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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ethically yours!

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AMREEN IZHAR WRITES ABOUT CAREERS IN CYBER SECURITY AND ETHICAL HACKING

   Do your friends call you a computer geek, and hate you for hacking into their account and editing it? Have you hacked into a website and put in your name for fun? If so, welcome to the world of cyber security and ethical hacking. 

   It is estimated by NASSCOM that the demand for cyber security professionals would be around 90,000 by 2010 in India, whereas worldwide this figure is estimated to touch about 2,00,000, but the industry estimates much higher demand in the local as well as overseas market. With such promising figures, amateur hackers are gearing into professional courses worldwide.

Job-Profile

Cyber criminals or hackers strike in various ways by virus attacks, which may erase your entire system or someone can steal confidential information breaking into systems and modifying your files without your knowledge. 

   According to Prateek Agarwal, Ivy Professional School: "An ethical hacker's seeks to answer the following basic questions: What information can a malicious hacker access on the victim systems? What can he do with that information? How can he be trapped? How can the security vulnerabilities be plugged?"

The job of a cyber security professional include the following:

• Ethical Hacking into a company's network to find out what security loopholes need to be fixed
• Creating security policy for an organization
• 24×7 remote management of security products like firewall
• Security auditing, that is, compiling a report on a company's security system to see if it matches standards
• Cyber Forensics, that is, clinical investigation of computer crimes/fraud
• Training others about ethical hacking
Scope for growth
At the entry level, one can start as an:
• IP hacker
• Application hacker
• Physical infrastructure hacker
• Wireless hacker

At mid-tier level, the roles one can take up are:

• Internet security executive (correlating broad security guidelines of the organization with security operations)
• Is manager's role (responsible for designing and development of information security policy)

Senior and top levels of the profession involve the roles of:

• security advisors/auditors
• chief information officer 

   With an increase in the broadband penetration in India, security threats are also on rise. 

   According to Prateek Agarwal, "The average users of internet now, are those with no technical knowledge, making them prone to such susceptible threats. The social networking sites, and internet platform are the prime target of hackers, also there are 120 million mobile internet users - this makes the vulnerability quotient high. There is a rise in e-government applications too, so there are innumerable opportunities. In the coming times, everyone from a small chemist shop, to MNCs will need ethical hackers for security."     So, once in the profession, there's no looking back. It's all about where your skills can take you.

Skills needed

"Although, software engineers do have a preference, the basic requirement to be a cyber crime professional is a graduate in any discipline. Good knowledge of networks and understanding of hackers mind is essential apart from aptitude and keenness to learn," feels Sunita Kumar, career counsellor.     Along with these, one needs to learn multiple languages and    multiple systems, starting from the simple TCP/IP - the basic language in which servers and PCs connected to the internet certifications like CISA (Certified Information System Auditor), CISM (Certified Information Security Management) and CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professionals) would help a person to start a career in cyber security. Other vendor specific certifications like CCSP (Cisco Certified Security Professional) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) also help.

Pros and Cons

Pros
• It does not restrict itself to people with certain qualifications, skills are must
• Great growth potential due to the upsurge in cyber threats all over the world
• Good pay package
 
Cons
• Continually improving one's skills, the threats one is dealing with today, may not be there tomorrow
• Along with finding loopholes in the security systems, answers must also be sought
• Anyone can just scan and find problems in security
• The hacking environment can change the second you have finished your detailed report. So constant tracking and attention is must
• The lure to earn fast bucks can lead to hacking for personal gains too.

Remuneration

"An amateur without certifications can easily get Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a month," feels Prateek. Those with five years can get between Rs 8-10 lakh. Those with certifications like CISM, CISSP and CISA can expect annual salaries of Rs 1 lakh abroad. Freelance ethical hackers can expect to make $10,000 per assignment in the US, whereas in India, freelance ethical hackers are hired from known security firms.

Where to study   

IMT Ghaziabad 

   Ankit Fadia certified ethical hacker courses Tilak Maharashtra University, Pune
   K- secure    Ivy Professional School

Source : The Hindu
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