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What Is the CEH Certification?

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CEH, which stands for “Certified Ethical Hacker” is a cybersecurity certification that indicates an individual’s ability to identify and troubleshoot vulnerabilities within existing security networks. The CEH certification as the first exam of a series of two gives professionals a foundation for pursuing a career in ethical hacking or penetration testing. In this blog post, we will discuss what the CEH certification is, who it is for, why it’s worth pursuing, how to earn it, what its prerequisites are, and what are its main benefits.

What is the CEH certification?

CEH, which stands for “Certified Ethical Hacker,” is a cybersecurity certification that validates an individual’s skills in assessing the security of computer systems by looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems, using the same knowledge and tools as malicious hackers. The Certified Ethical Hacker course or “CEH v11” teaches “the latest commercial-grade hacking tools, techniques, and methodologies used by hackers to lawfully hack an organization.”

CEH was developed by the EC-Council (International Council of E-Commerce Consultants), a global leader in cybersecurity certification and training, as a knowledge-based exam. CEH is one of the most popular cybersecurity certifications available, and it is often recommended for individuals who want to start a career in ethical hacking or penetration testing.

The knowledge-based CEH certification is only the first step of the CEH journey, as the CEH Practical Certification exam is the second. The completion of both steps allows you to earn the CEH (Master) designation.

Who the CEH certification is for?

The CEH certification is considered an entry-level qualification. While there are no formal educational prerequisites for CEH certification, successful candidates for certification typically possess a strong background in computer science, computer programming, computer engineering, or IT security. CEH is often recommended for individuals who want to start a career in ethical hacking. This certification is ideal for penetration and vulnerability testers, cybersecurity consultants, offensive security professionals, and anyone who wants to learn to develop their penetration testing skills and pursue a career in penetration testing.

Is the CEH certification worth pursuing?

Earning the CEH certification will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to start a career in ethical hacking or penetration testing, but more importantly, CEH will “teach you the latest commercial-grade hacking tools, techniques, and methodologies used by hackers and information security professionals to lawfully hack an organization.”

The CEH certification is also worth pursuing as a foundational certification for more advanced certifications, including the following:

  • EC-Council CEH v11 Masterclass
  • GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)
  • Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT)

How to earn the CEH certification?

To earn the CEH certification, you must pass the CEH knowledge-based exam, consisting of 125 multiple-choice questions, with a 4-hour time limit, testing your knowledge in five key areas:

  • Network reconnaissance
  • Network access
  • Network enumeration
  • Maintaining network access
  • Disguising evidence of a network breach

What are the CEH certification prerequisites?

Although there are no formal educational prerequisites for CEH certification, the Infosec Institute recommends the following preparation:

  • Solid understanding of the Windows Operating System (OS).
  •  Exposure to the Linux OS or another Unix-based OS.
  •  Basic understanding of the TCP/IP protocols.

Among the other recommended preparation or prior knowledge for a successful CEH certification exam is the following:

  • Network+ (CompTIA Network+ Certification)
  • Security+ (CompTIA Security+ Certification)
  • Linux Essentials (Linux Essentials Certification)
  • Python for Pentesters (Python for Pentesters Course)
  • Understanding of networking concepts and protocols
  • Understanding of common security risks and vulnerabilities
  • Knowledge of popular hacking tools and techniques

What are the main benefits of earning the CEH certification?

The key benefits of earning your CEH certification can include the following:

Gaining in-depth knowledge of vulnerabilities and risks

Earning the CEH certification will allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of common vulnerabilities and risks, namely those related to network security, access controls, and social engineering attacks, but also those related to application security, database security, and mobile security.

Learning to better protect against criminal hackers

Earning the CEH certification will help you think like a cybercriminal and learn how to better protect organizations against them. Understanding the latest threat landscape will go a long way in helping you design more effective security measures.

Gaining experience using real-world hacking tools

Earning the CEH certification will give you hands-on knowledge of popular hacking tools and techniques used by ethical hackers and information security professionals, namely those related to network scanning and enumeration, social engineering, password cracking, wireless network, and denial-of-service attacks.

Setting your journey to more advanced certifications

Earning the CEH certification will get you going on your journey to more advanced cybersecurity certifications, such as the LPT, GPEN, or CEH v11 Masterclass. The foundational knowledge that CEH gives in vulnerability assessment and protection of threats will be your stepping stone in developing your skills as a cybersecurity professional.

Our other blog posts, Best Cybersecurity Certifications in 2022 and Top 8 Penetration Testing Certifications Your Provider Should Hold, provide an overview of the top certifications you could include in your journey.

Wrapping up

The CEH certification is a highly respected credential in the cybersecurity field. Earning it will not only demonstrate your ability to defend an organization’s systems against ransomware and other cyber threats, but also allow you to start building your skills as a penetration tester. As a foundational certification, CEH is among the very few offering a great combination of both attainability and recognizability, making it an ideal first penetration testing certification.

Contact us if you need help simulating attacks to test out your network security.

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