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Episode 177: The Power and Pitfalls of Threat Intelligence

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In this week’s podcast (#177) we’re back from RSA Conference and talking about the growing prominence of cyber threat intelligence services with Eric Olson of the firm LookingGlass Cyber Solutions.  


Last week’s RSA Security Conference in San Francisco showcased the latest the technology industry has to offer against sophisticated hackers, bots and viruses – even as a real world virus, COVID-19, stalked the streets of San Francisco and prompted the city government to declare a state of emergency mid-way through the event.

Threats – Virtual and Otherwise

That was a reminder, if any was needed, that the threats facing global organizations today are more varied and harder to predict than ever. Global pandemics can interrupt critical supply chains or bring business operations to a screeching halt. So too malware and denial of service attacks aimed at you, or just a region or third party you rely on.

Eric Olson LookingGlass Cyber
Eric Olson is the senior vice president of product management at LookingGlass Cyber Solutions.

That cold reality may go some way towards explaining why so-called threat intelligence is all the rage among organizations both large and small. By one count, there were 79 vendors alone at RSA offering some variation of threat intelligence services.

Words of Advice from the Justice

The hunger for threat intelligence is so great that the Department of Justice, in recent weeks, issued guidance to private firms that were considering threat intelligence, warning them away from actions or business partners that might cross the line from gathering information on malicious activities to engaging in them.

Managed Threat Hunting Bridges the Talent Gap

What is threat intelligence and what value does it offer to companies worried about falling victim to sophisticated cyber actors? In this RSA wrap-up podcast, we’re taking on the challenge of answering that question. And, to do so, we’ve invited an expert on the subject into the studio.

Opinion: AI and Machine Learning will power both Cyber Offense and Defense in 2020

Eric Olson is the senior vice president of product management at LookingGlass Cyber Solutions. In this conversation, Eric talks about what the term “threat intelligence” means in 2020, how companies are turning threat intelligence to their advantage and about some simple steps that organizations who haven’t already invested in this type of information service can take to start making threat intelligence work for them.


(*) Disclosure: This podcast was sponsored by LookingGlass Cyber Solutions or more information on how Security Ledger works with its sponsors and sponsored content on Security Ledger, check out our About Security Ledger page on sponsorships and sponsor relations.

As always,  you can check our full conversation in our latest Security Ledger podcast at Blubrry. You can also listen to it on iTunes and check us out on SoundCloudStitcherRadio Public and more. Also: if you enjoy this podcast, consider signing up to receive it in your email. Just point your web browser to securityledger.com/subscribe to get notified whenever a new podcast is posted. 

Source: https://securityledger.com/2020/03/episode-177-the-power-and-pitfalls-of-threat-intelligence/

Cyber Security

Top 7 Cybersecurity Threat Response Gaps

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On the 28th of March 2021, Australian broadcaster Channel Nine was hit by a rather insidious cyber attack. The channel was rendered inoperable — unable to air its Sunday news bulletin and several key shows. The attack also ended up affecting the channels’ Sydney headquarters, interrupting critical operation in the networks’ publishing division. Cybercrimes have been on the rise during the last couple of years and the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic only served to fuel the activity and the proliferation of hackers. That attack on Channel Nine ended up costing the company millions of dollars and created a PR nightmare that to this day they still feel. What’s even more daunting concerning that case study is the fact that the attack could have been prevented had they had a SOC team as a service provider.

H2: Why is cybercrime on the rise?

2020, due to the pandemic, the lockdown, and the way the world changed, created the perfect environment for cybercriminals to proliferate. It was a perfect storm of opportunities that the digital hooligans took advantage of.

  • E-commerce became a major global trend. Most businesses had to implement e-commerce protocols overnight to survive. Molding those platforms on the fly with little to no protection.
  • 70% of workers had to start doing their jobs remotely. Suddenly, staff had unlimited access to a company’s mainframe without the protection of an onsite SOC team. 
  • Millions of individuals in emerging nations were laid off. Most pivoting into new side hustles — like cybercrime. 
  • Technological advances, like G5 networks, hit the world — disrupting security measures and established protocols. 
  • The emotional state of the world, the rage, unease, frustrations, led to a rise of antisocial behavior.

2020 became a before and after in the world’s war against cybercrime. It was a turning point, one that benefited the hackers and had SOC teams around the world on the defensive, scrambling to stay current with the crimewave.

H2: Security gaps

Cybercriminals mostly work on identifying your company’s weaknesses and exploding them. They hardly, if ever, attack a company in an innovative way that couldn’t be shored up. When after-action reports are filed by SOC security services, 9 times out of 10, the breach could have been prevented. These are called “Gaps”; Achilles’ heels your company has that a cybercriminal can spot a mile away. 

Most SOC as service provider teams audit your company for these gaps and try to give you curated responses to them. 

H2: Top-7 Cybersecurity threat response gaps.

