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2023 is the year of Cyber Security in Pakistan; here’s your chance to join-in

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Three factors create an ideal scenario for cyber security professionals in Pakistan. To begin with, there’s a concrete policy and legislative framework by the government that empowers cyber security workforce and businesses. In addition, a dedicated national center for cyber security works in R&D leading to startups and international publications. Further, the devastating scenario of cyber crimes in Pakistan pushes all organizations to establish innovative protection programs. 

This is the time for aspiring individuals and professionals to progress in the cyber security career. We present in this article, the key drivers of cyber security ecosystem in Pakistan as well as the diversity in skill set of a security specialist. Your frequently asked questions are also answered at the last.

Table of contents

Current cyberspace of Pakistan & challenges

Government actions for a secure cyberspace in Pakistan

Key Drivers: Scope of Cyber Security in Pakistan

Skills required to become a cyber security specialist

Can you learn Cyber Security in 2 months?

FAQs

The virulent cyber security space of Pakistan:

There’s a lot of turbulence in the current cyberspace of Pakistan. Almost all industries faced data theft and lost sensitive consumer data to attackers. This data existed in the form of bank account information, location history, tax and legal case records, and government officials phone calls. And ironically, attackers were able to get the above data from the top rated organizations like Careem, FBR, Sindh high court, Meezan bank, and K-electric to name some. 

Not to forget how the hackers got into the most protected area, the Prime Minister’s house, stole sensitive phone call data of Pakistan’s premier and some political leaders, leaked via dark web and demanded $3.45 million in exchange. 

Is it so easy for hackers to get into any computer system? 

No, it’s not easy for any hacker to dig in and control any digital system when security is in place. However, the vulnerabilities make it super easy for cybercriminals to enter and exploit digital systems. 

But for Pakistan, ensuring a secure cyberspace is not an easy task. 

To begin with, a complete absence of an indigenous national ICT and Cyber Security industry is leading Pakistani consumers to buy and use imported electronic equipment and software products that continuously pose security threats to its users.

In addition, the country lacks concrete national security standards and accreditation systems that could protect its citizens from hackers stealing away their sensitive data.

As a result hackers use embedded malwares, backdoors, and chipsets to liberally get their hands on whatever industry they pick.

Has Pakistan taken any remarkable steps?

A policy framework is in place

Pakistan’s IT and Telecommunications ministry put forth its first cyber security policy in 2021. The policy is well-thought and concrete taking under its scope the data processing, transfer, storage, and management. It presents a framework to protect digital systems through developing standardized security measures. 

The following notes provide the idea of policy objectives for enabling a protected cyberspace. 

  1. Building a dedicated information sharing mechanism for the protection of national ICT systems.
  1. Creating concrete and thorough national security standards to accreditate third party communication systems.
  1. Providing support and systems to organizations dealing with online citizen data.
  1. Establishing public-private collaboration and sharing operational and technical expertise.
  1. Training and upskilling aspiring cyber security professionals in Pakistan through capacity building and training programs.
  1. Taking legal action against the misconduct of cyber security requirements.

Upskilling youth, supporting startups, businesses and R&D:

The Government of Pakistan formed a dedicated institute called the National Center for Cyber Security NCCS in 2018 whose primary job is to address the growing concerns regarding increasing demand for human capital, R&D resources, and a startup ecosystem.

To address these issues, the NCCS funded the formation of 12 research labs in the public and private institutes across the country. 

R&D: With the creation of specialized labs (see Table 1) NCCS creates a sustainable supply of PhDs and MS qualified experts who drive the R&D in cybersecurity with publishing internationally acclaimed research projects.

Startups: Since 2018, a number of impressive products and prototypes have emerged from NCCS affiliated labs. These led to the milestone launch of the following startups: ThingzEye Pvt Ltd, PKICHAIN, Lynx Information Security Pvt Ltd, Tri-C Tech Pvt Ltd, and Cyber Droid Pvt Ltd.  

