become a white hat hacker

What is a white hat hacker?

In the era of advanced technologies, organizations need a sound defensive security system. A strong line of defense will help the enterprises stay ahead of their competitors and maintain customer trust. That’s when a white hat hacker comes into the picture.

Contrary to the popular notion, not all hackers exploit the valuable data assets of an organization. A hacker who uses hacking skills to protect organizations from threat actors is called as a “white hat hacker.” They actively search for vulnerabilities in a security system so that the flaws can be patched before a cybercriminal can take advantage of them to penetrate the system.

The different hacker types

Conventional Roles and Responsibilities of a White Hat Hacker

As widely recognized, apart from vulnerability testing, white hat hackers (or ethical hackers) are responsible for multiple other responsibilities. Still, their major role is to imitate the activities of a black hat to fortify the security defenses.

  • Scanning ports to identify flaws – White hat hackers use port scanning tools (such as Nessus or Nmap) to find whether there are any open ports. They study these ports in detail to come up with countermeasures to defend them against cyberattacks.
  • Examine patch installations – They also examine patch installations so that threat actors can’t exploit them.
  • Social engineering methods – They use social engineering methods, such as shoulder surfing, to collect crucial information. The steps that can help any cybercriminal to gain access to sensitive data.
  • Dodge honeypots, IDS, or other systems – White hat hackers also try different methodologies and approaches to evade honeypots set up by the organization. They look for loopholes that can give black hats the access to avoid firewalls, IDS/IPS ((Intrusion Detection Systems/Intrusion Prevention Systems), or honeypots.
  • Sniffing – They also perform network sniffing, hijacking web servers, and other network-related loopholes.

Salary of a white hat hacker

According to Payscale, the average salary of an Ethical Hacker in the U.S. is $84,497, with the most popular job roles being:

  • Ethical Hacker
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Security Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Consultant, (Computing / Networking / Information Technology)
  • Penetration Tester

However, a Certified Ethical Hacker’s average salary in the U.S. is $91,000!

The most popular companies that hire Certified Ethical Hackers include, but are not limited to:

  • Booz, Allen, and Hamilton
  • S. Army
  • S. Air Force (USAF)
  • General Dynamics Information Technology Inc
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation

How to Become a White Hat Hacker?

Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) Master

The Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) Master program covers 340 attack technologies spread over 140 real-time labs. The program does not only have ANSI accreditation but is also recognized by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) as a baseline program. It covers basic and advanced modules, including IoT Hacking and Vulnerability Analysis. It is engineered by the experts of the industry and is meant for auditors, security professionals, site administrators, and anyone who belongs to network infrastructure.

The program is also created in compliance with the NICE 2.0 Framework. This establishes a taxonomy and common lexicon that describes cybersecurity work and workers irrespective of where or for whom the work is performed.

The multiple-choice question exam, to test one’s knowledge, is accompanied by a six-hour-long hands-on exam, where you will need to prove your ethical hacking skills. Under this program, you will be tested on threat vector identification, network scanning, vulnerability analysis, and different hacking methodologies.


What does a white hat hacker do?

A white hat hacker evaluates the security posture of an organization by identifying potential vulnerabilities. These professionals fortify a firm’s security before a hacker can exploit the existing flaws.

Read more: How to Become a White Hat Hacker

How much do white hat hackers make?

White hat hackers are also known as ethical hackers. As per PayScale, the average salary for an ethical hacker is $84,497. Sometimes it comes with bonuses and profit-sharing.

Read more: Building a White Hat Army in the War for Cyber Peace

Who is a grey hat hacker?

A hacker exploiting a security system with no ill intention, but without any authorization is termed as a grey hat hacker.

Read more: Types of Hackers and What They Do: White, Black, and Grey

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