The issue of cyber security, and its future, is a crucial one. These days, so many elements of daily life are intertwined with the internet and mobile technology, including our bank accounts, shopping lists and orders, personal security details, and even our most intimate social circles, which leave us incredibly vulnerable in the face of a cyber-attack; how much could a criminal gather about your life from your web activities, and what would you do to keep it safe?
The crucial issue of cyber security
Luckily, the cyber security sector is a buzzing one, with organization after organization dedicated to investigating threats, following up leads, and closing the loopholes that cyber criminals expose in order to access our information. There are currently individuals being paid to hack into government networks, simply to expose their vulnerabilities, all so we can feel far safer from the threats associated with cybercrime. It would be very easy to assume that the government has got cybercrime covered, being as busy as it is with tackling the issue. That’s simply not the case, though; criminals are becoming more sophisticated than ever, and just as one network is secured, another becomes vulnerable to attack.
The idea of private data being breached has the potential to make us all feel vulnerable, but when it’s government files and information being accessed, things suddenly take on a whole new level of crazy; the truth is that cybercrime is a huge threat to our national and personal security, and taking the time to familiarize yourself with cybercrime, its roots, and its potential consequences is the only sure road to protecting your data. Cybercrime isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of an operation, with one target and one sole aim. From the private hackers looking to target individuals and businesses in search of money and fraud opportunities, to those who steal and leak government documents, and the countries launching attacks on one another, cybercrime is a threat as expansive as the very networks it inhabits, and it affects you far more than you’d ever thought possible. Take terrorist group ISIS, and the counter-terrorist initiative Anonymous, for example; both have exploited weaknesses across the internet’s many channels in order to air their intentions, and while one aims to strike fear into the hearts of the public and the other intends to counterattack their claims, the results of such actions are largely the same. Both organizations have highlighted the weakness in our networks, and made us feel rather small. Cyber security isn’t merely an issue for the powers that be, but for us all; such attacks threaten our freedom, our right to speak our mind, and the very fabric of our otherwise mundane existence.
Cyber security and you: defenders of the networks
The field of cyber security is one that is only set to grow, owing to the increasingly sophisticated ways in which criminals are attempting to steal data, commit fraud, and disrupt the peace, as well as committing acts of terrorism. Whole taskforces and departments have been established across organizations such as the FBI in order to deal with these occurrences, tackling everything from computer and network intrusion and common internet frauds, to ransomware, e-scams and warnings, and malicious cyber terrorism. The day job must be never-ending as increasing amounts of intelligence is gathered to be processed, and numerous tactics are discussed in the fight against cybercrime – but you have to admit that it does all sound rather exciting; imagine that it’s your job to uncover the cyber criminal’s trail, sniff out clues that will lead you to a network of wannabe terrorists, or shut down an operation that’s been plaguing the government for many months. The field of cyber security is a relentless one, but it’s also one of the most interesting that you could be entering at the moment, enabling you to utilize your skills with a computer, and penchant for analyzing data, for the good of your country, or the wider world.
If the idea of becoming something of a modern-day superhero (minus the cape) appeals to you, what sorts of jobs could you expect in the cyber security sector, and how exactly do you go about approaching an organization such as the FBI to ask for a job? The positions available within cyber security are as varied as the types of crime you’d likely be investigating, and include IT security analysis and management, vulnerability tester and ethical hacker, information assurance, security architect and consultant, threat management specialist, and compliance specialist. Working for smaller, independent businesses and global conglomerates, or even government organizations, such roles tackle cybercrime from every angle; they’re about identifying weaknesses and analyzing how vulnerable networks are, ethically hacking systems to prove that it can be done, formulating strategies to help businesses survive cyber-attacks, and designing the kinds of barriers that most cyber criminals dread, as well as ensuring that companies are as compliant as they can be, and offering assurances following a successful attack.
If this sounds like your dream profession, there are a few things that you need to be doing; namely asking yourself whether such roles are within your skillset, or whether you’ll need to head back to school. While many of these jobs do have entry-level positions, you’ll be expected to hit the ground running. An interest in IT and the ability to navigate an array of systems is an advantage, and specialist training never goes amiss either. There are literally hundreds of amazing and relevant courses to be found online these days, and in finding your MSIT degree online, you’ll be taking that very first step towards becoming a defender of the networks – somebody needs to be there to assure the future of cyber security, after all.
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Cyber security is in all of our best interests, protecting our national security, personal wellbeing, and peace of mind; cyber criminals rarely rest, even when they’ve been knocked back, and so the work of government agencies and private contractors is essential. The future of cyber security won’t ever be assured, but we could all afford to be a little more conscious of our own safety and that of those around us, whether we end up applying for a position in the sector, or simply take the time to report that phishing email, or query that strange behavior.