Sr. no Institute name Research Lab
1 Air University Islamabad National Cybercrime and Forensics Lab
2 Bahria University Islamabad Cyber Reconnaissance and Combat (CRC) Lab
3 Air University Islamabad Devices and Network Security Lab
4 LUMS Lahore Internet Security and Privacy Lab
5 NED Karachi Internet Security and Quantum Technology Lab
6 NUST Islamabad Security Auditing and Evaluation Lab
7 UET Lahore Internet of Things (IoT) Security Lab
8 University of Peshawar Innovative Secured Systems Lab
9 UET Taxila Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Lab
10 UET Peshawar Innovative Secured Systems Lab
11 PIEAS Islamabad Critical Infrastructure Protection & Malware Analysis
12 ITU Lahore Blockchain Security Lab
List of NCCS affiliated Cyber security research labs

Upskilling: These specialized cyber security labs regularly organize well-planned workshops and training programs over hi-tech cyber security skills such as the latest hacking techniques, vulnerability assessment and penetration methods.  

Business partnership: Under the MoITT’s national policy for cyber security, the government aims to collaborate with private cyber security groups and organizations to seek cyber defense and monitoring of national assets.

Scope of cyber security in Pakistan– is cyber security a good career?

  • As per a survey, in 2021, there were only 4.19 million cybersecurity specialists worldwide. However, a massive more of 2.72 million cyber security professionals were required. Occupying this global supply-demand gap still remains a challenge. In Pakistan, the cyber security degree programs and short courses have just recently emerged in 2018. There’s an obvious lack of trend in cyber security specialization. 
  • Gradually, cyber security is picking up pace in Pakistan since there’s a woeful record of national institutions and private businesses being attacked by hackers. Hence now it becomes inevitable for the public and private sectors to set up teams and establish a cyber security program. 
  • Alongside this, the headlines of hackers stealing away consumer data creates much needed privacy awareness among the public. As a result, consumers are now prefer buying services from companies who ensure trustability via a reliable security policy.
  • Another positive take on the scope of cyber security in Pakistan is that it plays an integral role in every possible industry. Whether belonging to the IT industry or not, every organization is undergoing digital transformation and to protect the digital infrastructure and services, they require foolproof security against threats. This includes arranging for mechanisms to manage access identities, protecting infrastructure and services, and detecting and mitigating threats. 
  • Specifically for the IT service providers- such as software companies, telecommunications and cloud service providers, the organizations are required to add rigorous security measures (at the service and application layer) that can help mitigate data threats for their clients. 
  • In 2023, the demand for cyber security professionals in Pakistan is also expected to increase because current cyberspace lacks intelligent theft investigation skills. Thus organizations now seek innovative procedures by cyber security experts who can help them meet their security objectives.

Now is the time to nurture the cyber security expert in you and use your technical wit to create an enduring value for organizations.

What are the skills required to become a Cybersecurity Expert?

There are a vast number of options available for aspiring cyber security experts to opt for depending on their interest. Some of them are compulsory to have while others can help secure specialized cyber security roles. 

The top skills for a cyber security expert are validated from the latest job advertisements. These are presented as follows.

Networking and System Administration

A network is a set of computing devices connected to each other. They are the main component carrying information from one node to the other. Understanding of how data packets are created, transmitted, and received is pertinent for cybersecurity professionals so that they can spot the problem, and then figure out a solution.

Cisco CCNA or Huawei HCNA– the basic level networking certifications, is an adequate way to earn credibility in networking skills.

Another valuable addition in your cyber security skill set is a command on system administration. Hackers exploit computer systems at the infrastructure level, by changing system configuration for example. A cyber security specialist quickly discovers underlying data corruption if they are knowledgeable of all relevant computer configuration and settings. They have a grip on the command line interface– CLI, know the steps to set up any control, and understand the functionality of computer working.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is the art of finding vulnerabilities in a network, computing node, or a software, with the intention to protect against malicious attackers. Hacking techniques include, for example, malwares, SQL injection (SQLi), OS command injection, cross site scripting (XSS) attack, session hijacking, and denial of service (DOS) attack.

