What is Cyber Security?

Cyber SecurityIf you have an interest in computer science or, like most people, you rely on computers every day, you probably want to know what exactly cyber security is. This field of information security deals with computer hardening and analysis to detect and prevent vulnerabilities on computers connected to a network. Malware can be installed on a computer through a number of different channels, so cyber security analysts must constantly stay up to date on the newest forms of attack.

As an end user, your best method of preventing an attack is to keep your operating system up to date, install high-quality, trusted antivirus software and use a different strong password for each website and application that requires one. You should also keep your computer as simple as possible by removing unneeded applications that can create vulnerabilities. Setting up a firewall can also help prevent downloading malware that can’t be detected by antivirus software.

After implementing these steps, it’s still possible to unknowingly install viruses, rootkits, keyloggers and other types of malware that have been developed to bypass known security measures. By regularly scanning your computer and strengthening your network security with a firewall and encryption, you can minimize the risk of infection.

What Do Cyber Security Analysts Do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals usually deal with computer systems that are much more complicated than a home network, and the risk of infection is potentially catastrophic to the businesses that employ them. They must have expert computer science and programming skills to recognize vulnerabilities in the operating system kernel that allows rootkit software to take over a network. Part of their job is to plan for the worst-case scenario that the network is completely immobilized by an attack or natural disaster so that the company can continue normal operation.

Cyber security analysts communicate with each other at conferences and seminars to learn about the latest developments in malware and preventative measures. They typically work closely with the senior management of a firm to ensure the risk of an attack is kept to a minimum. Some of the different cyber security specializations include database security, penetration testing and systems auditing.

How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst

Firms usually hire analysts with at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a professional certification such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional license. Because the work is so critical, candidates with advanced education and related work experience are often preferred. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA in information systems have the best opportunities.

Cyber security analysts who specialize in a particular area usually have experience working in that area. For example, a database security specialist usually has experience working as a database administrator, and a systems security specialist usually has experience working in computer systems analysis. Since cyber security is a rapidly growing field with job growth projected to be much faster than average, many schools offer four-year cyber security degrees, although a general computer science education is still preferred by most employers.

Related Resource: Cyber Security Jobs

Since vulnerable systems can affect other computers connected over a network, taking the necessary precautions is more important than ever. Whether you’re a computer scientist or a regular user, knowing about what is cyber security can prevent irreversible damage to your computer.