Ethical Hacking: Gaining Momentum In India

Manish Bhangale from Vadodara, Gujarat came into limelight for impersonating Dawood Ibrahim’s wife Mehjabeen and procured call details from Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL). The list contained the number of Revenue Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Khadse who is a BJP leader. Aam Aadmi Party demanded an enquiry into the matter and also the resignation of the alleged ministers. What business must a prominent leader have with the underworld? This is a disgrace as pointed out by many. Manish Bhangale also filed a PIL before the vacation bench of the Bombay High Court seeking intervention in the said matter whereby he had “hacked” enough evidence to prove guilt. But the Court found no such grounds of urgency, and that it should be filed before a regular bench in the month of June. Manish also pleads that he has extracted the information by keeping his life under peril for national interests and thus he deserves to be heard. Flip side, we do not see this incident in alien light because as our minds are warmed up to movies, we can understand this really isn’t new. There has been a long standing relationship with politicians and dons. What caught my attention is how an individual managed to do it. How did he manage to do it? Hacking is difficult because the lines are blurred. But to make a career out of it? Yes, that’s possible.

What do ethical hackers do? 

Legality is the only aspect that differentiates an ethical hacker from an unethical one. All their functions are the same. They can penetrate into the system to search for vulnerabilities and rectify it. They adopt countermeasures to seal the loopholes in the system. They employ techniques like scanning the ports, examine patch installations, shoulder surfing etc. They impersonate another person to obtain records. They try to evade firewalls and honey pots. But all this not for personal benefits, but for a larger aim that is of benefitting persons rather than abrogating their rights.

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To think of ethical hacking as a career option is no folly unless and until the purpose of the same is pious. The main factor that is important to pursue a career in hacking is passion. Do what you love and get paid for it. It is fun being an ethical hacker. Starting young is one of the prerequisites in this field young teens like 15 year olds are one of the best hackers who manage to penetrate even the most complicated firewalls. Hacking can be a fun and exciting job. It is an adrenaline pumping job. You can look into other person’s life if you hack into his/her Facebook account, what really matters is whether you will use it for or against him/her. It is a form of voyeurism. But the where does the word ‘ethics’ fit in? This is where the term ethical hackers were coined. Hacking is encouraged as long as you do not misuse the information that you gather. It is not our regular kind of job. It involves twists and turns. Sensitive information is on the display and what they do with it is all that matters. In a way is like an everyday battle between good and evil they battle it out with their own conscience because there is in fact a very thin line between ethical and unethical hackers. Unethical hackers who siphon off funds are jailed by authorities. Rather than going behind bars for it, why not do it legally and also get paid for it? This is the motto of ethical hackers.

How to become an ethical hacker?

To become a Certified Ethical hacker, you will be assessed using penetration techniques. The security of computer systems must be successfully penetrated by you and it is conducted by organizations that hire ethical hackers.

The EC-Council offers another certification, known as Certified Network Defence Architect (CNDA). This certification is designed for United States Government agencies and is available only to members of selected agencies. In India there are numerous schools that offer certification course. Indian school of hacking in Kolkata is one among them. There are more than 200 ethical hacking courses in India.

Social media giants employ ethical hackers

Ethical hacking has grown tremendously over the years because of tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Twitter introducing bounty hunter programmes for hackers and encouraging them to penetrate their systems and rectify the loopholes that are troubling them. Facebook bounty hunter programme was started in 2011 and it rewards hackers who report the best (or should we say, worst) bug.

What do ethical hackers say?

Hacking phone records is simple. The real challenge lies in banking industry. Many fin-tech companies in Chennai employ ethical hackers to test the security systems of banks. Telecommunication industry is very vulnerable right now and even amateurs can penetrate and steal the database and use it for their selfish purposes. Telecom companies spend only 8% for cyber security. This is a major drawback since many users save their bank account details in e-mail. The latest fancy among hackers is to play with pacemakers of heart patients and see them die. Late Mr Barnaby Jack was well known for making ATMs spit case and pacemakers’ crash. It is scary just to imagine what people can do with just a mere click. Thus, it is quite evident that this is a booming area and it surely needs our attention. People even today are under the impression that they have secured their systems just enough that it cannot be hacked by anyone. Wrong! The only reason why your computer is not hacked as yet is because there are no enough hackers to do that. It’s an age old adage, that if you want to get over any difficulty, then you have to face it and therefore to face and to accept hacking is essential. Not only that, it is also imperative to direct such brains on more constructive work rather than leaving them to tread the destructive path.

One thing is for sure there is tremendous value for hacking and if you intend to become an ethical hacker and earn millions just by reporting a bug to Mark Zuckerberg who created the FB by hacking.

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