H3: Unpreparedness for cyber incidents

Most companies, particularly small businesses, are simply oblivious to how cyberattacks can damage their brand and their revenue. Most small businesses have an erroneous concept of what cyberattacks are. They are under the false impression that hackers only target HUGE multinational conglomerates. Why would a digital mastermind attack my small downtown boutique? If you’re operating with personal data and financial information then you’re a target. 

H3: Lack of Monitoring and vulnerability reporting

Businesses simply don’t have analysis capabilities nor do they have the hindsight to plan for it. SOC teams not only audit your company but also update security measures based on reports and constant monitoring.

H3: No mobile/Home/Travel security 

Your worker goes home, or they’re traveling, or they are on their smartphone — How sure are you that they are implementing security measures on these devices? Have you even told them? Do they know how vulnerable they are to unprotected WiFi? Or are they simply abroad, on vacation with their families, desperate to check their emails, and hopping on the first free network that pops up on their cell phone? How much data does your employee take with them outside the office? How much access do they have to your company from their home?

H3: Inconsistency in cybersecurity enforcement

Unless you’re dealing with an expert team, most security measures against cybercrime are either inconsistent or outdated. Enforcement is based on bad intel and even worse strategies. 

H3: Inflexibility in adaptation after a breach

Most teams that aren’t professional SOC service providers have little to no wiggle room. They work off a template and guidebook. When breaches occur – which they always do – they don’t adapt properly to them, let alone update their schemes and practices to the newest attacks. 

H3: Fails in the application of key cybercrime prevention techniques

A SOC team, most of the time, works on the offensive plays — Techniques that prevent cybercrime. techniques that attack hackers and criminals before they even make their grand play. Most amateur teams work on a defensive posture, reacting to a breach.

H3: Slow threat detection and response

Every minute counts. When you detect a breath, every second that passes has a dollar amount. Every minute can be weighed in gold. Slow threat detection and response mean your company is hemorrhaging money with every passing second your team is scrambling and trying to figure out what to do. A professional SOC as service team has plays ready for the moment breaches occur — they are never caught with their pants down. 

H2: How does SOC as a Service provider minimize gaps?

Professional teams that provide security as service work on the premise that your company, no matter how atoned, how tech-heavy, or modern, is a mess. That’s how they come in — with the idea that your security needs an overhaul and that half your team is at home, checking their cloud services while passing bank data to that fine Nigerian Prince willing to give us 10% of their vast fortune just for a helping hand. They are on their phones clinking on every ad and downloading pirated music and movies on the same laptop they use for work. A security service provider audits your company under that optic, they expect the worst. It’s in this supervision and investigation that all those gaps criminals will exploit pop out. They minimize gaps by taking a long detailed look at your business, by understanding your needs, by shoring up your infrastructure, by thinking ahead, and keeping their nose on the ground on what new threats are just around the corner.

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Cybersecurity Degrees in South Dakota

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Cybersecurity Degrees in South Dakota
Cybersecurity Degrees in South Dakota

Cybersecurity Degrees in South Dakota- This guide is about cybersecurity degree programs in South Dakota. Also included in the guide are some of the economic conditions that are supporting the growth of the cybersecurity industry in the state.

In South Dakota, agriculture is major business. Agriculture contributes around $7 billion to the state’s economy each year. Many people assume that farming is the most important industry in South Dakota because of its location and history.

In reality, the state’s most important industry is finance, which few people would expect.

About $1 trillion was deposited in commercial and savings bank accounts in New York state institutions in 2018. California had $800 billion in its coffers. According to FDIC data, South Dakota had an astonishing $3.1 trillion deposited in its banks.

Thousands of finance employment have resulted from all of the money put in South Dakota. These professions include typical finance jobs such as bankers and investors, as well as jobs that support economic activity such as a boost in the building industry as financial companies establish new headquarters.

Citibank, for example, just constructed a building in Sioux Falls that will serve as the bank’s new headquarters in South Dakota. A total of 1,300 people will work in the building.

Why did you pick South Dakota? “Location,” Citibank CEO Michael Corbat explained. A labour force that is competitive. All of those components come together beautifully. Obviously, we think it’s a fantastic place to work and conduct business.”

Citibank isn’t the only bank with a presence in the state of South Dakota. The state is also home to Wells Fargo and TCF Bank. In total, the financial sector accounts for around 15% of the state’s GDP.

Because of all of this cash, fraudsters see the state as a valuable target. As a result of its awareness of the situation, South Dakota takes cybersecurity seriously.

Table of Contents

Cybersecurity Degrees in South Dakota

A squad of North Korean hackers has been attempting to break into government systems in South Dakota, according to ABC. There were 142 hacking attempts, but just one was successful.

Given that North Korea has a sophisticated hacking network, far more proficient than the country’s current situation would suggest, South Dakota’s ability to safeguard its networks is amazing.

South Dakota hosts the yearly DakotaCon conference for those interested in learning more about cybersecurity. Guests can participate in hands-on workshops aimed to teach specific cybersecurity skills in addition to listening to keynote speakers.

Given that the conference has been going on for a decade, it’s safe to infer that it’s benefiting the South Dakota cybersecurity community.

