If you’ve followed along with our social media posts this month, you probably already know that there are different types of hackers. Some do it for the good, and some do it for the bad. White hat hackers are the ethical kind of hacker, using network penetration tests to help find vulnerabilities within data systems and developing strategies for strengthening security measures.

Here’s what you should know in order to get started as an ethical hacker:

The Skills You’ll Need

The ethical hacking process involves a significant amount of problem solving. Hackers must not only be able to work through technical problems by balancing both intelligence and common sense. Additionally, it’s important for white hat hackers to:

  • Adapt easily to changing situations.
  • Understand different programming languages.
  • Know how to encrypt and decipher messages.
  • Have networking and social engineering skills.
  • Exercise patience, even when working under pressure.

Think Like a Black Hat Hacker

The primary goal of an ethical hacker is to figure out ways that an unethical or ‘black hat’ hacker could possibly penetrate networks in order to prevent sensitive or private data from being stolen. In essence, white hat hackers must think like a black hat hacker to provide efficient solutions for securing networks and preventing unethical attacks. Black hat hackers are getting more and more creative with their tactics, so for white hat hackers to be successful in preventing data security breaches, they must adopt an outside-of-the-box thinking pattern. 

Education Requirements for White Hat Hackers

Although more programs are developing among colleges that are centered upon cybersecurity, there is not currently a degree program for becoming a white hat hacker. Organizations that look for ethical hacking services commonly look at previous experience and certifications (i.e. CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker) of potential candidates. Some employers will require a college degree in Information Technology or Security, but acquiring certifications and utilizing educational resources within your community is a great place to start. Here in Westminster, the Carroll Community College offers both an Associates Degree and Certifications in Cybersecurity that are in high demand.  

Learn more about CCC’s programs here: Carroll Community College – Cybersecurity

How MAGIC Can Help

MAGIC was developed to provide students, entrepreneurs, and business leaders an ideal tech ecosystem in which they can learn, create, and grow. Our Capture The Flag (CTF) events are specifically geared towards beginners interested in cybersecurity. In these competitions, high-school and college-aged students use coding skills and hacking tools to overcome challenges and solve puzzles. Our Cyber Club is a free opportunity for middle and high-school students to study cybersecurity, collaborate with peers of the same interest, and improve their tech skills. We are also partnered with the Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative to help students find apprenticeships in cybersecurity.  

Learn more about the CYAI here: Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative

Throughout the year, we host workshops and hold classes on different aspects of technology, and are always finding new ways to provide students in the community with unique and exciting opportunities to grow in the cybersecurity and tech fields. 

Interested in becoming a white hat hacker? Contact MAGIC today to learn more about how we can help get you there!