A strong grip on hacking techniques is a must have skill. As an ethical hacker, it becomes easy for a cyber security specialist to arrange for protection measures in advance. Moreover, they can quickly detect an attack and immediately take countermeasures to provide defense and protect the system from the threats.

Kali Linux is a platform that helps anyone to identify security loopholes in systems. An excellent hands-on ability in Kali Linux is a solid skill for cyber security professionals that guarantees career success. 

A 2-months live, online course at Dice Analytics covers the above common hacking attacks using 8 tools including Kali Linux. View the course.

Knowledge of Operating Systems and Virtual Machines

Operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and iOS have different configuration environments. A cyber security specialist must have strong hands-on practice over each system. Moreover, as virtual machines are commonly used for the purpose of running multiple OSs over a single physical machine, it becomes important for cyber security experts to understand and know operation controls of virtual machines.

An example of using VM could be when installing Kali Linux. It’s an OS that is used by security administrators to identify system vulnerabilities and is required to run on a physical machine through virtualization.

Network Security Control

An organization providing digital services to their customers need network security control procedures. Security is a continuous living process that ensures people, network and information are protected as required by a business to perform day-to-day operations.

Knowing network security controls is a core skill for cyber security specialists. It comes under a framework (such as X.805) that enables security administrators to identify and analyze threats and find vulnerabilities in assets. Thus each asset undergoes an analysis stage, and countermeasures are identified to remove the vulnerabilities. You need to have an in-depth understanding of the security analysis process that starts with asset identification, and followed by threat analysis, vulnerability analysis and countermeasures and recommendations.

Cloud Security

As cloud platforms are increasingly adopted by large organizations– making it cost effective to flexibly scale computing resources as required, protecting data on the cloud thus becomes an integral part of organizational working. 

The job of a cloud security specialist, who’s a cyber security professional, is to establish a security program, including managing identities and permissions, protecting data and infrastructure, identifying and mitigating threats, and showing compliance. Though cloud offers automated tasks in each of the above areas, a cloud security specialist manages and oversees these operations. They use cloud security tools to check for example, where the data is located, who access the data and when, where data is moving, encryption status, and whether the data is prone to vulnerabilities.

To become a cloud security specialist, you must understand, besides networking, network security, and ethical hacking, the vendor specific cloud services and tools such as Azure, GPC and AWS.

IoT

Just as a security administrator protects a computer network, securing IoT networks works in a similar manner. There are IoT devices that use sensors to collect data and share this information with other non-IoT devices in the network or the cloud for analysis. A response is received by the IoT device that commands it to act in a certain way.

As a cyber security specialist in IoT networks, you’ll have to demonstrate an excellent understanding of ethical hacking concepts, IoT device working, the IoT network infrastructure, vulnerabilities in IoT devices and penetration testing on IoT devices.

Coding

There are chances you wouldn’t have to apply coding in your cyber security job role. However, learning coding can bring better career prospects your way since some of the most common cyber attacks take place via web apps. Further, languages such as Python allow security experts to powerfully automate their tasks and perform other valuable work. 

  1. SQL: Hackers use SQL injection attack– SQLi to manipulate data in a database. They inject a SQL query in the form of a user input that presents threat of any severity. As a cyber security specialist, you would perform SQL to fix any vulnerabilities found as user input is processed by a database. 
  1. PHP: Most websites are created using PHP, but at the same time these websites have weak security controls making them more vulnerable to SQLi attacks. Knowing PHP thus helps improve the design of web applications based on security controls.
  1. JavaScript: Cross site scripting– XSS attacks commonly take place using JavaScript code. Hackers can modify the web app code and capture critical information such as user keystrokes, cookie information, redirecting users to a malicious website, or crashing the web browser. To prevent this, a security specialist takes measures through modifying JavaScript code of the web application. 
  1. Python: Cyber security experts use the high level programming language, Python to, for example write scripts and automate processes, scan networks for vulnerabilities, perform encryption, and guess insecure passwords.

Also remember here that for cloud based web applications– SaaS apps, cyber security specialists validate protection mechanisms in any of the app languages such as Javascript, PHP, SQL and Python.

Other programming languages for cyber security include: C/C++, HTML, Go Lang, Assembly Language. 

