Contrary to some popular beliefs, not every hacker is malicious. Hackers that basically use their skills to help protect attacks are known as white hats. Meanwhile, those who are searching to take down some networks, compromise systems or steal data are referred to as black hats. White hat hackers work to find security weaknesses to repair them before they could be exploited by attacks.

If you like to become a white hat hacker, you have to know everything about hacking. Knowledge and experience in information technology is actually a prerequisite. Majority of positions need a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Certifications and experience are also essential when it comes to the world of cyber security.

Once you have worked in cyber security for several years and have both education and skills to be comfortable in your position, you may like to go further. The good thing is that there are master’s degrees and PhDs in cyber security that can help climb even high in your career. If you like a career with upward mobility, you’ve found one in cyber security.

Color photo of a hacker holding a red card in front; used to illustrate the importance of knowing hacking skills.
White hat hacking basically involves a good deal of problem solving and communication skills. | Photo credit: Pixabay

What Do White Hat Hackers Do?

A lot of information systems security personnel work to set up counter measures against hacking. But ethical hackers work backward against them searching for vulnerabilities with the use of the same methods that black hat hackers use. Such methods are Trojans, Brute Force Hacking, DoS or Denial of Service, SQL injection, network enumeration, worms, social engineering, and viruses.

White hat hackers will try getting into the system with the use of any necessary means, whether using renowned cyber attack tools or making their own. While that could sound a bit shady, such troubleshooting steps are important to the ability of network security analysts for them to do their work properly.

Are there any Educational Requirements for a White Hat Hacker?

White hat hacking basically involves a good deal of problem solving and communication skills. White hat hackers need a balance of common sense and intelligence, organizational and strong technical skills, being able to remain cool even under pressure, and must have impeccable judgment.

White hat hackers have to think like black hat hackers with nefarious goals as well as devious behavior and skills. Several top-rate white hat hackers were actually former black hat hacker that were caught and for some reasons, they decided to leave the life of their crimes behind and put skills to work in a legal and positive way.

Experience over Education

Generally, there are no standard education criteria for white hat hackers, but a master’s or bachelor’s degree in computer science, information security or mathematics offers a strong foundation. Each organization may impose its own requirements on the position.

For those who are not college bound, military background, particularly in intelligence, may help resume get noticed through hiring manages. Also, military service is a plus for the employers who need or prefer the ones with security clearance.

Color photo of human hands typing on laptop keyboard; used to illustrate the meaning of computer skills.
For experts working in information security, most of the best tools are the ones that hackers use. | Photo credit: Pixabay

Tools White Hat Hackers Use

There are lots of information security work, which happens in the brain, outthinking your opponents and designing reliable and safe systems conceptually. As amateur of fact, you could argue that the most valuable tools of cyber security professionals are knowledge, intellect, and confidence.

For experts working in information security, most of the best tools are the ones that hackers use. To know the holes in your system, you need to see it in the way that your potential adversaries could see it. That means looking through same analytical lenses at your systems and networks. Such tools are evolving constantly. Even if the names remain to be the same, the ways they run frequently change radically as new mechanisms or defenses for attacking defenses come into play. Therefore, staying current on cyber security industry tools is a challenge that never ends.

Specialized tools for hacking

Several tools are specialized or custom-made and you could find yourself working with single software package that’s optimized for your roles. The good thing is that many best tools are free both as in beer and as in speech. Freely-distributed and open source security tools have been always among the most crucial in the industry since their collaborative development outpaces the private sector efforts and due to the ability to understand and view how codes operate prevent nefarious purposes from baked in.

Below are some of the tools used by many white hat hackers:

– Nmap

NetworkMapper or Nmap is 2 decades old, yet remains one of the most useful, flexible,and powerful tools in the toolkit of network security analysts. Nmap may bounce UDP and TCP packets around your network like pinball wizard, determining hosts, scanning open ports, as well as slicing open misconfigured firewalls to show  you what devices are open for the business on your network.

Metasploit Framework

This white hat hacker tool turned hacking to a commodity when it’s released in year 2003, Metasploit Framework made cracking known vulnerabilities as simple as click and point. Even if sold as penetration testing tool, the free version is still where most neophyte hacker cut teeth. Through downloadable modules enabling any combination of executable and exploit payload, all hackers have an instant access to the system that shows thousands of cataloged vulnerabilities.


It’s a suite of the low-level tools, which rights most wrongs built in the original network-level utilities in many online operating systems. Made as an important part of bulletproof implementation of OpenBSD UNIX, OpenSSH was basically useful enough as well as solid enough that it’s adopted by some UNIX forks and available as the portable packages for some operating systems.


It’s the most famous vulnerability scanner in the world. Automated compliance scans may handle everything from auditing passwords to patch-level compliance around network with reports that draw attention to open vulnerabilities.


It’s everybody’s go-to when it is time to research a virus and turn up that RFP you are looking for. Your work could be a nightmare without this. However, Google is one of the largest vulnerability databases of all time, which includes possible holes in the servers.

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Becoming White Hat Hacker – Education and Tools Needed

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