What Cybersecurity Jobs Are Out There?
The realm of cybersecurity management is incredibly diverse, facing numerous advanced persistent threats with today’s most cutting edge technology. When it comes to risk management, continuous monitoring, and cyber threat identification, only the most advanced training in cyber threat reduction can keep company networks protected.
Today’s Model for Cybersecurity Jobs
Today’s cybersecurity jobs follow the ICA or Integrity, Confidentiality, and Availability standards posited and supported by some of the world’s most exceptional tech defense professionals. Everything from the latest data protection regulation to proper network authorization techniques requires exceptional leadership. Those pursuing a career within the booming field must identify the right path to complement their skills.
If you’re considering such a career, it’s first essential to understand the significant differences between the field’s different disciplines. They answer threats defined by separate areas of a business’s network, but they’re designed to answer multifaceted threats that persist across more than one area of professional networking solutions.
Information Technology Security
Information security covers the methodologies designed to protect a business’s electronic, print, or other private, confidential or otherwise sensitive information and data. This concerns not only access in and of itself, but also subsequent misuse, modification, destruction, or disclosure. An information system might only consist of a point of data storage, but it can also include storage points beyond cyberspace.
Because its covered locations span beyond the cyber level, information security can be considered an overarching field of defense—covering all cybersecurity disciplines.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, programs, and digital systems from cyber attacks as a subset of information security. In most cases, the cyber threats in question are initiated to access, change, steal or destroy sensitive information, to extort money from an organization, hinder its processes, or altogether disable it.
A successful cybersecurity framework consists of jobs with cybersecurity capable of assisting multiple environments—both in theory and application. Thus, the skills of cybersecurity are often gained over time through hands-on experience, learning, and education. Cyberterror can occur at any time, so having the skills and know-how capable of stopping it is vital.
As the process of taking physical and digital preventative measures to protect a network’s underlying infrastructure, network security services to halt unauthorized access, misuse, and modifications. It also serves to remedy malfunctions and other errors that might arise. Like cybersecurity, network security also focuses on halting the improper disclosure and destruction of contained data.
However, network security differs in its close surveillance of firewalls, passwords, encryption, Internet access points, and backups. Following several guidelines such as the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST), network security experts also protect private information by monitoring employee behavior. In contrast, cybersecurity employees tend to focus more on external threats by searching for potential hackers intent on infiltrating a network.
Application security encompasses the security measures on a programmatic level—protecting a business’s applications from alteration, misuse, theft, or hijacking. It covers security considerations that arise from the development and first design implementation—even extending to other systems that might share application processes.
Application security isn’t only bound to software processes, either. Its procedures carefully monitor hardware procedures, identifying and minimizing any security vulnerabilities which might arise. A router capable of preventing external parties from viewing a computer’s processes or IP addresses, for example, falls into this realm. For this reason, application security measures tend to rise from applications themselves—initiating procedures that entail the regular testing of immediate software environments.
Also called ‘OPSEC,’ operational security is the process of identifying external actions that might uncover a potential attacker. Typically, this covers friendly actions—such as business transactions or partnership engagements. By adequately analyzing and grouping procedures for closer analysis, OPSEC countermeasures can eliminate adversary exploitation before it becomes a significant concern.
OPSEC might be a primarily analytical process, but it’s also heavily grounded in risk management—as a company’s reputation and day-to-day services are concerned. As a strategy initially designed by the United States military, OPSEC still serves to root out, hinder and ultimately neutralize any processes capable of identifying, exploiting, or otherwise damaging internal digital assets from an external environment.
Pursuing a Career in Cybersecurity
To become a cybersecurity worker, you’ll need to acquire education, certifications, experience, and clearance.
Fortunately, each of these qualifications is pretty flexible. Security clearance, itself, isn’t always mandatory for every cybersecurity job, either, although it’s certainly beneficial. In most cases, the timeline for becoming a cybersecurity professional ranges from two to four years. While the four requirements needn’t be pursued in order, doing so is hugely beneficial to one’s understanding of the field—increasing the chances of success in general.
There are plenty of learning options available—and many are affordable. Hundreds of colleges offer degrees in the field, and technical school options even extend into online, self-paced classes. If you’re pursuing a career in cybersecurity, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re enrolled in some type of course and to consistently update your education.
A traditional, four-year college experience is an excellent standard to follow—and a two-year associate’s degree in cybersecurity is a baseline requirement. A four-year bachelor’s degree is a better qualification to hold—and two years of extra master’s degree work is even better.