Can you learn Cyber Security in just 2 months?

Yes, a short course of 2 months duration can seamlessly divide the core cyber security and ethical hacking concepts among the 8-week timeline. Instructed by an industry expert, it becomes surprisingly simple to learn the complex security functions as they focus on what works and enable an intuitive experience. 

Become a security professional with Dice Analytics’ complete course on Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking. This course is an online, live and industry expert led training session that focuses on core hacking skills in 8 weeks duration.

The course thoroughly covers hands-on practice over 8 latest tools. View the course details

Why take this course: Learn to build tightly secure information systems for any organization and outperform malicious hackers through a proactive approach. Apart from learning to defend, you would also become capable of detecting and mitigating malicious attacks.  

What will you learn: In compliance with the Certified Ethical Hacker– CEH v11, the course incorporates the latest hacking techniques and the most advanced hacking tools and exploits. View the course outline.

FAQs

What exactly is cyber security?

Cyber security is a discipline that creates ways of defending devices and services against electronic attacks by malicious actors such as hackers, spammers, and cybercriminals. These systems require security controls and may belong to one or more areas such as networking, operating systems, software development, cloud computing, IoT, block chain, and AI and ML.

Why is cyber security important? 

As digital technology creates unprecedented opportunities to perform tasks, the protection of individuals and organizations from electronic attacks is important more than ever. Moreover, as the governing bodies (such as EU, USA, and the UK) are ramping up legislation of consumer data protection, the demand for secure services is growing. Citizens on the other hand prefer taking services from companies that comply with these general data protection guidelines. 

Thus, organizations are looking for cyber security solutions to sustain their brand image and improve customer satisfaction.

Is cyber security hard to learn?

No, cyber security is not hard to learn when approached in the right way. 

There are a vast number of online courses that are designed keeping in mind ‘what can work’ instead of digging deeper into technology working. At Dice Analytics, an industry expert covers all core concepts in the cyber security and ethical hacking training in just 8 weeks duration. The instructor keeps the lectures intuitive and interactive involving all learners in the discussion.    

How long is learning cyber security?

Cyber security learning takes between 2 months to 2-4 years, depending on the program of enrolment. A short training course on cyber security and ethical hacking– led by an industry professional– covers all the main concepts offering you to build a strong foundation and polish your hands-on ability. It’s affordable, a good option when you have limited time, and prepares you to kick-start your career right away. 

Then comes the two year or four year programs in the form of MS and PhD degrees. These programs focus on research and development and offer an in-depth learning of the cyber security concepts and practices. This is a good option when you want to launch your own product in the market, or simply move to academia for a teaching profession. 

What are some common types of cyber security attacks?

The most common type of cyberattacks used by hackers are listed as:

  • Malware- any kind of software that intends to damage users through controlling their device. A malware lands at a user device when the user clicks on untrusted links, uses an unprotected website, or downloads seemingly harmless documents. 
  • SQL injection (SQLi)– a website that misses on some security aspects allows anyone to execute SQL code– via the unvalidated input fields of the website– offering access to its database. 
  • OS command injection– just like SQLi attack, a hacker uses a web application with insufficient input validation to inject an arbitrary command into the OS of the host web server. Hackers can thus control the web server and the damage is bound by their imagination.
  • Cross site scripting (XSS) attack– In XSS attack, a hacker runs a script on a web application that too has limited input validation as in the case of SQLi and OS command injection attacks. Hackers are able to modify the web application and track users’ information as a result.
  • Session hijacking– Different methods allow hackers to hijack or control the web session of a user. This includes using packet sniffing to read packet data of users and steal their personal information and passwords. One form of session hijacking are the malware attacks.
  • Denial of service (DOS) attack– as the name suggests, a denial of service attack intends to shutdown a device, or a complete network. A successful session hijacking allows hackers to initiate a DOS attack.  

What are types of cyber security threats?

The ITU-T X.800 framework is a security standard defined by ITU for threat assessment in networking and classifies cyber security threats to be of 5 types.