When it comes to education, South Dakota offers a diverse range of great cybersecurity degrees. Dakota State University is home to one of the National Security Agency’s 13 approved Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations.

Dakota State University was also named a “Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations” by the National Security Agency.

South Dakota has a lot going for it in terms of cybersecurity education and they offer a number of educational options, from an associate’s degree all the way up to a Ph.D.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREES

Many cybersecurity professions, unfortunately, demand a bachelor’s degree or higher; nevertheless, an associate’s degree has some advantages.

It can lead to a respectable entry-level job, and credits gained through an associate’s degree may transfer to a bachelor’s degree. This makes it an excellent option for someone who plans to continue their studies in the future.

Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in South Dakota

South Dakota students can apply for one of two campus-based associate’s degrees. Both are available through a technical institute.

  • An Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems – Security Specialist is available at Lake Area Technical Institute.
  • An Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Security is available from Southeast Technical Institute.

Online cybersecurity associate’s degrees in South Dakota

  • South Dakota currently offers only one online associate’s degree.
  • Dakota State University provides a Network and Security Administration Associate of Science degree.

BACHELOR’S DEGREES

A bachelor’s degree will be the greatest option for many pupils. A four-year degree is still reasonably priced and can be obtained on campus or through online classes.

Because most careers in cybersecurity necessitate a bachelor’s degree or higher, this is an excellent option for anyone contemplating a career in the field.

Campus-based cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in South Dakota

In South Dakota, there is currently only one campus-based bachelor’s degree programme.

  • Dakota State University offers a Cyber Operations (BS) Bachelors

Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in South Dakota

South Dakota’s online programmes make up for the state’s lack of campus-based education. Students can work while obtaining their degree in an online programme because it is more flexible than a campus-based programme.

There are various outstanding online programmes available in South Dakota. For more information, please see the list below.

MASTER’S DEGREE

While a master’s degree requires two or three more years of study, graduates may discover that their lifetime earnings more than compensate for the cost of the school. On average, master’s degree holders earn more than bachelor’s degree holders.

Online cybersecurity master’s degrees in South Dakota

There are currently no campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees available in South Dakota. However, they do provide an online option.

  • Dakota State University offers a Master of Science in Cyber Defense

PH.D. DEGREE

In the realm of cybersecurity, a Ph.D. is the highest level of study available. Because Ph.D. graduates are in high demand, a degree holder with this level of education can expect to pick and choose where they want to work.

Online Ph.D. degrees in South Dakota

South Dakota offers a single Ph.D. programme.

  • Dakota State University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Cyber Operations

CERTIFICATIONS

Certification programmes in cybersecurity are meant to educate a certain skill. Before a candidate may be considered for some positions, they may need to have a specialist certification.

Online certification programmes

There are various online certification programmes available in South Dakota.

  • A Graduate Certificate in Banking Security is available from Dakota State University.
  • A Graduate Certificate in Ethical Hacking is available from Dakota State University.

Cybersecurity Jobs in South Dakota

According to CyberSeek, a cybersecurity job aggregator, there are now 740 cybersecurity jobs available in South Dakota. The Sioux Falls area is home to the majority of the available jobs. Not surprisingly, many of the aforementioned banks have their headquarters here.

According to CyberSeek, the present supply of cybersecurity technicians in South Dakota is extremely limited. South Dakota has seen a 212 percent rise in cybersecurity technicians in the last five years, indicating that the scarcity is unlikely to change in the near future. That makes it the United States’ fastest-growing cybersecurity job market!

This upward tendency means that students will have a wide range of work options after graduation. Today, there is a cybersecurity labour deficit, which is only expected to worsen as the world gets more computerised.

Cybersecurity in South Dakota

South Dakota has a responsibility to take cybersecurity seriously since it has $3 trillion in bank accounts across the state. North Korea’s attempted infiltration of state networks demonstrates that foreign actors are aware of South Dakota’s significance as a financial centre and want to destabilise it.

Thankfully, South Dakota is aware of the issue and is taking appropriate measures to address it. DakotaCon is free on the first day, which encourages community participation. The state’s cybersecurity instructional initiatives are likewise well regarded, with the National Security Agency (NSA) praising them.

Overall, South Dakota has proved that it is a security-conscious state. Aspiring cybersecurity experts should consider studying here because the above-average salary combined with the low cost of living in South Dakota make this an attractive spot to settle down after graduation.

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Source: https://cybersguards.com/cybersecurity-degrees-in-south-dakota/

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A Complete Guide to a Computer Science Degree with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity

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Computer Science Degrees

A Complete Guide to a Computer Science Degree with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity- Cybersecurity is a relatively young branch of computer science, which is a vast topic that includes the study of computers and computing. To investigate and neutralise attacks, monitor systems, and design protective solutions, cybersecurity experts need a comprehensive grasp of computers and networks, regardless of their degree.

A degree in computer science with a cybersecurity concentration is one method to start an academic career in cybersecurity. A rising number of educational institutions are offering cybersecurity-focused bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This teaches students to approach cybersecurity from a computer science standpoint rather than from a standard cybersecurity fundamentals perspective. The final goal of both systems is to keep cyberspace, networks, data, and end users safe, but the tactics used are vastly different.

