Cybersecurity is vital for individuals and businesses. Having your bank or customers’ account details stolen can have catastrophic results in both cases.
Read this article for answers to all the most important cybersecurity questions!
How do I become a cybersecurity specialist?
You can become a cybersecurity specialist through a combination of experience, skills and training:
- Experience - working in IT operations helps provide you with an understanding of your organisation's network, data, infrastructure and technologies.
- Skills - you must be hungry to learn because technologies and cyber exploits are constantly changing. You must communicate with non-techical people in simple terms, have good analytical skills, and be able to think like a cybercriminal!
- Training - training and professional cybersecurity certification shows employers you are up to date with cybersecurity developments.
How do I perform cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity requires a certain state of mind - i.e. a desire to understand which parts of an IT network is vulnerable to penetration, and to put in place technology and processes to prevent and/or detect such penetration. Understanding which data and systems are valuable to hackers helps concentrate efforts on those parts which would have the most impact if attacked. At a basic level, up to date anti-virus and anti-malware tools are helpful to prevent malicious software being installed, and strong password policies can help prevent hackers gaining access through weak passwords.
How does cybersecurity work?
- Analyse and assess vulnerabilities in systems and networks
- Recommend and implement cost-effective countermeasures
- Perform security monitoring and forensic analysis to detect security incidents
- Mount responses to incidents
- Patch compromised systems with new or improved defences
- Ensure the organisation's business processes and systems get back up and running with minimum damage.
Is cybersecurity for me?
If you use any device (computer, phone, tablet, TV) connected to the internet you must be aware of cybersecurity to protect your private data or the data of your organisation. Criminals want your bank login details to steal your money, hackers want a backdoor to your device so they can use it to launch denial of service (DDS) attacks. Foreign governments want to hack voting machines to swing elections. Therefore, in today's world you must protect yourself from all these threats. That's why cybersecurity is important for you!
Is cybersecurity hard?
Cybersecurity is not especially hard. Many cybersecurity jobs do not require high levels of technical expertise, although such expertise is useful. More importantly however, cybersecurity requires good analytical skills so that weaknesses in IT systems and networks can be identified and countermeasures can be put in place. Cybersecurity professionals also need good communication skills to communicate cyber threats to non-technical people.
What are cybersecurity skills?
The most important skills you need to work in cybersecurity include a desire to continuously learn new things because hackers and criminals are always on the look out to exploit ever changing cyber threats. Communication skills are vital so you can explain to non-technical people the nature of cyber threats. You also need good analytical skills in order to analyse the threats posed by different methods used by hackers and criminals, and to recommend appropriate countermeasures.
What are cybersecurity threats?
Common cybersecurity threats include:
- Virus - malicious software on a device.
- Ransomware - malicious software which typically prevents a user from accessing their data until a ransom has been paid.
- Malware - any malicious software (virus, worm, Trojan horse and spyware) which is harmful to a computer user.
- Spyware - software which gathers and sends information about a person or organisation without their knowledge.
- Denial of service (DDS) attack - bombarding a website with high levels of requests in order to shut down the target server.
- Phishing - fraudulent attempts to obtain usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
- Hacking - unauthorised access to systems for malicious intent e.g. to steal data, to shut down the systems, to control the systems in adverse ways.
What are cybersecurity jobs?
Cybersecurity jobs include:
- Security Analyst - analyses and assesses vulnerabilities in systems and networks and recommends countermeasures
- Security Engineer - performs security monitoring and forensic analysis to detect security incidents, and mounts responses
- Security Architect - designs security systems
- Security Administrator - installs and manages organisation-wide security systems.
- Security Software Developer - develops security software e.g. anti-virus detection and implements security into applications software
- Cryptographer/Cryptologist - uses encryption to secure information
- Cryptanalyst - analyses encrypted information to break codes or to determine the purpose of malicious software
- Chief Information Security Officer - manages the information security division/staff
- Security Consultant - any of the other roles tasked with protecting IT systems and data against attacks.
What do you do in cybersecurity?
The typical things you would do if you work in cybersecurity includes:
- Analysing and assessing vulnerabilities in systems and networks
- Recommending and implementing cost-effective countermeasures
- Performing security monitoring and forensic analysis to detect security incidents
- Mounting responses to incidents
- Patching compromised systems with new or improved defences
- Ensuring the organisation's business processes and systems recover swiftly with minimum damage.
What is cyber resilience certification?
Cyber resilience certification is a professional certification which provide students with an understanding of how they can contribute to effective cyber resilience using their organisation’s existing processes and standards. Currently there is only one cyber resilience certification available, and this is known as Resilia. Resilia is provided by AXELOS and professional certification is offered at Foundation and Practitioner levels.
What is cyber resilience?
