Be a White-Hat Hacker and Make Money: Here’s How
We all know that hacking is a crime, and we embrace the idea that crime does not pay. In some rare cases though, crime does pay… though not in the way you think. Let’s get educated about how an ethical hacker might get paid for a certain online job.
What you’ll learn here:
- Black-hat hacker vs. White-hat hacker
- What it takes to be a white-hat hacker
- White-hat hacker salary
- Ways of earning as a white-hat hacker
If you are already a full-fledged hacker, then it’s clear you don’t need to read this article. But since you’re one of those curious minds who asked the question of how a hacker could make money, let’s assume you’re not a hacker yet.
To delve into this, let’s answer this question…
Black-hat hacker vs. White-hat hacker, what’s the difference?
In a simple definition, a black hat hacker hacks for personal gain: stealing information from people to gain power, money, and sometimes just for the sake of fun. A white hat hacker (or ethical hacker) on the other hand is someone who’s most probably, a former black hat hacker, who’s tasked to investigate the possible loopholes or weaknesses of a computer system.
Plenty of multi-million companies these days hire white-hat hackers so that their data and all classified information will be free from digital breaches from black hat hackers… who relentlessly scour the web for any valuable data they can steal and sell to the highest bidder.
What does it take to be a white-hat hacker?
Let’s get this straight, becoming a hacker, white-hat or otherwise, is not a walk in the park. To become one, you need to have an impressive list of skill sets. Here they are in summation:
In-depth knowledge about cybersecurity
To put it simply, your job as a white-hat hacker is being a cybersecurity personnel. This means you could be a security analyst, a consultant, or you could be somebody heavily tasked to investigate an ongoing network breach.
Some companies are so wary about their digital security that they commission white-hat hackers to do some preemptive measures to ensure that any upcoming attacks from black-hat hackers will be avoided.
To meet such a demand, you as an aspiring white-hat hacker must have in-depth knowledge about cybersecurity issues. This is the most important trait you should attain if you’re hoping to be a profitable white-hat hacker.
Excellent programming skills
Another thing you must understand is that hackers don’t just execute those speedy keystrokes while guessing usernames and passwords. Why they’re able to penetrate through systems is due to their unparalleled persistence and over-the-top skills… in the field of programming.
If you’ve studied programming only for a few months, it is very unlikely that you’ll become a white-hat hacker in the next few weeks – you need to embrace this brutal truth.
You might still be a white-hacker though if you are knowledgeable with “social engineering” – a virtual set of activities in which you’ll be luring people into giving away their passwords and other sensitive information. But without enough programming knowledge though, your hacking skills will be deemed mediocre and in that case, no company will ever hire you as their white-hat hacker.
Access to advanced networking tools
Apart from your programming skills, you also need to be knowledgeable with plenty of networking software tools that can make your work easier as you investigate possible security breaches faster. Most successful white-hat hackers often create their own custom-designed software tools that can make their hacking work easier – you can’t do that if you have sub-standard programming skills.
Being a former black-hat hacker (optional, but preferable)
Though this might appear unpleasant to hear, it happens to be true – most (if not all) white-hat hackers are former black-hat hackers. After all, how can you ever know how a black-hat hacker thinks if you’re not one yourself?
These days though, there are cybersecurity courses you can take so that you can still become a digital security expert or a white-hacker, without ever becoming a black hat hacker.
How can you actually make money as a white-hat hacker?
Let’s address the question since that’s the very reason why you’re here. Although you won’t be actually labeled as a “white-hat hacker” in your company ID or even in your CV, you can earn a living as such if you do any of the following.
Work as a cybersecurity staff
Though it hasn’t been declared straightly in the previous paragraphs, your exact job description as a white-hat hacker will be actually cybersecurity personnel or staff. In truth, white-hat hacking or ethical hacking is kind of like a slang term – it’s not the actual term for it.
Many companies today have a cybersecurity team that works remotely, though they could be sometimes on the actual site. If you work as a white-hat hacker, you could be a part of this team, or you could be the team leader, depending on your skill and adeptness.
Pitch your white-hat hacking skills to a chosen company
Some companies do hire on-site white-hat hackers, or they might just hire you on some occasions. Either way, you need to let them know that you are very capable of doing the job. This means you have to pitch your skills to them.
Some black-hat hackers often take their first steps in becoming white-hat hackers by actually hacking a certain company’s systems just to prove they are skilled enough. After some thorough negotiations, they eventually get hired by the company and eventually become their resident cybersecurity personnel.
Of course, that move doesn’t work all the time, and it could even send you to jail. To establish your credibility as a cybersecurity expert, you may just make a social media profile that highlights your expertise. To do this successfully, you need to show that you can walk the talk by demonstrating your skills via an interview or via an actual hands-on set of drills on live video.
How much could you earn as a white-hat hacker?
The best thing about working in cybersecurity is that it’s one of the highest-paying jobs today. It is estimated that you could earn somewhere between $150,000 to $200,000 per year. That is if you belong to the analyst or expert-level personnel. If you work with a team or as an associate, you could be paid much lower than that.
Publish your white-hat hacking knowledge
Online content creation is still one of the most reliable ways of making money these days. If you’re confident in your white-hacking skills already, then you might want to try publishing your wisdom about the matter so you could earn from the other curious minds that want to become you in the future.
There are only 3 basic means by which you can publish your content:
If you want it by writing, here’s your guide.
If you want it by vlogging or videoing. here’s how.
If you want to do it by audio, read this.
If no company hires you, or if you hate the idea of a regular job as a white-hat hacker, content publishing might be your best alternative to still make money out of your ethical hacking.
If you’re a criminal who wants to turn over a new leaf, you could take this as an inspiration, or maybe you’re just someone who wants to take the “hacker in you” in a legally profitable direction. Either way, let’s hope you find this article very helpful. If you do, could please share this with your friends?