  1. Destruction– malicious destruction of information or infrastructure.
  2. Corruption– change in information or system configuration.
  3. Disclosure– unauthorized access to data, or disclosure of data through data sniffing technique.
  4. Removal– loss of an asset in the form of information theft, or stolen device.
  5. Interruption– inaccessible network and denial of service.

Cover image by Cottonbro studio/Pexels

Ayesha
Ayesha
I engineer the content and acquaint the science of analytics to empower rookies and professionals.
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2023 is the year of Cyber Security in Pakistan; here’s your chance to join-in

Three factors create an ideal scenario for cyber security professionals in Pakistan. To begin with, there’s a concrete policy and legislative framework by the government that empowers cyber security workforce and businesses. In addition, a dedicated national center for cyber security works in R&D leading to startups and international publications. Further, the devastating scenario of cyber crimes in Pakistan pushes all organizations to establish innovative protection programs. 

This is the time for aspiring individuals and professionals to progress in the cyber security career. We present in this article, the key drivers of cyber security ecosystem in Pakistan as well as the diversity in skill set of a security specialist. Your frequently asked questions are also answered at the last.

Table of contents

Current cyberspace of Pakistan & challenges

Government actions for a secure cyberspace in Pakistan

Key Drivers: Scope of Cyber Security in Pakistan

Skills required to become a cyber security specialist

Can you learn Cyber Security in 2 months?

FAQs

The virulent cyber security space of Pakistan:

There’s a lot of turbulence in the current cyberspace of Pakistan. Almost all industries faced data theft and lost sensitive consumer data to attackers. This data existed in the form of bank account information, location history, tax and legal case records, and government officials phone calls. And ironically, attackers were able to get the above data from the top rated organizations like Careem, FBR, Sindh high court, Meezan bank, and K-electric to name some. 

Not to forget how the hackers got into the most protected area, the Prime Minister’s house, stole sensitive phone call data of Pakistan’s premier and some political leaders, leaked via dark web and demanded $3.45 million in exchange. 

Is it so easy for hackers to get into any computer system? 

No, it’s not easy for any hacker to dig in and control any digital system when security is in place. However, the vulnerabilities make it super easy for cybercriminals to enter and exploit digital systems. 

But for Pakistan, ensuring a secure cyberspace is not an easy task. 

To begin with, a complete absence of an indigenous national ICT and Cyber Security industry is leading Pakistani consumers to buy and use imported electronic equipment and software products that continuously pose security threats to its users.

In addition, the country lacks concrete national security standards and accreditation systems that could protect its citizens from hackers stealing away their sensitive data.

As a result hackers use embedded malwares, backdoors, and chipsets to liberally get their hands on whatever industry they pick.

Has Pakistan taken any remarkable steps?

A policy framework is in place

Pakistan’s IT and Telecommunications ministry put forth its first cyber security policy in 2021. The policy is well-thought and concrete taking under its scope the data processing, transfer, storage, and management. It presents a framework to protect digital systems through developing standardized security measures. 

The following notes provide the idea of policy objectives for enabling a protected cyberspace. 

  1. Building a dedicated information sharing mechanism for the protection of national ICT systems.
  1. Creating concrete and thorough national security standards to accreditate third party communication systems.
  1. Providing support and systems to organizations dealing with online citizen data.
  1. Establishing public-private collaboration and sharing operational and technical expertise.
  1. Training and upskilling aspiring cyber security professionals in Pakistan through capacity building and training programs.
  1. Taking legal action against the misconduct of cyber security requirements.

Upskilling youth, supporting startups, businesses and R&D:

The Government of Pakistan formed a dedicated institute called the National Center for Cyber Security NCCS in 2018 whose primary job is to address the growing concerns regarding increasing demand for human capital, R&D resources, and a startup ecosystem.

To address these issues, the NCCS funded the formation of 12 research labs in the public and private institutes across the country. 

R&D: With the creation of specialized labs (see Table 1) NCCS creates a sustainable supply of PhDs and MS qualified experts who drive the R&D in cybersecurity with publishing internationally acclaimed research projects.

