The 5 Best Programming Languages for Ethical Hacking in 2023

The demand for ethical hackers has increased like never before. But how to become an Ethical Hacker in 2023? Is programming important? Of course. In this article, I will guide you through the 5 best programming languages for ethical hacking in 2023.

With digitalization comes the need for increased security of networks and devices, identifying possible vulnerabilities and threats and fixing them before exploitation. But who is in charge of all this? Yes, you guessed it right- Ethical Hackers.

Also called “White-hat” hackers or cybersecurity professionals, they are in charge of protecting networks and devices from possible exploitation by cyberattacks. But just like any other technical career, Programming is a must in this field, too. So, without further ado, let’s get started with the programming languages.

Best Programming Languages for Ethical Hacking

Listed below are the top programming languages to learn if you aspire to be an Ethical Hacker in 2023.

1. Python

Python is a powerhouse when it comes to ethical hacking. Its simplicity and readability make it an excellent language for both beginners and seasoned professionals. Python consists of a vast ecosystem of libraries and frameworks that are specifically made for security tasks. 

Some popular Python tools like Metasploit and Scapy are widely used by ethical hackers for various tasks.

Python is widely used for tasks such as network scanning, penetration testing, and developing security tools. Major companies like Google, Instagram, and Spotify utilize Python in their security infrastructure, emphasizing its importance in the cybersecurity landscape.

2. JavaScript

You might be surprised to see JavaScript on this list. Apart from being one of the top programming languages for web development, JavaScript is also necessary for ethical hackers who focus on web exploitation. In the age of the internet, a significant portion of hacking involves web applications. JavaScript allows hackers to analyze and manipulate web pages effectively. 

Tools like Burp Suite, a leading web vulnerability scanner, heavily utilize JavaScript to identify vulnerabilities in web applications. Organizations like Netflix and Airbnb make use of  JavaScript’s capabilities to secure their online platforms against potential threats.

3. Ruby

Ruby has been a favorite among ethical hackers for years. Its elegant syntax and readability make it a joy to work with, especially when crafting exploit code. The Metasploit Framework, one of the most renowned penetration testing tools, is primarily written in Ruby. 

Learning Ruby will give you a deep understanding of how exploits work, making it a valuable addition to your ethical hacking toolkit. While not as versatile as Python, Ruby’s effectiveness in the world of ethical hacking is showcased by its application in tools that secure critical systems.

4. C/C++

For those who want to dive into the core of system-level vulnerabilities, learning C/C++ is essential. These languages are used in writing operating systems and applications that demand high performance. 

Ethical hackers who study reverse engineering and vulnerability research often rely on C/C++ to dissect and understand low-level flaws. It’s not the easiest language to master, but the rewards are worth it for those who persevere.

Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple extensively use C/C++ to ensure the security of their software and systems.

5. Rust

As cybersecurity continues to grow and evolve, so do the programming languages used in ethical hacking. Rust has gained significant attention due to its focus on safety and performance. While it may not be as widely adopted as Python or JavaScript, it’s considered the future-proof language for ethical hackers. 

Rust’s memory safety features can prevent many common vulnerabilities, making it an excellent choice for building secure tools and exploits.Mozilla, the developer of Rust, and Dropbox have utilized Rust in various security applications, proving its potential in real-world security contexts.

Comparison of the Languages: Capabilities and Limitations

The table below provides an in-depth comparison of the different programming languages in terms of syntax, capabilities, and potential drawbacks.

LanguageSyntax Capabilities Limitations/Drawbacks
Python– Clean and readable syntax. 

– Extensive standard library.
– Versatile for various hacking tasks (e.g., penetration testing, scripting). 

– Broad community support and resources. 

– Cross-platform compatibility.
– Slower execution, not for CPU-intensive tasks. May require additional libraries for specific tasks, leading to longer development times.
JavaScript – Widely used for web development, making it essential for web exploitation. – Excellent for client-side attacks and web vulnerability assessments. 

– Supports browser-based hacking. 

– Useful for creating browser extensions for ethical hacking tools.
– Limited to web-related hacking. May not be suitable for more complex ethical hacking scenarios outside of the web domain.
Ruby– Elegant and human-readable syntax. 

– Rich ecosystem of gems (libraries).
– Ideal for creating and customizing hacking tools. 

– Metasploit Framework is written in Ruby. 

– Suitable for scripting and automation.
– Niche popularity outside hacking community. Limited use in non-hacking projects may limit its applicability.
C/C++– Complex syntax requires meticulous memory management.

– Powerful low-level capabilities.
– Ideal for writing exploits, rootkits, and device drivers. 

– High performance and control over hardware.
– Steeper learning curve. 

– Prone to memory vulnerabilities, which can lead to security issues. 

– May require extensive debugging.
Rust– Modern and safe syntax with a strong focus on memory safety.– Ideal for building secure hacking tools and exploits. 

– Prevents common vulnerabilities like buffer overflows. 

– Offers good performance.
– Smaller ecosystems may require more effort to find libraries and resources. 

– Learning curve for those new to Rust.

Conclusion

Now that you have seen the 5 best programming languages for ethical hacking, which one are you attracted the most to?

Python, JavaScript, Ruby, C/C++, and Rust each have their unique strengths, catering to various aspects of ethical hacking. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your choice of language should align with your specific interests and goals within the field.

FAQs

Can I start ethical hacking with no programming experience?

Absolutely! While programming skills are beneficial, you can start by learning the basics of programming and gradually dive into ethical hacking languages.

Which programming language should I learn first for ethical hacking?

Python is an excellent starting point due to its simplicity and widespread use in the field.

Are there ethical hacking courses available online?

Yes, numerous online platforms offer ethical hacking courses that include programming language training.

Can I use these languages for other cybersecurity roles besides hacking?

Indeed, these languages are valuable in various cybersecurity roles, including security analysis and incident response.

Is ethical hacking legal?

Ethical hacking, conducted with permission and within legal boundaries, is legal and plays a crucial role in strengthening cybersecurity.

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