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How Is an Ethical Hacker Different from a Cybercriminal?

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The term hacker is still observed in negative terms, primarily when used by everyday folks. Not many understand the difference between an ethical hacker and their evil or malicious counterparts. As cybersecurity is becoming a part of day-to-day life, it is essential to differentiate between both as it will help in the long run.

In this blog, we’ll debunk the myths about Ethical Hacking for better understanding. You’ll also get to learn about the advantages of learning ethical hacking and why these professionals are in demand globally.

General Perspective About Hacking and Ethical Hacking

The perceptions about hacking have changed compared to the way it used to be in the past. However, this isn’t all that hacking is all about. There is a very thin line if we start listing crucial aspects of hacking vs ethical hacking. In the end, everything depends on the intentions of the said person.

White hat hacking is done by professionals that authorized hackers who test the network to identify exploitable vulnerabilities. Afterward, they prepare a report which the client uses to improve their security posture and prevent potential attacks. They offer protection against criminal hackers.

These days, ethical hackers are in high demand among employers. These professionals find work with almost every organization that handles consumer information.

On the other hand, a cybercriminal intends to use their skills for personal gains. Black hat hacking violates laws, lacks ethics, and breaks into organizations’ systems for personal or commercial gains. They also compromise the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of an organization’s data and systems. They do not play by anyone’s rules, which makes them highly dangerous.

Difference Between Ethical Hackers and Cybercriminals

Both ethical hackers and criminal hackers use the same tools. However, their significant differences lie in their motive. Even though white hat hacking mimics the same techniques as black hat hacking, only ethical hackers are legally recognized.

Here are some important differences between an ethical hacker and a cybercriminal.

What Is Information Security Governance


Ethical Hacker Cybercriminal
Uses information from the hacking exercise to improve the security framework in a system. Uses information to steal valuable and sensitive information from another user.
Follows a code of ethics. Lacks ethics and violates the law.
Access restricted network space with the permission of the user. Access restricted network space without permission or consent of the user.
Their style of operation is known as white hat hacking because the professional doesn’t intend to harm anyone. Called Black Hat Hackers because they are typically the “bad guys.” Also called crackers, phreakers, carders.
Offers safety net to your organization. Attacks and weakens your security infrastructure.
Identifies and exploits vulnerabilities to test and improve the organizations’ security. Exploits vulnerabilities for personal or commercial gains.
Updates and regularly checks security software. Decreases security by launching attacks.
Develops programs such as firewall, pop-up blocker, ad blocker, etc.


Advantages of Learning Ethical Hacking

Now that you have understood the difference between unethical hacking and ethical hacking, it will make sense if you learn and use this skill to make a positive impact. If you’re still contemplating whether ethical hacking is worth it, here are some of the benefits of pursuing ethical hacking as a career.

Understand the Mindset of a Cybercriminal

One of the significant advantages of ethical hacking is learning how to think like a cybercriminal. As a professional white-hat hacker, you will have insights into security risks and threats and how you can improve your security profile. Though, it is not possible to eliminate all the threats from a network. However, you will be able to minimize the impacts of an attack when you undergo an ethical hacking certification course online.

Liberty to Work in Any Industry

Ethical hacking courses will prepare you to work in any of the top industries for network security, including healthcare, banking and finance, retail, government, manufacturing, tech companies, media, and so on. Ethical hackers are frequently employed by Fortune 500 companies. Being a part of an organization of this caliber will give a major boost to your career.

Apart from full-time roles, you can also work as a freelancer and offer consulting services. Cyberattacks are on the rise, and so is the demand for more qualified ethical hackers.

Salary Booster

According to, the average salary of an Ethical Hacker in the U.S. is 93,348 USD per annum. You can scale up your salary by earning cybersecurity certifications and gaining hands-on experience. With your ethical hacker job, you can also penetrate other high-paying fields in cybersecurity and boost your earning capacity.

Advanced Hacking Concepts

You should also learn ethical hacking because you gain in-depth knowledge of advanced hacking concepts to beat cybercriminals at their games. These concepts include hacking mobile devices, corporate espionage, testing web and mobile application security, and writing codes that an ethical hacker uses in their professional life.

Learn Ethical Hacking and Progress in Your Career

Learning ethical hacking and pursuing it as a career is slowly becoming a mainstream choice. IT professionals, college students, and other individuals from different demographics acquire certificates to help them grow in their careers.

If you are also considering becoming one of the good guys in the cybersecurity industry, you should look for ethical hacking courses.

If you are interested to learn more about ethical hacking, check out EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH v11). CEH v11 focuses on hacking technologies and techniques from an offensive perspective. It is one of the most elaborate programs from where working professionals can learn

Learn ethical hacking and earn upto $90k per year.

Start your career as a professional ethical hacker today!


Is hacking illegal?
Hacking can be legal and illegal. If the hacker has the consent of the client before hacking, then it is legal. If the intent is to resolve vulnerabilities and the client is aware of them, it is also permitted. However, if the hacking is performed without the knowledge of the network owner and valuable information is stolen, it is illegal. The hacker can face severe legal charges if caught.
Does the government recruit hackers?
Yes, the government does recruit hackers. You can join a bug bounty program where government agencies reward ethical hackers for detecting security flaws. An ethical hacker can also join government organizations that work on countering cyberattacks and develop new techniques to resolve these issues.
Who do hackers target the most?
Hackers target financial institutions, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, government, tech companies, and the media. Financial institutions are top priorities because of the sensitive information they store, like addresses, social security numbers, credit card details, etc. cybercriminals can find different ways to penetrate customers’ private accounts.
What should I study to become a hacker?
An aspiring hacker should know how different computer mechanisms work. Basic computer education along with the understanding of operating systems, will take you a long way in your journey to learn ethical hacking. Certification courses like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) are the best starting point for anyone who wants to become a professional ethical hacker.
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