Cybersecurity is the field of computer science that deals with the technologies used to protect systems and networks from unauthorized access. It is a crucial subject as governments, private organizations, hospitals and educational institutions all store huge amounts of data. And, this data may contain information about customers, finance, sales, students and intellectual property. Unwanted access and exploitation of these kinds of data can wreak havoc in any firm. This is because companies rely heavily on data for running their businesses. As cybersecurity attacks, such as phishing, malware, and Denial of Service, are becoming common, employees having security and ethical hacking training are the ones to save the day.
Let us first understand the basics of cybersecurity!
Basics of Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is also called electronic security. The subject can be divided into the following categories:
Application security: The type of security aims at keeping all the devices and software applications safe. Security professionals use software and hardware methods to handle external threats that may arise during development. The security threats may be observed during design, upgrading systems, deployment or maintenance.
The different application security measures include:
- Antivirus programs
- Encryption programs
Network security: It is concerned with securing the networks of an organization or an institute against threats. The aim is to protect the reliability, safety, and integrity of a network. To manage the networks more efficiently, modern technologies, such as machine learning, are used to analyze abnormal network traffic. Real-time threats are also prevented to keep the internal networks safe.
The common network security components are as follows:
- New and tougher passwords
- Making the log in process stronger
- Application security programs, such as an antivirus, anti-spyware, encryption systems, and firewalls
- IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems) are used to protect the network against threats, such as zero-hour attacks and zero-day attacks
- Monitoring the network access by implementing VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)
Information security: The data is protected by information security measures. Here, measures, such as cryptography, authentication, and authorization, are used to secure sensitive data. Unauthorized modification, disruption, and destruction of the data can be prevented.
Operational security: The security measures are adopted for securing data assets. The different security operations, such as accessing the network, location of the data storage and process of data storage are determined here.
Disaster recovery: This determines the different processes through which a company battles security threats. A disaster may be a huge loss of data or a security attack on a network. Security experts develop risk assessment strategies, conduct risk analysis and establish priorities to manage disasters.
The most common security attacks that target systems are as follows:
DOS (Denial-of-service) attack: The DOS attacks are used by attackers to flood a company’s servers, machines and networks with huge amounts of traffic. As a result, the machines may shut down and are not able to respond to service requests. When this attack is launched from multiple systems, it is called a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Notably, DOS attacks include TCP SYN flood, ping-of-death, and botnets.
Malware: Harmful software, such as viruses, spyware, worms, and Trojans are all called malware. They may breach through a system or a network. Also, they may block important system components, install additional dangerous software, and make the system inactive.
Phishing: It is actually a link sent through e-mail, which resembles an authentic link. The user may type in vital information, such as login details of his/her social media accounts or bank details. The aim of the attacker is to steal sensitive information or install malware on the user’s system.
SQL injection: Here, malicious code is inserted into the server that uses SQL and reveal valuable information.
Therefore, to protect the systems against such harmful attacks, every organization has a separate cybersecurity department.
So, how does one create a career in cybersecurity? Let us find out!
If you want to be a cybersecurity professional, having a degree in computer science or engineering is not enough. You need certifications to validate your skills and expertise.
Here are the reasons why cybersecurity certifications are important for your career:
Proving your abilities and worth: Completion of certification shows that your skills are validated and you have the technical know-how about the concepts. You may have ample knowledge about security, but a reputable certification will help you prove that easily to a potential employer.
Embarking on a career path: Gaining certifications will help you jump start your career in the cybersecurity field. This way, you no longer have to apply or join entry-level positions and hope to get promoted someday. For example, if you want to join as a penetration tester, you can complete a Certified Ethical Hacker course, which will show employers that you are a good fit for the position.
Enhances your pay: If you are an employee desiring to be promoted to a better position, then a certification will help you immensely. It will help you get a promotion and also get a hike in your salary. Certificates, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional, can help you bag better job offers with better salary packages.
Below are some of the best cybersecurity courses and certifications that are globally recognized:
GSEC – GIAC Security Essentials Certification: Global Security
This is a globally recognized certification that is perfect if you are a fresher wanting to start a career in cybersecurity. You do not require any training or experience for enrolling for the course. It is also open for professionals who have some hands-on experience in cybersecurity. Areas like cryptography, Linux security, Web communication security, security policies, and risk assessment are covered here. It is offered by the SANS Institute.
Georgia Institute Of Technology – MS in Cybersecurity
The MS in Cybersecurity offered by Georgia Institute Of Technology is a famous course that teaches cybersecurity basics and its advanced concepts. The course is available in three tracks, including Information Security, Energy Systems and Policy.
Many certifications are offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. For beginners, ISC 2 offers the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) course. If you complete this, you qualify for the next course called CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). Topics, such as security engineering, risk management, and security operations are covered.
CISM (Certified Information Systems Manager)
Offered by the International Systems Audit and Control Association, the course is aimed at information security management. This is a great certification for experienced professionals looking to upgrade their careers. This is because the certificate requires 5 years of cybersecurity experience.
Another prominent institute that offers many cybersecurity certifications is EC-Council. It offers the following world-class certifications that you might be interested in:
- Certified Network Defender (CND)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- CEH (Practical)
- Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
- EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional (EDRP)
- Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (C|TIA)
- EC Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)
- ECSA (Practical)
- Licensed Penetration Tester (Master)
- Certified Secure Computer User (CSCU)
- Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO)
- EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH)
- EC-Council Certified Security Specialist (ECSS)
- Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE – Java)
- Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE – .Net)
- Windows Infrastructure Security (CAST 616)
- Certified Network Defense Architect (CNDA)
- EC-Council Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES)
- Web Application Security (CAST 613)
- Advanced Network Defense (CAST 614)
- Advanced Mobile Forensics and Security (CAST 612)
Notably, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is one of the most popular certificate courses.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The course provides you with the knowledge to look for weaknesses and identify vulnerabilities. You will be able to use the same tools that a malicious attacker might use and prevent threats.
The course can be taken up by security professionals, system administrators, network administrators, auditors, and web managers.
The course requires 2 years of industry experience in the security domain.
The exam consists of 125 questions and the test is of 4 hours. The exam has multiple-choice questions. The course has the following modules:
- Module 01: Introduction to Ethical Hacking
- Module 02: Footprinting and Reconnaissance
- Module 03: Scanning Networks
- Module 04: Enumeration
- Module 05: Vulnerability Analysis
- Module 06: System Hacking
- Module 07: Malware Threats
- Module 08: Sniffing
- Module 09: Social Engineering
- Module 10: Denial-of-Service
- Module 11: Session Hijacking
- Module 12: Evading IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
- Module 13: Hacking Web Servers
- Module 14: Hacking Web Applications
- Module 15: SQL Injection
- Module 16: Hacking Wireless Networks
- Module 17: Hacking Mobile Platforms
- Module 18: IoT Hacking
- Module 19: Cloud Computing
- Module 20: Cryptography
As the fear of dangerous cyber attacks like ransom ware and Man-in-the-middle continues to loom over organizations, the requirement for security professionals is huge. Whether you are a fresher or an experienced professional, equipping yourself with proper certifications and courses can set you up for a bright career in security.