Computer science degree programmes might include emphases in app development, product and programme support, enterprise systems and cloud, and network and system administration in addition to a cybersecurity concentration. These schools stress the significance of having a solid understanding of computer science as a basis for their specialty sector.

The ideal candidate for a computer science degree with a cybersecurity specialisation is someone who wants to work in the cybersecurity area and has a wide understanding of computer science principles. Most cybersecurity workers earned a computer science degree with additional coursework meant to provide a deeper knowledge of security principles before a focus or specialty in cybersecurity became commonly available. The newest cybersecurity degree programmes have changed the balance away from a focus or emphasis inside a regular computer science programme and toward a specialist degree.

Table of Contents

Computer Science Degree with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity

A degree concentration, often known as a focus, refers to a specialised field of study within a major. The concentration, unlike a degree minor, must be in the same field. Cybersecurity, for example, is a complementary focus within computer science. Within the subject of computer science, cybersecurity is a distinct topic of research. A minor, on the other hand, is a secondary academic specialisation achieved in any field of study. As an example, a student could declare a major in computer science and a minor in history.

A student usually does not need to complete any additional courses to acquire a specialisation within a degree. Specialization coursework credit toward the major requirements if their preferred academic institution provides a cybersecurity concentration as part of a computer science degree.

A computer science undergraduate degree will involve a variety of courses. Many of these, especially in the first years of an undergraduate programme, are designed to prepare students for advanced coursework in the major’s advanced sections. Aside from beginning computer science courses like introduction to computer science, basic computer applications, discrete mathematics, calculus, and algorithms are frequently covered in the curriculum.

Programming languages, information technology, web and application development, and popular operating systems are all examples of computer science classes. A student with a cybersecurity emphasis would be obliged to take a certain number of security-related courses.

Computer Science Degree vs. Cybersecurity Degree

The main distinction between a cybersecurity degree and a computer science degree with a cybersecurity emphasis is the amount of computer science coursework relative to the number and difficulty of security-related classes. While a cybersecurity degree will include the fundamentals of computer science such as programming, software engineering, and data mining, it will concentrate on security-related issues. A computer science degree, on the other hand, will include some security-related coursework but will be primarily focused on computer scientific principles.

Cybersecurity degrees, more more than computer science degrees, frequently provide a wide range of specialties. A university’s cybersecurity degree programme may provide traditional cybersecurity, forensic cybersecurity, and operational cybersecurity degrees. The traditional version of the degree offers a well-rounded cybersecurity education, while the forensic version focuses on investigating computer crimes, and the operations version is for those interested in working in a security operations centre (SOC) or another operational function. There are fewer academic norms to which cybersecurity degree programmes comply because they were formed relatively recently.

Those pursuing a cybersecurity concentration may only be required to take 9 to 12 credit hours of cybersecurity classes out of the 120–126 credit hours typically necessary for a Bachelor of Science in computer science. Computer science and liberal studies classes, as well as other electives, make up the remaining credits.

Computer science and cybersecurity are two careers with similar income possibilities. Due to a nationwide dearth of cybersecurity skills, cybersecurity jobs frequently pay more than computer science occupations.

Because these professions are closely related and computer science degrees are more well-established, many security-related jobs can be performed by graduates of either subject. In general, these two fields’ career ambitions are aligned as follows:

Computer science Degree

  • Computer and information research scientists
  • Chief technology officer
  • Computer programmer
  • Web developers
  • Database administrator

Cybersecurity Degree

A Computer Science Approach to Security

Students who complete a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science programme gain a foundational understanding of information technology hardware and software, networks, programming, analysis, and security.

From a computer science standpoint, security is less detailed and more basic. It is less practical and more theoretical. A computer scientist is concerned with the security implications of the design and implementation of programmes, devices, applications, and networks.

While both computer science and cybersecurity are highly technical computer-related degrees, the fundamental distinction between the two is the primary employment tasks that these degrees equip students to fill. Auditing security systems, putting up firewalls, evaluating networks, and reporting data breaches are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a cybersecurity expert. A computer science professional, on the other hand, might specialise in developing software features, network management, or web development.

Writing secure code, establishing secure networks, and developing online applications and mobile apps that protect a user’s data and infrastructure are all aspects of security from a computer science standpoint. Implementing perimeter security, enforcing access limits, addressing vulnerabilities, and finding exploits are less important.

Many companies seek programmers, system administrators, and computer scientists with a thorough understanding of the industry and expertise in security issues. These businesses want to be sure they’re designing, building, and deploying digital assets in accordance with the most recent security standards. Depending on their danger profile, they may or may not have a distinct cybersecurity department. Students with a computer science degree with a focus on cybersecurity are likely to be recruited by these companies.

How Common are Computer Science Degrees with a Cybersecurity Concentration?