For those interested in speeding up their education, accelerated programs are also available—allowing students to complete their degrees in only one and a half years of associate degree work, two and a half years for a bachelor’s degree, and only 15 months for a master’s degree.
Even though accelerated learning paths are attractive for prospective workers, the rate of accelerated class completion depends on many factors—such as class availability, previously obtained credits, and additional part-time availability for surrounding hands-on job experience.
A cybersecurity degree certainly helps secure a cybersecurity job, but jobs with cybersecurity typically require proof of certifications. Every salary for cybersecurity differs based upon the individual’s technological and strategic capabilities, which means jobs for cybersecurity themselves might prefer some certifications over others.
Where entry-level training is considered, some certifications are more valuable.
On any level, obtaining certifications will effectively represent your expertise—regardless of the cybersecurity career path you’d like to follow.
There are additional industry certifications which span across higher levels of expertise, too.
Entering the Cybersecurity Career
As a cybersecurity employee, you’ll be tasked with defending your organization’s valuable information assets against external and internal threats. Cyber attacks hit organizations every day, targeting vulnerable and well-secured systems alike. While many cyber threats are launched to extort valuable data, others are enacted as a form of hacktivism. Meanwhile, some cyber-attacks are initiated with the sole intent of causing as much digital damage as possible.
A cybersecurity framework is only as secure as the security programs and cyber threat reduction techniques protecting it. Malware detection, file protection, and DDoS threat reduction practices are among these, but even lesser-known cyber attack strategies pose significant threats.
A person’s salary for cybersecurity tends to relate to their responsibilities as a digital defender, but it also coincides with their level within their organization’s management structure. Additionally, most cybersecurity jobs share duties to secure a system in its entirety from digital threats, such as the following:
Phishing is one of the most common types of cybercrime, and it’s one of the most targeted by general data protection regulation standards. Phishing is typically used to steal user data, such as login credentials or credit card numbers. An attacker poses as a trusted individual, tricking the victim into opening an email message, instant message, or text message. Once opened, the message typically instructs the victim to click a link containing malicious code or leading to a false website.
Often, the link results in the freezing of the victim’s computer system—but it may also attack and freeze specific programs within the system. Following this, the phishing attack installs additional code onto the user’s PC—often with disastrous results. For the victim, it usually entails identity theft, the direct theft of funds, or unauthorized purchases through one of their exposed accounts. Suppose the victim happens to be a business worker. In that case, the breach might also entail the theft of corporate network information—resulting in the attacker gaining privileged access to otherwise secured data.
A malicious script of programs installed on a computer system is often described as malware. Malware is a type of code that stealthily affects a compromised computer system without the system owner’s awareness. This is a broad term—encompassing spyware, ransomware, command scripts, and hijacking scripts.
Even though malware can act like software, it has a significant difference – it can spread across an entire network, cause changes to neighboring programs, damage vital system processes, and remain undetectable regardless. Often, malware is too persistent to be removed. Even if a system’s operators manage to remove a system’s infected components—malware’s ability to replicate can result in the hijacking of other system components.
Ransomware is a type of malware that is often deployed through phishing attacks—but it’s also utilized in cyber-attacks initiated through false websites. This type of malicious software ‘locks down’ the victim’s valuable data with encryption through blocking access to digital storage areas, a program, or an entire system.
The attacker typically threatens to delete the information unless a ransom is paid. If the payment is indeed paid, the attacker will provide a code which ‘unlocks’ the information block—decrypting it for the user’s access. In other cases, however, the ransomware attacker might threaten to spread the information instead of destroying it. In corporate environments, this might manifest as a form of blackmail—and the subsequent reveal of highly valuable trade secrets.
As a type of injection breach, cross-site scripting involves an attacker sending malicious code scripts into the content of otherwise safe websites. Also called XSS, the act of cross-site scripting usually targets a website’s web applications. The malicious code can be hidden within the application’s dynamic content, remaining unseen until a page accidentally loads it into a victim’s browser.
Domain Name Spoofing
Domain name spoofing attacks, also called ‘DNS attacks,’ are a common type of phishing. This type of attack involves the attacker posing, once more, as a trusted service provider. They use a company’s domain appearance and name to create a ‘false’ version—going so far as to impersonate the entire company, its employees, and its provided services.
Often, a DNS attack occurs via email. The false domain name appears within a provided link, which is incredibly similar to the original, legitimate link. Commonly, the spoof email even contains official logos—and the spoof website might seem identical to the real one. A victim is prompted to click the link, navigate to the website’s login portal, and enter their login credentials. When this happens, the information is logged by the attacker—providing instant access to the user’s website accounts.
