CEH, which stands for “Certified Ethical Hacker,” is a certification offered through EC-Council (The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants) that indicates an individual’s ability to use hacking techniques to identify and troubleshoot vulnerabilities in existing security networks. Ethical hackers use some of the same techniques as unlawful hackers, but the goal is to help strengthen security systems–not tear them down.
Why Get CEH-Certified?
Apart from the benefits of simply gaining knowledge that can help your company, there are several reasons to consider becoming a CEH:
- It shows your commitment to cybersecurity. As you’ll see later in this post, becoming a CEH is a fairly involved process, so attaining the certification really proves to yourself and employers that you’re in the industry for the long haul, and that you’re willing to put in the time and energy to be an effective contributor.
- It could be easier for you to get a job. HR often uses certifications like the CEH to screen candidates, and if you are a CEH it’s a quick indicator that you could be more qualified than other candidates.
- The CEH-Certification is Department of Defense-certified, which means that working in cybersecurity for the government is now an option for you.
- New certifications, such as the CEH, often lead to salary increases.
- You may qualify for more advanced roles within your company.
How to Get CEH-Certified
Becoming a CEH is a multi-step process, but it’s fairly uncomplicated. Follow the steps outlined below and you’ll be well on your way to receiving your certification!
CEH Training Courses and Work Experience
There are two ways to be approved to take the CEH exam.
The first is to attend an EC-Council-approved CEH training course. This course will not only prepare you for the exam, but teach you the skills you’ll need to operate in a cybersecurity ethical hacking position.
The second way to be approved to take the CEH exam is to have a minimum of 2 years of work experience in information security. If this route makes more sense for you, you’ll have to get your work experience verified and approved by EC-Council by filling out this application and paying a $100 application fee.
The CEH Exam Voucher and Exam Registration
Once you’ve finished your training course or your work experience has been approved, EC-Council will reach out to you to give you information about buying your exam voucher. You must purchase your exam voucher, which costs $950, within three months of your exam application being approved. Then, EC-Council will reach out to you again with your eligibility code and your voucher code, which you can use to schedule your CEH exam. In order for this voucher to be valid, you must schedule your exam to take place within one year of purchasing your voucher.
You can register for and take the CEH exam at either a Pearson VUE Testing Center or an ECC Exam Center.
The CEH Exam
The CEH Exam is a computer-based multiple-choice exam. You’ll have 4 hours to answer a total of 125 questions covering the following topics and weighted respectively:
- Background (4%): This will cover, among other things, web and mobile technologies, communication protocols, and malware operations.
- Analysis/Assessment (13%): This will cover, among other things, risk assessment and data analysis.
- Security (25%): This will cover, among other things, network security, wireless access technology, and network vulnerabilities.
- Tools/Systems/Programs (32%): This will cover, among other things, programming languages, antivirus systems and programs, security models, and exploitation tools.
- Procedures/Methodology (20%): This will cover, among other things, security architecture, cryptography, and TCP/IP networking.
- Regulation/Policy (4%): This will cover, among other things, security policies and compliance regulation.
- Ethics (2%). This will cover, among other things, appropriateness of hacking and professional code of conduct.
In order to pass the CEH exam, you’ll need to score at least a 70%. Keep in mind, though, that not all questions are weighted equally– a board reviews them, and more difficult questions are weighted more heavily.
Once you pass your CEH exam, you’ll be a certified CEH! All you need to do is maintain your certification by agreeing to an EC-Council certification agreement, paying an annual $80 fee, and completing a total of 120 continuing education hours within three years of attaining your certification.
Best of luck on your path to becoming a CEH!