Over the last few decades, security-related degree programmes have been increasingly popular. By far, computer science degree programmes outnumber cybersecurity degree programmes. The number of computer science degrees with a cybersecurity specialisation is rapidly increasing. Some credit this to colleges that choose to enhance their existing computer science programmes to include cybersecurity themes rather than creating new cybersecurity degrees from the bottom up.

This tactic — expanding the existing computer science programme to incorporate extra security courses — is a good stopgap measure. Nonetheless, a rising percentage of cybersecurity jobs necessitate the specialised security training that a cybersecurity degree provides. There will be natural pressure on other universities to follow suit as the number of cybersecurity degree programmes grows.

How to Choose the Right Degree Programme

Students must consider their interests, educational background, and ability when selecting a degree programme. A computer science degree should be considered by students who are primarily interested in programming languages, artificial intelligence, or robots. Furthermore, in today’s threat-laden world, a computer science degree with a cybersecurity emphasis will make a graduate more appealing to employers than a computer science degree without a cybersecurity emphasis. A cybersecurity degree, on the other hand, may be the greatest option for individuals who are interested in data protection issues, digital forensics, or cyber compliance.

A bachelor’s degree is required for many entry-level security professions. A student’s job aspirations and available resources typically impact whether they pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A master’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science, however, would pay more than a bachelor’s degree and may be a better fit for some individuals.

Master’s degree holders are frequently well-suited for management positions such as information technology manager or lead software designer. Graduates with a master’s degree in cybersecurity management are more prepared to identify risks and threats, enhance preventive measures, and create security controls. Analysts, supervisors, and consultants can all benefit from graduate-level training.

Clifford Neuman, the Director of the USC Center for Computer Systems Security, discussed the degree possibilities available at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering in a recent interview with Cybersecurity Guide. He went over the potential in the computer science department and the data science programme in particular. He stated, ”

“The main [degree] for security practitioners is our Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering. That’s a two-year program that can be completed in about a year and a half if you’re motivated to do so. And it teaches both the fundamental theory of computer security for high assurance systems and the practical application of security techniques in today’s more common networked mobile and cloud environments.”

“That programme focuses on more of the fundamentals of computer science, including AI [and] is supplemented through several classes that students take specifically in the area of security,” Neuman said of another masters degree option — USC’s master of science in computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity. When compared to the MS in cybersecurity engineering degree, individuals take less security-related classes if they enrol in [the Computer Science] programme. They do gain a better knowledge of how security relates to other branches of computer science.”

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Several kinds of financial aid for security-related degrees are available, with several of them focusing exclusively on the cybersecurity industry. The following are some examples of these:

  • Information Assurance Scholarship Program – This program is designed to increase the number of qualified personnel entering the information assurance (IA) and information technology fields within the Department of the Navy.
  • Scholarship for Service – the National Science Foundation, in association with the National Security Agency, provides grants for cybersecurity students. Recipients must work after graduation for a federal, state, local or tribal government agency or approved SFS institution for a period equal to the length of the scholarship.
  • Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) – is a partnership of Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA) and CRA-WP.  Its long-term goal is to contribute to increasing the representation of women in the information security workforce
  • Snort Scholarship – Cisco sponsored for information assurance majors
  • Department of Homeland Security – The Department of Homeland Security offers a variety of prestigious scholarships, fellowships, internships, and training opportunities to expose talented students to the broad national security mission.

Individual schools may also have scholarships and grants available. To learn about all of your choices, contact the college’s financial aid office.

Conclusion

A computer science degree with a focus in cybersecurity or a cybersecurity degree will be beneficial to a student interested in understanding how to protect data, networks, applications, devices, and infrastructure. For both of these closely linked areas, there are master’s and bachelor’s degree programmes available.

Degree programmes in cybersecurity are newer and, in some ways, more relevant to contemporary security problems. Computer science programmes are more established and, in some ways, more comprehensive. Each of them approaches security from a unique standpoint.

A computer science degree with a cybersecurity emphasis will provide a broader computer education, covering topics such as statistics and boolean logic, as well as programming and web development. On the other side, cybersecurity will deliver the most security-focused education accessible.

Both offer equivalent pay, with cybersecurity edging out the competition due to a skills gap in the field. The limits and opportunities for tuition and scholarships will be quite similar across the board.

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Source: https://cybersguards.com/a-complete-guide-to-a-computer-science-degree-with-an-emphasis-in-cybersecurity/

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Is Cybersecurity Boring?

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Is Cybersecurity Boring
Is Cybersecurity Boring

Is cybersecurity Boring?- I work in cyber security as a cyber security architect, and the security teams for which I work have a variety of responsibilities. When I originally started looking for entry level employment, my aim was to figure out which ones were the most fascinating.

Lower-level cyber security professions are, on the whole, quite uninteresting because they are tedious and repetitive. Where the same actions, such as running through checklists, examining logs like security and incident logs, checking dashboards for alerts, and creating tickets from a central security email address into an incident management application, are repeated as part of daily activities.

Employees in cyber security may become demotivated as a result of the monotony of their duties, which can also cause a lot of stress. Many of these positions have a high employee turnover rate because workers feel discouraged by the repetition and resign.

