CEH stands for Certified Ethical Hacker, and it is the best known among all of the certifications that EC-Council offers. This was designed for the professionals who would like to have further knowledge and understanding of how to spot weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer systems. They are also known to be adept with the tools used by malicious (black hat) hackers.
The Meaning of CEH
Certified ethical hackers (CEH), also known as white hat hackers are professionals who are qualified to penetrate an organisation’s computer systems with consent. The oxymoron suggests that what they do is no different from what the malicious hackers (black hat hackers) do. In fact, they are required to follow the same mindset as the cybercriminals and crack computer systems open. They take note of the strategies and the tools they used in the process, come up with preventive measures to keep the attack from happening in real life and implement those measures.
The digital transformation era heightens the need for companies in any given industry to digitalise their businesses. This also increases the need for sophisticated cyber security infrastructure simply because digital servers are essentially packed with sensitive data which can be easily intercepted. Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore reported that phishing activities, online scams and ransomware incidents dominated the cyber landscape of 2020. It is safe to say that this is going to continuously affect the companies as cybercriminals also continue to come up with new ways how to penetrate computer systems.
This is where certified ethical hackers come in, and their skills are said to only become more needed as time goes by. Because they are expected to think like the black hat hackers a.k.a. the bad guys, they have the big picture and know exactly who they are dealing with. Some of them might have been cybercriminals in the past and just decided to use their skills to do better things and help companies strengthen their cyber security features.
Here are some of the tasks of a certified ethical hacker:
Social engineering. Social engineering or “people hacking” is done to determine the weakness of the “human” defences of an organisation. Basically, the hacker will try to manipulate the victim to do the things they shouldn’t do (e.g. filling out sneaky forms from emails, sharing login details, etc.). In most cases, this strategy defines the kind of cyber security awareness among the employees of the company.
Penetration testing. From the name itself, penetration testing happens when the ethical hacker tries to penetrate the company’s computer systems to identify vulnerabilities, as well as the weaknesses of their defences and endpoints. They would then come up with preventive measures and strengthen the existing defences.
Programming. Ethical hackers also create traps, or what the cyber security people refer to as “honeypots”, which are used to lure the cybercriminals into trying to break into the computer system. This process helps them in acquiring important information about the hackers.
Survey and research. Vulnerabilities are not just present in the computer software—it can also be in the physical IT infrastructure. Ethical hackers also perform reconnaissance and research about the organisation and identify security controls and mechanisms that can be legally evaded without causing any damage.
Other digital and physical tools. These include both hardware and software devices that allow ethical hackers to install malware or bots that will allow them to gain access to the computer networks or servers.
How Can You Get a CEH Certification?
Ethical hacking calls for a comprehensive range of technical skills and practical experience in cybersecurity as well as IT systems. While it is not formally taught in colleges and universities, studying computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, or IT systems management can give a solid foundation for those who work as ethical hackers and penetration testers.
What if you do not have these academic backgrounds? Are you still eligible to be a certified ethical hacker?
The simple answer is yes, provided that you have a strong working knowledge of common operating systems like Windows and Linux, an understanding of TCP/IP protocols, and a propensity for using C, C++, Java, Phyton, and other programming and scripting languages. Administered by the information security industry group EC-Council, the CEH program is an entry-level certification aimed at ethical hackers with little to no experience. Thus, if you want to get the certification, your best route would be to take an official EC-Council training program. Training Vision Institute, in partnership with EC-Council, offers Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security (Advanced Standing) which provides the necessary training that can help you start a career in the cyber security industry.
Here are the steps on how you can get a CEH certification:
- Prepare for EC-Council CEH exam eligibility
First things first—decide which exam eligibility you would like to use. You have two choices: complete the official EC-Council CEH training, or submit and receive approval for your CEH exam eligibility application. The first option is pretty straightforward and much easier. All you have to do is sign up for an official class wherein your CEH exam application fee is included.
TVI’s Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security (Advanced Standing) provides all the foundational knowledge in cyber security. In partnership with EC-Council, this advanced diploma allows you to gain CEH certification upon completion of the course and passing the certification exam. What’s more, you are awarded not only the Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security, but also a Diploma in InfoComm Technology after you complete the programme.
The second option is best for you if self-study is your game. Exam eligibility without official training calls for CEH certification that is version 1 to 7 or a work experience in an InfoSec domain for a minimum of two years.
- Study for the exam
Even if you are confident enough with your knowledge in cyber security and ethical hacking, of course, you still need to prepare for the exam. EC-Council provides a CEH Exam Blueprint that you can use. Focus on the topics that you are not comfortable with, and if possible, try to practice using the timed CEH practice exams.
- Register for the exam
Once you feel like you’re ready to take the exam, register. This is applicable if you requested approval for your CEH exam eligibility application. EC-Council’s website states that you should register at least 3 days before your preferred exam date. For taking the exam, you can either go to a physical testing centre or do it remotely via ProctorU.
- Pass the test!
Focus and be in your best mindset. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good meal, and be confident. Make sure you have a lot of time so that you are relaxed and not cramming.
- Maintain your certification
CEH certification needs to be renewed, otherwise, you will be required to take the exam again. To do so, you can just create an account with EC-Council on their website, go to Continuing Education Page, and perform the tasks that need to be done.
CEH Job Opportunities
Now that you have your CEH certification, what’s next? What are the career options waiting for you?
Digital transformation is on the rise, and ethical hackers have the skills needed not only at the present time but in the years to come. It is safe to say that becoming a certified ethical hacker opens up a myriad of career opportunities. Here are some of the jobs you can apply for once you got the certification:
Penetration tester. This pretty much sums up what a certified ethical hacker does. Penetration testing is a simulated cyberattack against the computer system of an organisation to identify its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. As a penetration tester, you are expected to attempt to break into the varied application systems. Any insights gained from the penetration test will be used to strengthen the company’s cyber security policies.
Cyber security specialist. As a cyber security analyst, your primary role is to protect the hardware, software, and networks of the organization from cybercriminals. You need to have a deep understanding of the details of the company’s IT infrastructure, monitor it at all times, and conduct assessments on the threats that could potentially breach the network. You are also responsible for configuring various security tools, such as virus software, password protectors, and vulnerability management software.
Incident responder. Also known as intrusion analysts, incident responders provide immediate assistance in the event of a cyberattack. If you are an incident responder, it is also your responsibility to assess what kind of security breach happened, identify the number of system failures and reduce further damages.
Cybercrime analyst. As a cybercrime analyst, you are required to work with both private organisations and law enforcement agencies to understand the circumstances surrounding and enabling cyberattacks. You are also responsible for recovering the stolen data, restoring functionality to the damaged systems, and collecting evidence that leads to the identity of the cybercriminals and how they performed the attack.
Cryptographer. As a cryptographer, your primary job is to come up with unique algorithms for the encryption of sensitive data, which will make it incomprehensible in the event that it is intercepted by cybercriminals. Cryptographers often work with financial institutions such as banks to protect users’ information the best they could.
While your skills can take you to places, certifications can definitely help in boosting your career opportunities. Employers would love to know that they are dealing with a professional that has the necessary skills and is certified to perform various key tasks. Invest in yourself and start your dream career by signing up for a course that matches your skills.
Whether you are thinking of switching careers or levelling up your skills in cyber security, our Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security (Advanced Standing) will provide you with the foundational knowledge in info-comm technology and cyber security training that can help you jumpstart your career in the realm of modern technologies.
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