Cybercriminals find and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks in order to steal passwords, private data and sensitive information, largely for financial gain. According to the Microsoft Digital Defense Report, cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and cybercriminals are employing techniques that make them harder to detect and pose threats to even the most tech-savvy targets.
As the scale and complexity of such attacks continue to evolve, the need for cyber security experts adept in countering the risks will also be high in demand. If you are looking to progress your career in this field click here to find suitable opportunities. This article will explore some of the techniques which are currently being used by cybercriminals as well as some of the reasons to consider a career in cybersecurity.
Issues That Cybersecurity Professionals Face
Ransomware is one of the biggest cyber security threats and is one of the most common cyber threats faced by small businesses. In 2021, 71% of ransomware attacks targeted small businesses, making an average ransom demand of $116,000.
Ransomware attacks are designed to deny users access to data on their computers by encrypting files and demanding a payment to decrypt and restore access. Cybercriminals often demand hefty payments in the form of cryptocurrency, and businesses can be left with little option but to pay the ransom if they do not have backups of their data. The cost to their business caused by such disruption also forces many businesses to meet the demands made of them. However, there is no guarantee that their cooperation will be honored on the other end.
To mitigate such threats, businesses must put strong ransomware protection in place and ensure all essential data is backed up. This will facilitate a faster recovery in case of an attack, avoiding the need to be held to ransom.
A malware attack is another common type of cyberattack and involves malicious software being used to steal data and damage or destroy a device or network. Cybercriminals use malware such as viruses, trojans, worms, spyware and adware to gain access to and infect a computer or network without the user’s knowledge. Malware is often used to steal sensitive or private information such as bank details, financial records and passwords as well as locking devices or causing them to become inoperative.
Malware commonly infects computers by tricking users into downloading files, installing programs or clicking links on legitimate-looking sites or malicious email attachments. Malware attacks can cost individuals and businesses a great deal of time and money in terms of repair or replacement of infected devices as well as the potential for stolen data and fraud.
According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 81% of breaches within companies or organizations are caused by weak passwords. Many businesses are compromising their cyber security by using weak and easily-guessable passwords which fail to protect their data and sensitive information.
To avoid becoming targets for cybercriminals it is important for businesses to employ tools such as password management software which is designed to store and manage passwords in an encrypted database and safeguard against threats from accessing master passwords. Multi-factor authentication is another step businesses can take to increase their security measures and reduce the risk of cybercriminals gaining access to their data.
Businesses everywhere need to remain resilient against new and ever-present threats to their security. As a result, the demand for experts in this line of work will continue to grow. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Information Security Analyst’s Outlook, cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas in the U.S with predictions that such jobs will grow 33% from 2020 to 2030. This amounts to over seven times faster than the national average job growth. Below are some of the benefits of choosing a career in this field.
Benefits of a Career in Cybersecurity
With average cybersecurity salaries ranging between $95,000 and $160,000, professionals in this industry have great earning potential. This figure will vary depending on the specific role and speciality, with some of the most common roles in this field being:
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Penetration tester
- Information security analyst
- Security vulnerability analyst
- Cybersecurity architect
With the COVID-19 pandemic also came the rise of remote working and many people came to realize the advantages of this style of working. Without the need for daily commutes to the office, remote working can free up much time and offer a greater work-life balance.
A career in cybersecurity is well suited to remote and hybrid work, which is now becoming the norm, enabling professionals in this field the flexibility to work from wherever they decide to. The benefits of the laptop lifestyle offer cybersecurity professionals the chance to work from home or abroad, allowing them the freedom to travel at will whilst being paid.
Options for Self-Employment
Another compelling reason to enter this field is the digital nature of cybersecurity work which offers professionals in this area ample opportunity for self-employment. Such options include becoming an independent contractor, setting up your own cybersecurity business or offering your services to various organizations as a consultant. With such highly-sought expertise and experience, self-employment can provide a lucrative option as well as one that offers the freedom to choose your own hours and set your own fee.
Guaranteed Career Growth
As we live in a world that is increasingly dependent on digitization and technology, the potential for breaches to our security remains ever-present. From smart devices in our home to emerging technologies used in business, such dependence can leave us vulnerable to any cybersecurity attacks.
As a professional in this field, this offers great opportunities for advancement as the need for qualified professionals will continue to exist for technology within the home, in business and across various industries. With a current shortage of talent at around three million qualified cybersecurity workers it is clear that the demand for skilled individuals in this sector will continue, offering the potential for guaranteed career growth and job security.
As this article has highlighted, the need to tackle cybersecurity is a pressing issue and one that continues to be on the top of many businesses’ agendas. By considering a career in this area you can help to mitigate the continuing challenges posed as well as reap the benefits mentioned above.