What is Cybersecurity?

People often wonder what cybersecurity is and what it entails. Cybersecurity is the process of protecting networks, programs, and electronic or computer systems from digital attacks aimed at accessing or stealing private information. Because we rely on computers immensely in our daily lives, cybersecurity is a necessity in today’s technological world. Here is some information on cybersecurity, why it’s necessary, and how to become a cybersecurity professional.

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice and process of protecting our computer systems, networks, and all electronic information saved from digital and cyber-attacks. Cyber attacks are usually attempting to gain access to our sensitive and private information so it can be stolen, altered, or destroyed. In the case of large businesses, cyber-attacks are initiated two gain important information, interrupt normal business processes, and extort or steal money. U.S. News & World Report states that our increasing use of technology and the Internet is what makes us most vulnerable to outside threats and most in need of good cybersecurity.

Types of Cyber Attacks

When we think of cyberattacks, what often comes to mind first is viruses. While viruses are very common and can cause massive damage, there are many types of cyberattacks.

  • Malware – This is used to describe spyware, viruses, worms, ransomware and similar malicious software. They often breach a network if a user clicks on a dangerous link or opens a risky email attachment.
  • Phishing – This is the process of sending a fraudulent communication, usually through email, but making it look legitimate. The intent is usually to steal information like login or credit card information or to install malware on another individual’s computer.
  • Zero-day exploit – This attack generally comes right after a notification of a network’s vulnerability and before a solution is implemented.
  • Man-in-the-middle attack – This is when an attacker manages to get into a two-person transaction to stop the traffic and steal data. Unsecured Wi-Fi connections make this very easy. Once the attacker has access to the other machine, the attacker can steal all the information.
  • Denial-of-service attack – This attack floods networks, services and computer systems with so much traffic it exhausts the bandwidth and resources, which results in an inability to fulfill legitimate requests.
  • SQL Injection – A Structure Query Language occurs when an attacker inserts a malicious code on a server that forces the server to provide private information it normally would not provide.

Cybersecurity as a Career

With the need for effective cybersecurity, there are many career opportunities for interested and qualified individuals. There are also many educational degree programs for students who wish to join this field. Cyber and Internet programs are offered at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. Graduates of these programs may find work as the following.

  • IT Security Engineer
  • Forensic Computer Analyst
  • Security Systems Administrator
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Security Architect
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Specialist

Career Outlook for Cybersecurity Professionals

As we rely more and more on the Internet, cyber threats will continue to grow, which puts certified IT security professionals very much in demand. There are about half a million cybersecurity-related job openings in the U.S. today, according to Cyber Defense Magazine. There should be a need for about 1.8 million more Internet security professionals through 2022. Candidates with degrees and certifications should experience the best career opportunities. This says a lot for a career that’s quickly becoming one of the most lucrative careers in the IT business.

Because there are more digital devices than people today and cyber attacks are becoming more innovative than ever, it’s becoming very challenging to implement effective cyber-secure methods. As long as we continue to use the Internet, we will continue to be at risk of identity theft, data breaches, and cyber-attacks. Knowing what cybersecurity is, how to use it and why it’s so important is the best way to keep our lives and world private and secure.

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