professionals who can seek rewarding positions in top firms across industries. If you want to begin your career in ethical hacking, getting a certification like EC-Council's Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to get ahead. 

Anand

Anand V

Blog Author

Anand V is an independent consultant with more than 23 plus years of experience. He is currently working in areas of Artificial  Intelligence ,Cybersecurity, Blockchain and IoT. 

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Continuously monitoring for new security vulnerabilities and reacting as needed is an important step towards avoiding unnecessary surprises. Reviewing old code is very important, and timely changes in the code are highly recommended as technologies keeps changing. The versions, functions, and extensions require regular upgrades. Older versions or codes are quite vulnerable and might be unable to maintain the integrity of your application. How to detect SQL injection vulnerabilitiesAs a pentester, you can use two techniques to find SQL injection vulnerabilities with high efficiency - manual and automated testing.Manual Testing During application development there are set of tests performed on each level, that help to detect any SQL injection vulnerability, if it exists. Check with the single ' character ‘ and look for errors or other anomalies. The tester can add some SQL specific syntax into code that can evaluate the original value of the entry point and other values, and check for different responses by the application. Another method is to create a Boolean condition, for example “OR 1=1” and “OR 1=2”, and check again to see if the application response is different.  There are some payloads available that are designed to trigger time delays if executed in SQL query, and you can check if there is any delay in response. Automated TestingThere are many good tools and frameworks available in the market. Here is the list of some of the best tools for SQL injection detection. SQLMap Appsider by Rapid7 Accunetix Wapiti Netsparker etc.How to prevent SQL injection vulnerability? To prevent or avoid SQL injection vulnerability, we must first understand why it occurs, and why it is listed as one of the vulnerabilities in the OWASP top 10.  The SQL injection is so easy to perform, that even a script kiddie can make an attempt.  Another reason is the treasure of critical data that lures the attacker to use SQL injection.  Below is the vulnerable code for SQL injection where the user input is concatenated directly into the query: String query = “;SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ‘";+ input + "’" Statement statement = connection.createStatement(); ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(query); Check out the code below that helps to prevents the user input from interfering with the query structure: PreparedStatement statement = connection.prepareStatement("SELECT * FROM products WHERE category = ?");  statement.setString(1, input);  ResultSet resultSet = statement.executeQuery(); Primary recommendations: Use Parameterised queries  Least Privilege Use stored procedures if required White listing the input fields Avoid displaying detailed error messages that are useful to an attacker. It is also important to get patch updates regularly, as every day there are many new vulnerabilities that are found.  It is also recommended to use a Web Application Firewall to protect your application, which can help you to filter and find malicious data.  Where Do We Go Next? It is very important to identify and mitigate this notorious vulnerability and take immediate actions to keep your systems secure. Many skilled attackers are waiting to take advantage of your mistakes, like poor code, so that they can hack into the database. We know this vulnerability is very old but we have to be aware of the outcomes of this type of vulnerability and try to prevent this during the development phase, rather than covering up the liability later.  
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What Is SQL Injection (SQLi)

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The Importance Of PCI ; Data Security Standard (DSS)

As the world moves towards digital means of payments and transactions, there has also been concerns over the security and protection of cardholder information. According to the PCI Security Standards Council, more than 500 million card holder records with confidential information have been breached since 2005. Merchants, who accept digital forms of payments, are at the centre of digital payments, and can become a victim of financial fraud at multiple points, including: • The point-of-sale device or machine • Wireless hotspots • Connected computer or any other device • Transmission of the cardholder data to the service provider. Risk factors According to a business survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, a majority of businesses conduct activities increase the risk of card fraud, including storage of card number, expiration date, any verification code, and customer date. Introduction to Data Security Standard (DSS) The Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a security standard mandatory for organizations that handle payments using cards, issued from major card types including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. This PCI standard is mandatory for all card brands and is administered by the PCI Security Standards Council. The sole aim of the PCI standards is to protect cardholder data and to reduce card frauds. Objectives The objective of PCI-DSS course is the protection of cardholder data during storage, processing, and transmission. Cardholder account information includes the unique primary account number (PAN) printed in the front of every card. Merchants or any service provider, who process card payments, must never store sensitive information about the transaction after the authorization. This includes confidential data that is stored in the magnetic stripe of the card, along with any personal identification information entered by the cardholder. Requirements The PCI Data Security Standards specifies a list of 12 mandatory requirements, which are grouped under 6 control objectives, as listed below: 1) Build and maintenance of a high-security network, which includes: * Installation of a secure firewall to protect cardholder data. This restricts (or blocks) all traffic from untrusted networks, and prohibit direct public access between the Internet and the cardholder data environment. * Changing of the vendor-provided default password and other security measures. This is important as most card fraudsters are able to break into the cardholder’s internal network using the default passwords. 2) Protection of cardholder information, which includes: * Encryption of cardholder information that is transmitted over public networks. Encryption technology renders the transmitted data unreadable by any unauthorized person. Use of cryptography and security protocols such as SSL/TLS or IPSec can be used to safeguard customer data. * Protection of the stored cardholder data. Sensitive data on the magnetic chip of the card must not be stored. In case the PAN needs to be stored, it must be stored in an unreadable format. Limit the duration of storage of cardholder data. 3) Maintenance of a vulnerability management program, which includes: * Use and regular updates of anti-virus software programs on all systems. Harmful viruses can enter the user network through email and other online activities. Anti-virus software is an effective tool to protect computer systems from external attacks. * Development and maintenance of secure systems and applications. Security vulnerabilities in the system and applications can enable cyber criminals to access PAN and other secure data. Ensure that all the systems and application are updated with the latest security patch from the vendor. 4) Secure access control measures, which includes: * Restricting business access to cardholder information. Limit access to confidential cardholder data to only those users whose work requires this information. Additionally, restrict the access to the least amount of data required for business purpose. * Assigning of a unique ID to every person with computer access. This is important to be able to trace if the access to critical data has been executed by only authorized persons. 5). Restricting of the physical access to cardholder data. Physical access to cardholder data must be restricted to all onsite personnel, visitors, and all paper and electronic media. 6) Regular monitoring and testing of networks, which includes: * Tracking and monitoring of all access points to network resources and cardholder data. Use of logging mechanisms and tracking of user activities are included. * Regular testing of security procedures and processes. Periodic testing of security controls is important, along with internal and external network scans. 7) Maintaining of an information security policy, which includes: * Maintenance of a company policy that addresses information security. This includes establishing a security policy that addresses all the PCI-DSS requirements, along with an annual process to detect any vulnerability. These set of requirements is mandatory for companies that manufacture devices that accept and process PIN-based transactions or any other type of digital payments. Financial institutions, merchants, and service providers must ensure that they only use devices, approved for PTS (PIN transaction security).
The Importance Of PCI ; Data Security Standard (DS...

As the world moves towards digital means of paymen... Read More