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What is a Cyber Security Specialist?

Put simply, a cyber-security specialist is responsible for ensuring the safety and protection of a company’s internet connected systems, including hardware and software. Their jobs are now being recognised as increasingly important in a world where we are under constant threat of cyber-attacks.

Data breaches are regularly heard of and attacks on websites are reaching unbelievable levels as hackers try to breach the security that protects them.

We are opening up more and more potential opportunities as we embrace the Internet of Things and the threat of cyber-attacks rise to new levels as everything from household appliances to aircraft connect to the internet. As robots become more powerful, concerns that weak security standards could allow them to be weaponised have increased, while using AI to automate records still causes controversy.

Cloud storage is fast becoming the norm and ensuring data is protected usually follows a seriously close breach, or the usual ‘please change your password as a precaution’ email from one of your suppliers. We are more aware, but equally unprepared with our ‘behind the time’ knowledge on the methods being used to open up attacks on unsuspecting users.

In a recent article published in the Financial Times, Raj Samani, Chief Scientist at McAfee, the IT security company, explained how easy it was to be hacked at home after finding a simple smart plug with vulnerability in his own home. This innocuous little plug could have allowed hackers to compromise the entire WiFi and subsequently anything attached to it should they have chosen that particular gateway!

And, of course, we need saving from ourselves as attackers recognise that users are the weakest links often using the same password for everything, opening malicious files unwittingly and being blissfully unaware that we have opened the gateway to utter destruction of our networks whilst only ‘doing our jobs’. So, it is hardly surprising that this role is taking on more importance and becoming a career choice; it is not a job that is going to have built in obsolescence as some do, as we continue to stretch our connectivity to the full.

What do you need to become a Cyber Security Specialist?

Well, that is going to take a 4-year bachelor’s degree in computer programming, computer science, information science or computer engineering. Plus, English, statistics and mathematics courses will be needed as well.

This is a job for people that love learning and have great analytical minds; the job will never stand still as we introduce more opportunities for cyber security breaches into our home and working lives every day.

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