According to Forbes, cyber risks, including ransomware attacks, data breaches, and IT outages, are a top concern for businesses globally in 2022. Some of the hardest hit sectors in 2021 were education, research, healthcare, communications, and government. Consequently, the need for ethical hackers like information security analysts is also rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the need for these professionals to increase by 33% between 2020 and 2030. Information security analysts monitor network security breaches and check for vulnerabilities.
Ethical hackers are crucial in protecting businesses from cyberattacks, using the same programming languages as malicious hackers. They must stay updated on IT security and the latest methods and programming languages attackers use. Information security analysts may need a bachelor's degree in computer and information technology. However, learning and practicing specific programming languages and security tools is another way to start a career as an ethical hacker.
Like preventive medicine, ethical hacking is proactive instead of reactionary. Criminal hacking and ethical hacking reveal weaknesses in a computer network system. On the one hand, cyber criminals use their coding skills to break safety protocols, change or steal information, and wreak havoc.
On the other hand, ethical hacking can prevent cyber attacks, malicious software downloads, and data breaches. Ethical hackers test for vulnerabilities and weaknesses and use that information to make the system more secure. These professionals must stay up-to-date on the latest cybercrime tech and follow hacking trends while maintaining their integrity.
Ethical hackers need a deep knowledge of programming languages because they must be able to analyze code and make modifications. Programming languages can also automate time-consuming tasks and identify errors in applications. Ultimately, the best programming languages for ethical hacking depend on the target computer systems and platforms.
Additionally, open-source platforms provide ready-to-use applications in various programming languages to customize as needed. Ethical hackers must develop open-source programs and participate in hacking forums to keep up with current trends. After all, what is ethical hacking without knowledge of what tools and languages hackers are using?
UNIX and Linux operating systems come with Shell (SH) and the Bourne Again Shell (Bash) by default. These shells provide an ordered list of commands that hackers can use to gain access to data. Bash enables interactive line editing and job control, with features similar to C Shell (C SH).
C is a valuable low-level language for hacking into hardware components and writing fast programming scripts. It's one of the oldest programming languages, developed in the early 1970s for the Bell Labs' UNIX operating system. Developers use the C programming language and expansions to build operating systems, databases, and compilers.
The C programming language is suitable for ethical hacking as it helps access memory and system processes. Ethical hackers use C to reverse engineer, simulate a cyberattack, then gain access as if a system breach occurred. Students can study this popular language online through tutorials, workshops, or cybersecurity-focused coding bootcamps.
This reliable programming language is widely used for ethical hacking and tracking future risks. It's a cross-platform language, so ethical hackers can deploy Java on various operating systems, including Mac, Linux, and Windows. Additionally, they need a deep understanding of Java if their focus is developing hacking programs for Android.
Ethical hackers use Perl to create exploits and tools for penetration testing, mimicking real-world attacks. These tests help identify ways hackers breach security by locating where the app, network, or system is vulnerable. Perl provides a learning center on the website, with the language download and resources, including best practices.
Web and mobile app developers use Hypertext Processor (PHP), and hackers typically use PHP in Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. These attacks attempt to shut down the website, making its web applications unavailable to users. Ethical hackers use PHP to develop server hacking programs to detect malicious behaviors.
Various free and low-cost courses are available to learn PHP online, and some courses specifically address hacking in PHP. Coders learn to exploit, defend against attacks on PHP language, and test architecture, design, and web apps. A coding bootcamp in PHP is a more comprehensive option offering collaborative learning.
The Tiobe Index rated Python as the most popular programming language worldwide in July 2022. Python is an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use general-purpose language for automation, and it powers popular cybersecurity tools like Scapy. Ethical hackers can use Python for reverse engineering, malware analysis, forensics, and readily available debuggers, disassemblers, and hex editors.
Examples, tutorials, and online courses in ethical hacking with Python are excellent ways to start learning secure coding principles. Online courses provide an opportunity to get instructions on how to install a hacking lab and the necessary software. Additionally, it's an opportunity to explore tools and practice ethical hacking.
According to the Global Tech Council, Ruby is one of the best coding languages for hacking a multi-purpose corporate system. It's a flexible web-focused language for writing exploit code and is the base language of the Metasploit framework. Metasploit is a modular penetration platform to test, write, and exploit code.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is what relational databases use to query, delete, insert, and update information. Malicious hackers use the SQL programming language to restrict queries, steal sensitive data, and wage web-based attacks. Understanding the language helps developers and database administrators understand and prevent SQL database-related attacks, like SQL Injection.
For example, malicious hackers can exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities, bypassing login and other app security to access data. An expert ethical hacker typically knows how to apply different solutions, including bind variables, escaping, and whitelisting input validation. Ethical hacking SQL injection tutorials can provide an opportunity to develop hacking skills.
Ethical hacking requires the skills and mindset of a hacker, so the more robust your coding skills are, the better. In addition to learning coding languages, you need to be an excellent problem solver and know existing security tools. Fortunately, there's no shortage of learning methods, from tutorials to bootcamps.
Programming languages such as C++, SQL, and Python power operating systems, database applications, and networks. The best ethical hackers use various programming languages to build tools, automate tasks, and identify and exploit programming errors. Additionally, understanding programming languages enables you to use open-source options to customize existing applications and add methods as needed.
C++ is one of the go-to C languages for hackers because it helps them gain low-level access to hardware and processes. This C expansion language enables hackers to write fast and efficient programs, easily exploiting system vulnerabilities. C++ is also versatile, supporting different programming methods, including functional, object-oriented, and procedural.
Ethical hackers use C++ for reverse-engineering and exploit writing to discover vulnerabilities in a system or network. This open-source code also powers cybersecurity programs such as the network mapper tool, Nmap. Beginners can learn C++ online on platforms such as Udemy and Coursera, coding bootcamps, or pursue a degree program.
Python ranks as the number one popular programming language in the world, according to 2022 Tiobe Index data. It's also a popular language with hackers because it provides powerful and easy-to-use libraries enabling them to work quickly. Additionally, Python has a sizeable third-party library with plug-ins that hackers can use.
Ethical hackers use Python to test vulnerabilities and security assessment processes like malware analysis. Python is also suitable for expediting the scanning process, data analysis, scripting, and task automation. This programming language typically has a shorter learning curve than other popular hackers' languages, like the C family.