Startups: Since 2018, a number of impressive products and prototypes have emerged from NCCS affiliated labs. These led to the milestone launch of the following startups: ThingzEye Pvt Ltd, PKICHAIN, Lynx Information Security Pvt Ltd, Tri-C Tech Pvt Ltd, and Cyber Droid Pvt Ltd.  

Sr. no Institute name Research Lab
1 Air University Islamabad National Cybercrime and Forensics Lab
2 Bahria University Islamabad Cyber Reconnaissance and Combat (CRC) Lab
3 Air University Islamabad Devices and Network Security Lab
4 LUMS Lahore Internet Security and Privacy Lab
5 NED Karachi Internet Security and Quantum Technology Lab
6 NUST Islamabad Security Auditing and Evaluation Lab
7 UET Lahore Internet of Things (IoT) Security Lab
8 University of Peshawar Innovative Secured Systems Lab
9 UET Taxila Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) Lab
10 UET Peshawar Innovative Secured Systems Lab
11 PIEAS Islamabad Critical Infrastructure Protection & Malware Analysis
12 ITU Lahore Blockchain Security Lab
List of NCCS affiliated Cyber security research labs

Upskilling: These specialized cyber security labs regularly organize well-planned workshops and training programs over hi-tech cyber security skills such as the latest hacking techniques, vulnerability assessment and penetration methods.  

Business partnership: Under the MoITT’s national policy for cyber security, the government aims to collaborate with private cyber security groups and organizations to seek cyber defense and monitoring of national assets.

Scope of cyber security in Pakistan– is cyber security a good career?

  • As per a survey, in 2021, there were only 4.19 million cybersecurity specialists worldwide. However, a massive more of 2.72 million cyber security professionals were required. Occupying this global supply-demand gap still remains a challenge. In Pakistan, the cyber security degree programs and short courses have just recently emerged in 2018. There’s an obvious lack of trend in cyber security specialization. 
  • Gradually, cyber security is picking up pace in Pakistan since there’s a woeful record of national institutions and private businesses being attacked by hackers. Hence now it becomes inevitable for the public and private sectors to set up teams and establish a cyber security program. 
  • Alongside this, the headlines of hackers stealing away consumer data creates much needed privacy awareness among the public. As a result, consumers are now prefer buying services from companies who ensure trustability via a reliable security policy.
  • Another positive take on the scope of cyber security in Pakistan is that it plays an integral role in every possible industry. Whether belonging to the IT industry or not, every organization is undergoing digital transformation and to protect the digital infrastructure and services, they require foolproof security against threats. This includes arranging for mechanisms to manage access identities, protecting infrastructure and services, and detecting and mitigating threats. 
  • Specifically for the IT service providers- such as software companies, telecommunications and cloud service providers, the organizations are required to add rigorous security measures (at the service and application layer) that can help mitigate data threats for their clients. 
  • In 2023, the demand for cyber security professionals in Pakistan is also expected to increase because current cyberspace lacks intelligent theft investigation skills. Thus organizations now seek innovative procedures by cyber security experts who can help them meet their security objectives.

Now is the time to nurture the cyber security expert in you and use your technical wit to create an enduring value for organizations.

What are the skills required to become a Cybersecurity Expert?

There are a vast number of options available for aspiring cyber security experts to opt for depending on their interest. Some of them are compulsory to have while others can help secure specialized cyber security roles. 

The top skills for a cyber security expert are validated from the latest job advertisements. These are presented as follows.

Networking and System Administration

A network is a set of computing devices connected to each other. They are the main component carrying information from one node to the other. Understanding of how data packets are created, transmitted, and received is pertinent for cybersecurity professionals so that they can spot the problem, and then figure out a solution.

Cisco CCNA or Huawei HCNA– the basic level networking certifications, is an adequate way to earn credibility in networking skills.

Another valuable addition in your cyber security skill set is a command on system administration. Hackers exploit computer systems at the infrastructure level, by changing system configuration for example. A cyber security specialist quickly discovers underlying data corruption if they are knowledgeable of all relevant computer configuration and settings. They have a grip on the command line interface– CLI, know the steps to set up any control, and understand the functionality of computer working.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking is the art of finding vulnerabilities in a network, computing node, or a software, with the intention to protect against malicious attackers. Hacking techniques include, for example, malwares, SQL injection (SQLi), OS command injection, cross site scripting (XSS) attack, session hijacking, and denial of service (DOS) attack.