One of my close friends used to work in a low-level, dull position in cyber security, where they worked in shifts, either the early or late shift. They had to complete a checklist for each shift, with the morning shift needing them to complete it first thing in the morning and the late shift wanting them to complete it near the conclusion of their shift.

They told me that going through the checklist, checking several dashboards, logs, and a variety of other tedious activities may take up to two hours. When they were checking, they said they felt like a robot because they were in automatic mode, as if they were running a computer programme in their heads to check this and then check that.

They’d have to check the centralised email address for the entire cyber security team, where any incident-related emails would arrive, once the checklists were completed. They’d have to go through each of these emails and add the ones that are important to the incident management application. So, let’s imagine you received an email from another employee who worked in accounts, and the email read something like,

“I accidentally sent some of our customer information to the wrong customer”

My friend would have to enter the details of the employee who sent the email, the time of the occurrence, the incident details, and so on into the incident management application. Then they’d have to figure out who should be in charge of this incident; in the case above, the data privacy team may have been in charge. Each occurrence would be assigned a priority ranking based on my friend’s assessment of its seriousness.

They stated that privacy-related matters would be given a three-star priority, but that if the situation appeared to be significant, my buddy would contact a data privacy team contact mentioned on the website. This might be an emergency out-of-hours number if they had to call them outside of work hours, such as at the start of the early shift or at the end of the late shift.

They didn’t stay in this work for long, and instead used their ability to swiftly pick up new skills and information to advance to a new position. Increasing their involvement in incident management-related roles, such as incident management planning.

One of my friend’s pet peeves about their tedious job was the lack of social connection, since they spent a big portion of their shift alone, with no interaction with other employees. Any job can become monotonous due to a lack of social connection, and some lower level cyber security occupations are no exception.

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Is Cybersecurity a Stressful Job?

Cyber security can be a demanding job, especially if it involves incident management, because a significant occurrence can require all hands on deck and the completion of tasks under time constraints. As a result, additional hours are required to ensure that the issue is confined.

I had a simple 9-to-5 job at one of the organisations where I worked, except for one day when there was an incident. Initially, it appeared that the firm had been the victim of a successful cyber attack, necessitating the start of a complete incident management process.

I had to become involved since it appeared that an attacker had managed to penetrate one of the security safeguards on the project I was working on. Worse, the incident management process began just as I was about to log off for the day, so I had no choice but to stay at work and assist the incident manager and the incident management team.

This was a first for me; I’d never been in an accident before, so my curiosity got the best of me. However, some of the other callers, particularly those on the incident management team, had to work in these conditions on a regular basis. That is, the unknown, where an event could occur at any time, and they needed to be prepared and on top of their game in order to manage the problem as swiftly as possible.

This meant that their 9 to 5 job could evolve into a 9 to midnight job, or, in the worst-case scenario, an all-nighter. The team had to pass the baton of being “on-call” to each other. This means they could be soundly sleeping at home when the phone rings to inform them of a potential serious incident.

Once the incident management process was started, the incident manager would ask the team a lot of questions in order to figure out what investigations and activities they would need to do. To ensure that the impact of any catastrophe is minimised, all of this would have to be done swiftly and precisely.

For example, suppose one of the cloud storage services, such as Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) bucket, was misconfigured and detected by one of the security programmes. The following items would need to be considered as part of the incident management process:

  • when this was discovered,
  • when the misconfiguration occurred,
  • what information is stored in the S3 bucket,
  • who’s accessed the information,
  • what could potentially be the impact of unauthorized access,
  • how can the misconfiguration be fixed, and a damage limitation exercise started.

There are numerous investigations and tasks to be completed, and if the information stored in this S3 bucket was of high value, such as credit card information, organisational secrets, or customer information, senior executives may be required to participate.

For me, not knowing how my working day would go, as I could wind up working longer hours than I intended throughout the day, being called late at night, having my sleep disrupted, and overall not being able to get into a routine would cause a lot of stress, as it does for many other people. This is why I steered clear of occupations like these.

My positions as a cyber security architect have not been stressful, and they will continue to be so in the future, since I serve as an advisor and work strictly a 9 to 5 schedule. If I have to commute, I sometimes work from 8 to 4 to avoid the stress of commuting during rush hour. My position is not unique; there are numerous professions in cyber security that are similar to mine, ranging from analysis to engineering to risk management.

I always advise anyone new to cyber security to treat jobs like incident management as temporary as much as possible, especially if they are unpleasant, and to utilise them as a stepping stone to less stressful employment.

Is it Worth Going into Cybersecurity?

Overall, pursuing a career in cyber security is well worth the effort, as the pay is higher than that of other IT occupations. Both monetary and contractual rewards are available for executing the assignments, with many of them being quite intriguing.

When compared to other jobs in the information technology field, cyber security positions pay well. Friends of mine who have switched from other types of information technology professions have experienced a significant rise in their pay, sometimes as much as 50%.

