What is White Hat Hacker? Interview with Hacken's Chief Cybersecurity Officer
You all know that Hacken aims to unite blockchain and IT businesses with the community of white hat hackers. However, what do you actually know about white hats? What hurdles do they experience during employment? How much money do they get? How people become white hat hackers?
We interviewed our co-founder and experienced white hat hacker Nikita Knysh to receive answers on our numerous questions.
Nikita, how to become a white hat hacker? What knowledge and skills do you need?
Let's first define the word hacker. In my opinion, this is a person with an IT background, sometimes a programmer, sometimes a developer, sometimes a tester with advanced skills in coding and computer science. Hackers study program/code to find the ways to manipulate it by interacting with another program/code.
Here’s a specific example: people fill out authorization forms every day on different websites to enter their user account information, and hackers are interested in getting access without filling out the login form. Alternatively, they can be looking for ways to break the form by using incorrect data or special characters.
What is the difference between white and black hat hackers?
White hackers differ from the Black one in that the former use existing knowledge and capabilities to improve a software product with the permission of a product owner. Black hackers aim to get personal benefits by stealing information from legitimate owners.
A white hacker is a person with strong moral principles. White hackers work in the field of cybersecurity and promote ethical activities within the sphere. They get many stimuli to maintain both their skill set and their integrity: they are officially rewarded by companies, receive community recognition, and get offers from top global companies. Black hackers are much less likely to receive more money but much more likely to get prison terms.
Where and how to get white hacker training?
Hacking is not a special education but rather a lifestyle. A lot of people find themselves in this field after getting acquainted with computer games, others have a Computer Science background, and some come from the field of applied mathematics. In the end, these guys find a bug, dig deeper, get to enjoy the process, and want to continue looking for bugs in the future. Simplistically, I would say that self-education makes people programmers, and the curiosity of programmers makes them hackers.
How much does a white hat hacker earn?
The salary can vary greatly. There are bug bounty platforms where hackers are paid for finding bugs. For instance, Apple promises $200,000 for a serious (critical) bug in the code; Intel, Google, and Microsoft offer similar amounts. At the same time, hackers can work as technical specialists in almost all Internet-based companies. They can perform a routine pentest or automated testing of code. It is difficult to represent an average salary as a uniform number, but it is fair to say that most hackers do not receive less than $2-3 thousand a month. Perhaps, the most highly-valued experts get up to $ 100,000 per month, but there is no single way to answer this question.
What difficulties do white hackers face when looking for employment?
The word hacker causes a negative reaction, especially from residents of CIS countries. People are not used to seeing ethical, or, in other words, white hat hackers who break down systems in order to test them for strength. In any way, it's better to pay once and check your safety rather than later lose 5 or even 10 times more as a result of carelessness. People had an unfavorable opinion of lockpickers for a century, but, in the end, the producers of safes started to employ them. Metaphorically, white hackers know how to open digital safes with good intentions — people just need more time to realize the value they create.
Which industries typically hire white hackers? What are the goals?
At the moment, the demand for hacker services is generally quite low. People avoid employing hackers due to negative stereotypes. However, IT companies, in particular, the companies that deal with cybersecurity, are happy to hire ethical hackers in order to carry out various penetration tests, bug bounty programs, and other services. By large, modern hackers are outsourcers that work as independent experts.
What are the advantages associated with hiring white hackers?
First of all, it should be noted that while regular programmers know how to build, hackers not only know how to build but they also know how to break. Based on this distinction, hiring hackers enhances the security of a company's systems. All in all, hackers have a unique way of thinking and can find bugs that wouldn’t be discovered by a regular expert. Hackers can also be good system architects since they know the insides of many systems.
That's it! Now you know more who are white hats and what they are doing for a living. Ethical hackers break things to make them stronger. You can ensure in it yourself visiting HackenProof bug bounty platform where VeChain, Neverdie, and some other companies have submitted their programs to identify bugs and reward white hats.
It’s a community-driven business organization, consisting of HackenHub, HackIT cybersecurity conference, HackenProof bug bounty platform, and Crypto Exchange Ranks.