ETHICS BASED ON AHMEDABAD Hacker Falgun Rathod was inspired by Om Jai Jagadish (2002), in which Abhishek Bachchan’s character uses his hacker skills to create security software. Rathod was also motivated by Die Hard 4 (2007), in which a young hacker helps authorities stop a cyberattack, and Hackers (1995).
When Rathod started out as an ethical hacker, around 2009, the concept was fairly new. Having worked in different industries, Rathod learned that it was extremely difficult for an industry to survive cyberattacks without the help of ethical hackers. Especially in the banking and insurance segment. “I knew ethical hacking had a future and decided to make it my career,” he said.
However, it was not easy. The integrity of those who pursue ethical hacking is always under scrutiny. Rathod said customers are “naturally” reluctant to trust an ethical hacker. “They think hackers will hack anything available and misuse the data,” he said. “So proving our integrity is crucial and, at times, difficult,” Rathod added.
But, in recent times, an increase in cyberattacks and data breaches has led to an increased demand for ethical hackers or hackers, who attack customers’ technology to identify weaknesses; they also detect and fix bugs. Recently, Solapur-based ethical hacker Mayur Fartade was paid Rs22 lakh for reporting a malicious bug on Instagram. It allowed access to archived messages, stories and reels without following the user, even when the profile was private. IT companies and police cybercrime units are increasingly employing ethical hackers. Market reports have repeatedly pointed out that there is a shortage of ethical hackers and skilled cybersecurity experts in India.
Rathod said knowledge of operating systems, like Linux, IOS and Windows, is a key skill. He added that interpersonal skills are also important for creating and maintaining good business relationships. “Also, one may or may not be certified, but nothing replaces knowledge,” he said. “There are free tutorials, open notes, research papers and case studies available to learn. I saw students from various fields (pharma, mechanics, commerce) who managed to learn on their own. A student who knows programming languages such as PEARL and PHYTON has an advantage.
Ethical Hacker Trishneet Arora, founder and CEO of TAC Security, a cybersecurity company, developed an interest in ethical hacking at a young age. “I remember when my dad first brought the computer home, I played games on it one day and took it apart the next day to see what was inside. inside and how it worked,” he said. Arora, like Rathod, said there are challenges to being an ethical hacker. “The negative connotations were a troublesome factor,” he said. “The other factor is education. I have often seen people enter the field and not have enough knowledge to make an informed decision on which side to choose. They invest heavily in the dark web and end up on the wrong side of the law. Arora added that those who become ethical hackers can’t stop learning or evolving because adversaries don’t stop. He added that it was important to try new things and think outside the box.
Rathod and Arora have had their share of interesting experiences. Rathod recalls a case where an educational institution received a strange email. “This institution has thousands of students and hundreds of teachers, which makes it difficult to identify the origin of the email.” he said. “It could be from the dark web. We worked on it for months, but couldn’t solve it. It’s been a few years and our team is still clueless. So yes, it happens. Arora believes that each case is unique and a new challenge. “But, we love the challenges that come our way every day,” he said. “It helps us understand threats and explore new ways to secure cyberspace.”
Benild Joseph, cybersecurity researcher, TEDx speaker and podcaster, echoes these views. “I had developed an interest in ethical hacking when I was in high school, but when I ventured into the field around 2009, hackers were known as digital thieves,” said Joseph, a member of the advisory board of Cybersecurity Ventures, New York. , and President, Information Systems Security Association, Indian Chapter. He said there was virtually no opportunity to study ethical hacking during his youth, but added that the field evolved in India.
During his career, Joseph hacked over 40 companies and discovered critical vulnerabilities for Facebook, Yahoo, Blackberry, Sony Pictures, Tesco, AstraZeneca, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom. He said that even though the situation around cybersecurity has improved in India, there are still a lot of skills gaps. Experts believe the future of ethical hacking is bright. “As automation continues, the demand for ethical hackers will increase, not only in India, but globally,” Rathod said.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to a career in ethical hacking like cybersecurity analyst, data analyst, information security analyst, researcher on web vulnerability, malware analyst and forensic researcher. “Companies have more budget for cybersecurity and there are more roles for an ethical hacker,” Arora said. “We are currently short of manpower compared to available jobs.