We recently started a new column called The Pyjama Code, where we speak to some of the top coders, engineers, hackers, and other professionals to share their journey and experience. 

We got in touch with Ranjeet Ramdas Ambarte, a freelance ethical hacker for this week’s story.

I have been in the cybersecurity industry and worked as a freelance ethical hacker for quite some time. It’s always fascinating. So, I was excited about this interaction and I am glad it has turned out well with valuable insights.

The Onset

Ranjeet is an information technology engineering graduate from Nagpur. However, his journey to becoming an engineer dates back to his school days.

He has always been full of beans when it comes to IT.  By the time he reached the 8th standard, he already bagged C language and other certifications.

During graduation, Ranjeet was confused about which field to get his hands on. Also, he was working jobs to fix his financial crunch which didn’t allow him enough time to chew the cud.

The moment he decided to get into cybersecurity was when he started watching movies on hacking.

Call it a coincident or whatever, but during that time, he also started getting invitations to seminars and workshops on cybersecurity.

The whole idea of testing and breaching defenses and exploiting weaknesses in a computer system was starting to intrigue him. And this was a major turning point.

Today, Ranjeet is a successful cybersecurity professional / ethical hacker with immense knowledge of the domain.

During the interaction, he has talked about ethical hacking, lock, stock, and barrel. Read on to take a deep dive into this sought-after segment.  

Excerpts From The Interview

Walk us through your day. What are your working hours as a freelance ethical hacker?

To be frank, I don’t have a fixed schedule. There are days when I am doing things at odd hours. Being a freelancer, I work with different clients, and it is quite difficult to keep track.  Also, I work on holidays and weekends too.

What does your work consist of?

Again, it depends on the client because every company has different requirements.

But to give you an idea, it mostly consists of monitoring and preventing unauthorized attacks by cybercriminals/hackers and maintaining organizational security aspects.

Tell us about the best project you have ever worked on or any achievement?

I am actually proud of all my work. So, it’s difficult to stand for a single project. However, here are some milestones:

  • I have trained more than 300 police officers on cybercrime and cybersecurity.
  • I was shortlisted and invited to an international conference for innovation and technology in China.
  • I was selected to work on several technical modules along with other experts from around the world.
  • Recently, I have also earned a certificate from ISRO.

What toolkits, coding languages, and technical skills pay the most to cybersecurity experts?

There are a whole bunch of things you need to consider.

In terms of tool kit or tech stack, a professional ethical hacker always uses Kali Linux. It is the best environment to work in. Hands Down!

If you aren’t aware of it, let me quickly explain what exactly it is.

Kali Linux is a Debian-derived Linux distribution (in simple terms, it is a Linux OS). It is equipped with more than 500 pre-installed digital forensics and penetration testing tools. So, you can imagine what sort of power and capability it provides.

Talking about coding, you need to have an upper hand on python. Also, learn JAVA and PHP; if not fully, then have at least the major concepts cleared.

Are you also into bug bounty? If so, could you tell us about your experience?

I’m partially into bug bounty. The reason is, it requires a ridiculous amount of dedication, time, and focus. And it is sort of difficult for me to invest so much, as I always have some project at hand.

But yes, I would definitely want to spend some more time on this side of the segment.

Do you think people understand hacking? Have you ever received any weird requests?

No, people don’t understand hacking. They don’t understand the difference between hacking and ethical hacking.

Daily, I receive requests for illegal tasks, personal works. I get requests to hack someone’s partners’ social media accounts, the PSU sector’s websites, and whatnot. And it’s not just from India but globally.

What advice will you give to all the budding ethical hackers and cybersecurity enthusiasts?

The idea of hacking computers is fascinating, I know. But the road to gain all the expertise isn’t short. You have to learn about a lot of aspects of cybersecurity; be it hardware or software.

Be very patient with the process and take one step at a time. Don’t rush and try to learn everything at once.

Over and above, you have to utilize your expertise responsibly.

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