For me, the social components of my cyber security profession, where I interact with many teams within a company as a cyber security architect, are appealing. This is really fulfilling to me because it allows me to form friendships and, more importantly, it allows me to demonstrate to my coworkers that I am available to assist them.

I’m not there to put up roadblocks and prevent people from doing their duties by enforcing excessive security measures. Instead, I’m there to talk about how we can both work together to satisfy the organization’s and security’s needs.

I also appreciate the fact that many cyber security responsibilities confer authority, particularly in organisations that regard security as a “first-class citizen.” Thankfully, none of this has gone to my head.

I enjoy working in a leadership position, but my credo remains the same: help others in the same organisation understand and respect the importance of cyber security. Our employer and we must ensure that they are safe from cyber dangers and attacks because they are the “hand that feeds.”

Does Cybersecurity Require Coding?

In comparison to specific specialised areas in cyber security where coding is vital, there are many more jobs in cyber security that do not require any coding expertise or experience. People who work in jobs that do not require coding knowledge are more focused and active in the architectural, design, planning, construction, and support of an organization’s cyber security activities.

People frequently mistakenly believe that having coding experience is a must for obtaining a job in cyber security when, in fact, the majority of positions do not require any coding experience or knowledge. As a result, these individuals may get interested in studying coding languages, particularly Python, as they regard it as a fast pathway to cyber security.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, since true cyber security expertise and knowledge are valued more, and coding skills are considered a ‘nice to have’ capability in most cyber security employment.

I haven’t done any coding in any of the cyber security roles I’ve had. Other than being able to use the web programming language PHP for some of the websites I develop for non-work related activities, I have no coding skills. My lack of coding skills hasn’t stopped me from working in cyber security.

In all of the cyber security tasks I’ve worked on, I’ve advised coders on how to code safely. I’ve worked with hackers who programme in Java,.NET, Python, as well as front end JavaScript based frameworks like Vue, React, and Angular, and I know nothing about coding in these languages.

I do know, however, that they must code securely by not including passwords in their code or performing database queries that can be readily hacked. I don’t need to know anything about coding, classes, or object-oriented programming; this is all I need to know.

When I worked for one company, there was a significant cyber security team of over 80 individuals, which included:

Only approximately 15 of the 80 or so members on the security team utilised code on a regular basis, according to my estimation. That’s less than a quarter of a percent. In their jibs, Security Testers and some SOC analysts use a lot of coding expertise. Because security testers, like penetration testers, need to understand code in order to execute their security tests against it.

While some SOC Analysts, particularly those involved in Red Team and Blue Team activities, would need to be able to code, the Red Teams were responsible for Ethical Hacking and could include individuals who would need to manipulate code or create threat and vulnerability code in order for the Blue Team to find this vulnerability.

Security Engineers would need certain coding abilities depending on their job responsibilities. For example, if they were developing scripts on Linux or Unix (bash scripts) or even Windows (PowerShell), they would need to know how to code. But only if these entailed security tools, in which case the tool vendor would most likely come in and assist with the installation of the security product, as well as any scripting requirements.

After the vendor had generated the accompanying scripts, the security engineers would most likely package the installation and configuration of the security solution using templates like Azure ARM Templates or AWS CloudFormation, or even a templating language like Terraform. I’d be hesitant to declare that the security engineers in this case were 100% coders, because templating languages are much easier to learn than coding languages like Python. These templating languages are far more declarative than logical, and I’ve done some basic Terraform template construction and find it much easier than PHP writing.

More crucially, the projects’ DevOps engineers would be in charge of a lot of the cyber security work I recommend to them. Because the DevOps team knows how to code, if I wanted them to instal security software, they’d have to write scripts in Python to automate the process if templating wasn’t used.

So, while it’s reasonable to presume DevOps engineers need to know how to code, I, as a cyber security professional, would need to know nothing about coding, despite the fact that coding is involved in what I’ve suggested.

The DevOps engineers were not on the cyber security team; instead, they were on the project team, which meant that their coding skills and experience were irrelevant for a job in cyber security because they didn’t work in cyber security.

Python Skills

I recall being on a team with five other cyber security architects at one company, and one of my coworkers was teaching several interns who were doing work experience as part of their university degree programme. He had taught them some basic python so that they could run reports and extract data from files and quickly import it into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, from which they could build reports.

My coworker had a deep understanding of Python and could code to a very high level; in fact, I’m confident that if they chose to work as a developer, they would be able to do so with ease. My coworker, on the other hand, used to complain that we didn’t get any opportunities to utilise Python outside of what he was doing with the interns because it wasn’t required for our day-to-day employment.

Some of the security engineering jobs may be appropriate for you if you enjoy coding and want to work in cyber security in a coding-related career. Penetration testing, ethical hacking, and working in red and blue teams are all security testing occupations that may be more relevant.

Do You Have to be Smart to be in Cybersecurity?

Most cyber security occupations do not require a high level of intelligence, as most jobs include applying cyber security concepts, standards, and best practises to projects and situations. These cyber security concepts and standards can be simply deployed across any firm once they’ve been grasped.