For an organisation, it's safe to assume that it's only a matter of time before it suffers a major cyberattack. No technology can prevent all such attacks therefore the organisation needs to become cyber resilient. This means recovering from a cyberattack swiftly so that business operations can continue with as little impact as possible. The emphasis here is on recovery (cyber resilience) rather than prevention (cybersecurity), although it is wise for organisations to practice both.
What is cybersecurity awareness?
Cybersecurity awareness is about both individuals at home and employees at work understanding common cybersecurity threats and the consequences on either themselves or their organisation if such threats become successful. Cybersecurity awareness usually comes about by taking a short cybersecurity awareness course. Such a course should provide students with an understanding of cybersecurity, a recognition of common cybersecurity threats, and an understanding of how to address various cybersecurity threats and incidents.
What is cybersecurity training?
A typical cybersecurity course provides students with an understanding of cybersecurity and the benefits of having a cybersecurity strategy. Training should also enable students to recognise common cybersecurity threats. Addressing the various cybersecurity threats and incidents and recovering from such incidents should also be covered.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity refers to the various technologies, processes and controls which are designed to protect IT systems, networks and data from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity operates at both the organisational and individual levels to reduce the risk of cyberattacks and to provide protection from unauthorised exploitation of systems, data, networks and technologies.
What is Resilia certification?
Resilia certification is provided by AXELOS at two levels:
Foundation - teaches students how operational decisions can have an impact on good cyber resilience, and how nurturing cyber resilience can support operational effectiveness and organisational resilience.
Practitioner - teaches students the practical skills needed to apply effective and beneficial cyber resilience to achieve the best balance of risk, cost, operational benefits and flexibility within an organisation.
What is the benefit of cyber resilience?
Cyber resilience offers these benefits to organisations:
- Provides measures necessary to address cyber risks effectively, giving organisations confidence to exploit innovations in technologies to deliver growth opportunities
- Prevents, detects and corrects incidents that jeopardize the organisation
- Builds trust in business relationships and amongst customers
- Ensures an organisation can continue with its business operations with minimal disruption.
What is the benefit of cybersecurity?
As an individual cybersecurity protects your private personal information from breaches. As a business, cybersecurity prevents your website from going down, protects your business and customers' confidential data, and gives your customers confidence and trust in dealing with your business.
What's the best cyber resilience certification?
Currently, the only cyber resilience certification available is called Resilia and is provided by AXELOS. You can choose between the following 2 levels:
Foundation - study this if you want to learn how operational decisions impact on cyber resilience and learn how nurturing cyber resilience supports operational effectiveness and organisational resilience.
Practitioner - study this if you want to learn the practical skills to apply effective and beneficial cyber resilience within an organisation.
What's the biggest threat to cybersecurity?
The biggest threat to cybersecurity is the individual. No matter how much money is spent on countering cyber threats, the biggest danger to cybersecurity for an organisation is its staff. Password sharing amongst staff or writing passwords down on post-it notes are just some examples of how expensive cybersecurity tools can be easily by-passed. That's why there is a growing interest in cyber resilience which assumes that it's only a matter of time before an organisation suffers a major cyberattack. No technology can prevent such attacks therefore a better response is to become cyber resilient. This means recovering from a cyberattack swiftly so that business operations can continue with as little impact as possible.
What's the difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience?
The difference between cybersecurity and cyber resilience is as follows:
- Cybersecurity - refers to the technologies, processes and controls which are designed to protect IT systems, networks and data from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity reduces the risk of cyberattacks and provides protection from unauthorised exploitation of systems, data and networks. Cybersecurity emphasises prevention.
- Cyber resilience - refers to how well an organisation detects cyberattacks and recovers its business operations with as little impact as possible after such an attack. Cyber resilience assumes that, because of the fallibility of staff, cyberattacks are inevitable and cannot all be stopped using modern technologies. Cyber resilience emphasises recovery.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Hackers, criminals and governments all want to steal your data or commercial secrets. There are large rewards to be gained from exploiting such data, whether by blackmail, stealing money, or attempting to manipulate societies and elections. All these things can be achieved using malicious software, botnets, socially engineered attacks and network penetration. That’s is why cybersecurity is so important both for individuals and organisations.
Why learn cybersecurity?
It is important to learn about cybersecurity for several reasons:
- To protect yourself whilst online. Without taking necessary steps to protect yourself from online threats, your personal data, money and peace of mind are all at risk from malicious hackers and criminals.
- To protect your organisation at work. Your organisation's data is even more valuable than your own. Bad publicity resulting from a hack of customer's confidential data can destroy trust in that organisation.
- It can get you a very well-paid job. Cybersecurity jobs are growing but there are corresponding skills shortages. By becoming certified in cybersecurity and/or cyber resilience, you will have a good chance of landing that great job you have your eye on!