An ethical hacker, also known as a ‘white hat’, is someone paid to break into a computer or system. This is a legal profession that helps companies improve their firewall and overall digital defenses. When a white hat is able to successfully penetrate a system, the company can improve the system by strengthening the area of attack.
Ethical hacking has sets of rules to maintain legality as well as protect clients’ data. If a white hat isn’t brought in to test the system but there is a weakness in the firewall, a malicious hacker can force their way in. Sensitive data could then be stolen—whereas controlled, or ethical, hacking would have prevented that.
Where Can I Learn Ethical Hacking?
Given the importance of protecting sensitive information, ethical hacking is very popular. A rise in technology use since the spread of COVID-19 has added to this. To provide the right tools for learning ethical hacking, here are some online courses you can take:
- “Become an Ethical Hacker” by Lynda
This course on LinkedIn contains 18 parts, ranges from Beginner level to Advanced, and spans about 26 hours. It has a 4.8-star rating as well.
- “Cybersecurity for Managers: A Playbook”, hosted by MIT
Primarily created for people on the business side of the spectrum, this course can last nearly two months and the next class is set to start on June 24, 2021. The level of knowledge required is Intermediate to Advanced but the course does have a 4.5-star rating.
- “Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking” on Cybrary
Designed for people who may not know much about the subject, the 23-hour course takes you from Beginner level to Advanced with over 19 modules worth of information.
- “Cyber Security Basics: A Hands-On Approach” from EdX
This free, self-paced course assumes students will have at least a basic understanding of ethical hacking and cybersecurity, though it does claim you don’t need technical security knowledge.
- “Learn Ethical Hacking From Scratch” by Udemy
Even though it’s ranked as a Beginner level class, basic IT knowledge is required. The course itself lasts a little under 15 hours but it has a 4.5-star satisfaction rating.
- “Hacking for Beginners” on Udemy
This course is very different from the previous one in that it only requires a fundamental understanding of computers and no programming or hacking knowledge. However, it is under three hours long.
- “Cybersecurity Specialization” on Coursera, hosted by Jennifer Golbeck
For this course, you are expected to understand cybersecurity at an Intermediate level. The estimated time frame for the class is about eight months if you spend around two hours a week on it.
- “The Complete Ethical Hacker Certification Exam Prep Course” from Tim Pierson
Possibly the most advanced course on this list, you will be required to understand computers, help desk or administrative work, and specific cybersecurity systems. It is approximately 16 hours long and has a 4.3-star rating.
- “The Complete Ethical Hacking Course: Beginner to Advanced!”, hosted by Ermin Kreponic
Though similar in its title, this class could be considered a simpler version of Tim Pierson’s course. No prior knowledge or understanding is required. However, the course is over 20 hours long.
- “Hacking and Patching” by Edward Chou on Coursera
Network system security knowledge will be needed to take this course due to the Intermediate level of difficulty. Unlike the other classes, the satisfaction rating is under a 4.0—sitting at a 3.9 in fact.