By Dr Sunil Khanna, Vice President, NU
What is Ethical Hacking?
Ethical hacking?!?!?! How can hacking be ethical?? What is it that everybody is talking about these days? This is the common reaction to the term ethical hacking.
In today’s digital age, organizations are determining how to embrace disruptive technologies that provide significant productivity gains, ultimately increasing revenue while at the same time managing the inherent risks that conducting business in cyberspace embodies. The whole new wave of innovation and enhancements in technology for businesses has also generated various levels of access and connectivity across information, systems, assets and people worldwide. As a result, the traditional infrastructure security that formed the basis for securing the enterprise from the outside world, have become increasingly vulnerable.
There has been a significant growth in cyber-crimes that involves stealing and misusing information by anti-social elements that tend to gain unauthorized access to information in a system. Intrusions in the cyber space as per known evidence have caused huge financial losses as well as brand degradation for many organizations by now.
This has created a demand for a whole new breed of security professionals – Ethical Hackers. Being a legal hacker is commonly referred to as being an ethical hacker, “white hat” hacker, or often referred to as being a “penetration tester.”
Ethical hacking today is one of the most sought after careers in India:
- Huge Demand
India’s cyber security sector is young and growing rapidly. Growth of cloud computing, proliferation of mobile devices etc. have resulted in a larger vulnerable “attack surface”. As per Nasscom, the security market in India estimated to be 1 per cent of the overall IT-BPM industry. The IT security market, estimated at $77 billion in 2015, is growing at over 8 per cent annually.
The Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2016, states that the number of connected devices and sensors, estimated to be 5 million in 2007, is around 5 billion today and is expected to be between 25 to 50 billion by 2020. Therefore demand for security workforce will rise globally to six million by 2019 and as per current estimates, India would needs 1 million cyber security professionals by 2020. With this increase in internet users, security concerns will also increase and the sector will create good future growth prospects for the Indian security industry.
- Job Security
If there ever was a time to enter the field of cyber security, it is now. With the increase in cyber threats, the demand for cyber security professionals is increasing day by day. This automatically creates job security.
- Land up in top companies
Today most organizations are struggling to build cyber security systemssupported by an effective strategy that uses new technologies and strengthens their security team. All this is pushing companies tostrengthen their in-house cyber security expertise with professional security services. According to a report, efforts to protect data from cyber criminals and the setting up fortification for IT infrastructure across the world will create US$35-bn revenue opportunity by 2025 for India’s IT sector. This emerging trend will also create about a million job opportunities in top companies.
- Attractive remuneration
The cyber security professionals are well paid and in high demand. Job opportunities are immense and good compensation only enhances the desirability of the job. The salaries of ethical hackers tend to be nearly 30% to 40% more than the salaries earned by professional in other positions at the same level in other IT fields.
An ethical hacker is someone with spotless reputation employed by an organization to try to penetrate networks or computer systems in the same way as a hacker. Ethical hacker is white hat hacker, who will use the information he/she finds about security vulnerabilities and fix weakness, rather than exploit them. What makes ethical hacking ethical and not a crime is that the owner of the systems and networks to be ‘attacked’ has given legal consent to the work via a signed ethical hacking agreement.
Looking at the immense opportunities in Cyber Security sector, NIIT University and PwC have entered into a strategic tie up to create a talent pool of Cyber Security Professionals in India. Under this partnership, PwC will invest in training and development of the candidates who will be employed with PwC India after the program. In the second year of the program, PwC India will provide six months’ on-site training to the candidates at its offices, where they will get the first-hand experience of real-life work situation. Also, the firm will jointly select the research topics with NU for the industry research for the last six months of the program. PwC India will pay the students a scholarship throughout the two years of the program towards maintenance costs.