What is a hacker?
A black hat hacker breaks into computer systems out of greed or malice. A gray hat does it to make a political point. A whitehat aims to subvert and improve computer software and hardware. It’s the whitehats SPYSCAPE is most interested in for this article. They use their technical talent to gain knowledge and insight, and they can be a tremendous force for good.
If you have a curious mind, you’ll love learning the ins and outs of software and networks. It’s challenging, rewarding and satisfying. It is even possible to be paid by companies/governments to hack their systems and inform them of weaknesses.
How easy is it to get paid?
Through sites like HackerOne, companies have paid out millions of dollars to hackers across the world who have helped fix tens of thousands of vulnerabilities. It’s happening every hour of every day.
Where do I start?
Get started with tutorial websites like Hack The Box or Hack This Site. They offer game-style hacker ‘missions’ that teach you real-world techniques and exploits. If you’re after something more serious, the Offensive Security Certified Professional training course offers thorough - and very challenging - hacking exams. If all of that seems like too much, browse the /r/hacking community on Reddit for a low-key way in.
Are there any risks?
Hacker software and code can be dangerous. So we recommend keeping your personal laptop out of the hacking game, getting a second laptop and installing an operating system like Kali Linux, which is ideal for penetration testing. For more information, see SPYSCAPE’s guide to penetration testing.