Sometimes, the direct login credentials aren’t requested—but financial credentials are, instead. In this case, users might be prompted to enter their information to avoid proposed credit card fraud, debit fraud, or some other form of e-commerce fraud. As in the previous case, the result is an attacker acquiring the victim’s valuable data for further use.
Hacking: Broadly Defined
The malicious attacks above can each be described as a form of hacking. Hacking is a broad-sweeping identifier of digital attacks. It’s the attempt to exploit a network, computer system, or another digital device to gain unauthorized access—to control, destroy, or exploit the system.
To better understand hacking, it’s crucial to understand hackers. Cybersecurity workers must not only identify their attacks—but also understand the locations they attack. Hackers are often highly skilled computer users, as breaking into a network security system requires more expertise than creating the system itself.
Hackers typically follow a process that finds a system’s weaknesses or loopholes. While these weaknesses can very well exist within a system’s firewall, they can also exist within a network’s various ‘entry points,’ such as an employee connected smartphone, an incoming Internet connection, or installed software. As such, businesses must take great care in maintaining day-to-day security standards when navigating both local system architectures and online environments.
The Best Cybersecurity Practices
Future and current cybersecurity workers can follow several practices to keep their workplaces safe. If you’re keen on becoming a cybersecurity worker yourself, you’ll need to take care in developing the comprehensive strategies your organization will follow. By staying on guard, you can assure your company’s data is safe. You can also keep its network, at large, protected from external threats.
The best cybersecurity practices are normally grounded in the cautious use of system services. They also entail abiding by company rules strictly, to secure a company’s specific architectural inclusions. The following practices should be known by every employee, regardless of their training level, to maximize system security.
One: Using Strong Authentication Methods
Robust and sophisticated user authenticators, such as passwords, can greatly increase a network’s security level. Simple passwords are easily exploited, and passwords used across multiple accounts can jeopardize a system. Most companies require passwords containing at least 10 characters, including symbols, numbers, and alternates between uppercase and lowercase letters.
As a cybersecurity employee, you should change your passwords often. It’s a good idea to use multi-factor authentication, too, which involves pairing two or more password requirements through various devices. A temporary code sent via SMS to a smartphone, as a multi-factor authentication factor, can significantly increase system security.
Two: Securing Internet Access Points
A company’s information security staff is typically responsible for Internet security practices, but every employee serving its digital security team should be well-prepared to help. Business Wi-Fi networks must always be encrypted—and hidden networks tend to be the safest.
This also extends to remote work networks. However, employees conducting business processes from their homes, or while abroad, must take great care in keeping their business’s resources hidden. A VPN is essential in these cases, as it keeps a worker’s connection encrypted and untraceable.
Three: Updating System Architecture
System security software, operating system software, and web browsers must be continuously updated. Similarly, anti-malware and antivirus software must always be revised to target the latest cyberthreats. Because these threats evolve rapidly, a system’s digital architecture might need to be updated several times per year. While this might involve installing updates, it can sometimes extend to replacing platform software entirely.
If your business sends out system security updates, you must install them immediately. This will often include installing security updates to your devices to defend all endpoints to a system. Because cyberthreats aim at a user’s data, it’s also good to secure your files via protected backups. Your company will probably have its own rules about data backups—typically requiring the storage of files offline, either in an external drive or in physical form.
The Importance of Constant Training
A cybersecurity worker’s education is never truly complete. The smartest companies train their employees regularly, making them fully accountable for knowing their cybersecurity policies, day-to-day security practices, and long-term defensive strategies.
Being tech-savvy always helps, as learning new security practices often requires a deep understanding of current tech processes and in-house security standards. In any regard, it’s still important to study modern cybersecurity enhancements, guidelines, and threats. This accounts for current cybersecurity workers, but it also extends to new employees. Even though traditional education spans across today’s latest cybersecurity practices, it might not be up to date on a month-to-month basis. As such, on-job training is often a necessity.
Once you’ve become a cybersecurity professional, you’ll work alongside the industry’s professionals to protect networking systems both on-location and abroad. Quick system access, a keen eye for potential threats, and a proactive approach to education define the best employees, and each quality, when combined, results in full-fledged system security.
Once you’ve begun your cybersecurity training, you’ll learn the ins and outs of your own network’s security needs. The path of digital defense can be a long one, but it’s incredibly rewarding once fully traversed. Modern cybersecurity is always at risk, but those capable of defending it make it a highly satisfying career.