I’m averagely intelligent and wouldn’t consider myself particularly bright, but I have no trouble finding positions in cyber security. Simply because I understand what cyber security is, what the most common threats and assaults are, and how the principles, standards, and best practises for security may be applied.

Over time, I’ve acquired a mindset for thinking like a hacker, which has helped me comprehend the precautions that must be implemented to combat these types of hackers.

While there are numerous careers that do not demand a high level of intelligence, there are other jobs in cyber security that do. There are occupations that need advanced coding, analysis, and threat assessments. These cyber security positions tend to attract only the brightest candidates, yet they make up a small part of a company’s overall cyber security staff.

I don’t have a college diploma; I only have a high school diploma, but I’m regularly approached by companies who want me to work for them. The reason for this is that I have extensive experience in cyber security, which I have created using cyber security concepts and standards.

In my daily work, I apply several of the following principles:

  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Accounting (Auditing)
  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Availability
  • Principle of Least Privilege
  • Separation of duties

These ideas are simple enough for me to apply to any cyber security project I’m working on. So, based on the first principle, authentication, I’ll see if the project’s deliverables include authentication. This might be a website or a web application that requires customers to log in. Customers must have a username and a valid password to login, and authentication provides a means to show they are who they say they are.

When it comes to authorisation, the principles would entail ensuring that consumers may only see information that is relevant to them when they log in, as long as they are authorised to see it. Customers will not be able to read information about other customers because they have not been given permission to do so. If they can see information about other customers, it’s a red flag for me that the authorisation isn’t working properly, or worse, that no authorization exists.

All contacts with the website and any other services by consumers, workers, third parties, and contractors are tracked under the Accounting principle. As a result, every time they try to log in, a security event is recorded in a file called a log, which includes the logging user’s username, as well as the time and date. If the login fails due to an error, such as entering the wrong password, the error is also recorded.

Logging is vital because it keeps track of security-related events, which can be evaluated for suspicious trends, such as logging in from unusual places, such as outside the country where the user usually logs in. This could signal that the user account has been compromised, and by responding swiftly and suspending or disabling the account, potential cyber threats can be avoided.

Confidentiality principles are critical in securing an organization’s information by ensuring that only those who are authorised to see it have access to it, as well as ensuring that the information is protected if it is stolen. In most cases, this can be accomplished by ensuring that the data component of information is encrypted during storage and transfer via encrypted channels.

Integrity standards are crucial to ensure that information isn’t tampered with or manipulated, such as when a report on a company’s profit that shows a significant loss is changed to indicate enormous profits. The report’s integrity has been harmed as a result of this change, as the information it contains is inaccurate, and the report’s impact on a company’s share price, a merger, or a takeover could be influenced. As a result of altered information, investors may experience possible losses, which may result in job losses to offset the loss of profit.

Availability guarantees that information can be used, ensuring that a website where doctors can access medical records about their patients does not go down, leaving doctors without critical information.

Malicious parties utilise common distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take down services like websites, preventing legitimate users from accessing them. The DDoS attack causes the website’s support systems, such as web servers and load balancers, to become overloaded, lowering and, in some circumstances, crippling access.

The idea of least privilege is vital for ensuring that a user’s privileges on a system are appropriate for the job they are performing. As a result, a regular user who only has to log in and use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and check their email does not require administrator capabilities. To execute their job, they only require basic privileges.

The separation of duties principle tries to spread privileges across a group of people so that no one person has all of the advantages that are deemed to be too powerful. As a result, when software is built, tested, and deployed, no single individual has the authority to build, test, or release the software into a “real-world” environment such as production.

Instead, the various stages of the release cycle are divided into separate jobs with varying levels of privileges to ensure that not only the concept of least privilege is followed, but that no single person can perform everything from application development through testing and release.

Final thoughts

Working in cyber security is something I find highly interesting and never boring. My day-to-day job tasks are really fulfilling, particularly when they entail interacting with other employees, meeting suppliers, reviewing new cyber security tools, and examining methods to improve cyber security risk postures across my employer’s firm.

Because I haven’t been actively involved in demanding activities, such as incident management, I don’t find the roles I’ve held stressful. I try to stick to a 9 to 5 pattern, and once I do, my obligations are much easier to manage, and I’m not overwhelmed by work tasks because I’ve gotten very good at managing my work schedules.

I have ordinary IQ, but it hasn’t stopped me from working in cyber security. I’ve mastered the major principles of cyber security and have been successful in implementing these ideas wherever I’ve worked.

Most cyber security occupations do not require any coding skills; however, some jobs, particularly those involving ethical hacking, engineering, or analysis, may require some programming knowledge. However, coding and programming abilities are not required for the work I do, nor for the work that most people in cyber security undertake.

Overall, cyber security is a job that is not only financially rewarding but can also be a very intriguing one to be a part of. I enjoy the work I do, and the social connection with the people I encounter is a huge plus for me. I strongly advise anyone considering a new career or a career shift to read it.

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Source: https://cybersguards.com/is-cybersecurity-boring/

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