Hacking is a double-edged sword. As you already know, hacking means to breach into a system without proper authorisation with an intent to manipulate or misuse it. It is nothing but a menace and a dangerous threat to the entire digital world. However, hacking has also been used to counter its own threats. Ethical hacking has proved to be an effective medicine, or rather vaccine, against cyber attacks. As more and more ethical hackers are rising up to fight cyber crime all over the world, brightening the digital future of our age, there also rises a slight problem in this process. This article’s objective is to highlight the same issue: Can ethical hacking create hackers?
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Ethical hacking training programs are designed to teach students the methodologies of hacking. Anyone can learn ethical hacking if they have the required technical aptitude and educational background necessary to understand what happens at the backstage of software, hardware, networks and other digital infrastructure. Ethical hacking is an offensive approach against cyber crime meaning that ethical hackers are taught how to think like a criminal hacker. This also means that teaching ethical hacking includes providing students with all the tools, techniques, tips, and tricks to breach into systems. We can think of it as a classroom where students are given an insight into the mind of the very evil.
This brings us to the issue’s essence. How does one guarantee that the students who are taking the coaching to become white hat hackers will not turn out to become black hat ones? How can teachers guarantee that their students won’t end up as the very evil they are trying to fight against in those classrooms? The only difference between a white hat and a black hat is their intention. And there is no way to ensure that these students won’t choose the wrong side after learning about the fancy, shining and exciting world of hacking. It is true that ethical hacking coaching is like giving an AK-47 to the trainees. However, it is also true that most students and professionals who want to learn white hat hacking and who choose to come into this profession, do it out of a genuine passion for the vocation. This means that in cybersecurity classrooms, be they physical or virtual, more protectors are created than destroyers, and that is a thing to celebrate. The world is already infested with so many malicious hackers, that we need as many protectors and cybersecurity professionals as we can. After all, we all know that those with malicious intent are more motivated than those with benevolent intent.
On the contrary to this issue’s core, there have also been examples where certain black hat hackers have converted to white hat ones. Kevin Mitnick, one of the famous black hat hackers who was even arrested for his crimes back in 1995 has now become an ethical hacker using his skills for noble purposes as a security consultant. Another example is that of Kevin Poulsen, a convicted hacker who along with various other crimes, hacked into a radio station to win himself a car and prize money, has now turned into a white hat, using his skills for catching bad guys and working for Wired.
To sum up, it can be said that there is both good and bad co-existing in the digital world. Even though we can’t guarantee that students who are enrolled in ethical hacking programs like CEH will use their skills exclusively for the good, but we can certainly hope that the training methods applied are focussed on emphasizing the importance of the profession in a way that learners can imbibe the need and essence of cybersecurity in their very core.
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