For the past 20 years, online technologies and the internet have developed rapidly. Times have changed how countries fight each other, the battles have now shifted to the online worldwide web.
You used to have planes and tanks to fight a war. Now, all it takes is one geek in a basement to start a war online. Today a physical military defense of a country is no longer sufficient, an online cyber army supported by hackers is needed to protect them and their democracy.
Every day thousands of hackers from other countries aim their digital arrows at the West, with the aim of increasing the contradictions in our society and thus undermining our democracy. The weaknesses in our systems have been considered by them. They have learned all about the western psyche, of which they have made a thorough analysis. For example, we are weak on social flanks. They can do very disruptive work there.
Russia is at the forefront of the cyberwar, culminating in the hacking of the email files of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Elections have become an increasingly important target for hackers. The Russians are constantly pushing the boundaries, looking at how far they can go. But we should not underestimate the Chinese either. They have a strong tradition of spying and they are patient and work in the long term. Other superpowers in the cyberwar are the US, Israel, and Iran, but also countries like North Korea or even Sudan are launching attacks. That is the great danger of a cyber weapon: it is asymmetrical. With relatively little effort and financial resources, you can cause enormous damage.
Each country is now working on its very own cyber army
In addition to the sea, land, air, and space, cyberspace has become the 5th working area of the armed forces. Armies of several countries are now recruiting plenty of IT staff to build a cyber army with hundreds of experts. Their task is to ensure the protection of their systems and monitor when and how others try to attack them.
There are online scouts at the gates of each system every night trying to figure out how to get in. So, everyone needs to be on their guard constantly. This to ensure no one will get in.
The digital era has become a critical part of any military operation. Countries all over the world have become increasingly dependent on networks: planes are connected to each other; soldiers send data online so that the headquarters knows their exact positions and their remaining ammunition. Of course, you do not want those networks to stop or be intercepted by the enemy. And conversely, competitors look for the weaknesses in the systems of the other.
IT-talents urgently needed
Good IT specialists are needed to protect digital systems. Hackers with no malicious intent. Without them, a country can no longer be safe. The armies in the Western world feel the same urgency as many organizations from the business world. But there is still a huge shortage worldwide in talented IT specialists and hackers.
In the coming years, the army will try to recruit more talented hackers. It does this, among other things, by collaborating with companies and universities. Education is also an essential element in an army’s digital strategy.
Universities offer courses for Ethical Hackers
Recent developments made by universities are promising for the huge short several countries are facing these days when it comes to finding ethnical Hackers for their cyber army. Universities in Holland, Belgium, England and even Scotland. Launched in 2006, The Abertay’s Ethical Hacking degree in Scotland was the first in the world and is recognized as one of the UK’s leading vocational security program. Since then, many other universities have followed and by doing so they are supporting their country and economy. These Ethical Hackers are the future cyber army and protectors of the business world for their country.
Dutch army wants to recruit their own ethical hackers as reservists
The Dutch army wants to recruit ethical hackers as reservists for a Cyber Command. The reservists have to assist ordinary soldiers in missions, for example by breaking into the computer systems of the enemy or intercepting communications.
The army wants to take the hackers on missions where, for example, communication from enemy troops can be intercepted or missile installations must be able to be disabled remotely. Setting up the Cyber Command will cost 50 million euros in a period of four years, after which the unit will have to do its work for 21 million euros per year.
So what is an Ethical Hacker?
An ethical hacker (also known as an IT security consultant, penetration tester or pen tester) is someone who detects errors and security problems in systems, networks, applications and servers for companies in order to optimize security. This professional knows the thinking and working methods of hackers and uses them to guarantee a secure IT environment.
What does an ethical hacker do?
The ethical hacker works for various clients and detects errors and vulnerabilities in their IT systems, networks, servers, and applications. He does this by means of penetration tests or pen tests (English for “penetration test”). The ethical hacker tests the relevant IT environment for vulnerabilities, and then actually breaks into the system via such a vulnerable spot.
The findings of the tests performed are reported by the hacker and provided with advice, which is fed back to the customer so that he can make the required adjustments. In some cases, ethical hackers themselves implement the required security solutions and/or train internal personnel to prevent security problems.
What is the salary of an ethical hacker?
What you earn as a certified Ethical Hacker differs from your work experience, among other things. If you work as a certified hacker for 1 to 4 years, your Certified Ethical Hacker salary is around 41,000 euros per year. If you work as a hacker for 5 to 9 years, you will quickly earn 56,000 euros per year.
If you have more than 9 years of experience as a hacker, you can even earn more than 80,000 euros per year. Of course, your earnings as an Ethical Hacker also differ per assignment.
There is a reason why I wrote this article. I have seen the need for IT-specialists and ethical hackers with my own eyes. Not only to create cyber armies but also for protecting the business world. The demand for these people is growing rapidly, and the shortage is felt worldwide. I hope to encourage young IT talents in protecting their country and the business world that helps to develop their country’s economies. We are in this together and our online systems need smart individuals to protect us from those who want to harm us.