A strong grip on hacking techniques is a must have skill. As an ethical hacker, it becomes easy for a cyber security specialist to arrange for protection measures in advance. Moreover, they can quickly detect an attack and immediately take countermeasures to provide defense and protect the system from the threats.

Kali Linux is a platform that helps anyone to identify security loopholes in systems. An excellent hands-on ability in Kali Linux is a solid skill for cyber security professionals that guarantees career success. 

A 2-months live, online course at Dice Analytics covers the above common hacking attacks using 8 tools including Kali Linux. View the course.

Knowledge of Operating Systems and Virtual Machines

Operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and iOS have different configuration environments. A cyber security specialist must have strong hands-on practice over each system. Moreover, as virtual machines are commonly used for the purpose of running multiple OSs over a single physical machine, it becomes important for cyber security experts to understand and know operation controls of virtual machines.

An example of using VM could be when installing Kali Linux. It’s an OS that is used by security administrators to identify system vulnerabilities and is required to run on a physical machine through virtualization.

Network Security Control

An organization providing digital services to their customers need network security control procedures. Security is a continuous living process that ensures people, network and information are protected as required by a business to perform day-to-day operations.

Knowing network security controls is a core skill for cyber security specialists. It comes under a framework (such as X.805) that enables security administrators to identify and analyze threats and find vulnerabilities in assets. Thus each asset undergoes an analysis stage, and countermeasures are identified to remove the vulnerabilities. You need to have an in-depth understanding of the security analysis process that starts with asset identification, and followed by threat analysis, vulnerability analysis and countermeasures and recommendations.

Cloud Security

As cloud platforms are increasingly adopted by large organizations– making it cost effective to flexibly scale computing resources as required, protecting data on the cloud thus becomes an integral part of organizational working. 

The job of a cloud security specialist, who’s a cyber security professional, is to establish a security program, including managing identities and permissions, protecting data and infrastructure, identifying and mitigating threats, and showing compliance. Though cloud offers automated tasks in each of the above areas, a cloud security specialist manages and oversees these operations. They use cloud security tools to check for example, where the data is located, who access the data and when, where data is moving, encryption status, and whether the data is prone to vulnerabilities.

To become a cloud security specialist, you must understand, besides networking, network security, and ethical hacking, the vendor specific cloud services and tools such as Azure, GPC and AWS.

IoT

Just as a security administrator protects a computer network, securing IoT networks works in a similar manner. There are IoT devices that use sensors to collect data and share this information with other non-IoT devices in the network or the cloud for analysis. A response is received by the IoT device that commands it to act in a certain way.

As a cyber security specialist in IoT networks, you’ll have to demonstrate an excellent understanding of ethical hacking concepts, IoT device working, the IoT network infrastructure, vulnerabilities in IoT devices and penetration testing on IoT devices.

Coding

There are chances you wouldn’t have to apply coding in your cyber security job role. However, learning coding can bring better career prospects your way since some of the most common cyber attacks take place via web apps. Further, languages such as Python allow security experts to powerfully automate their tasks and perform other valuable work. 

  1. SQL: Hackers use SQL injection attack– SQLi to manipulate data in a database. They inject a SQL query in the form of a user input that presents threat of any severity. As a cyber security specialist, you would perform SQL to fix any vulnerabilities found as user input is processed by a database. 
  1. PHP: Most websites are created using PHP, but at the same time these websites have weak security controls making them more vulnerable to SQLi attacks. Knowing PHP thus helps improve the design of web applications based on security controls.
  1. JavaScript: Cross site scripting– XSS attacks commonly take place using JavaScript code. Hackers can modify the web app code and capture critical information such as user keystrokes, cookie information, redirecting users to a malicious website, or crashing the web browser. To prevent this, a security specialist takes measures through modifying JavaScript code of the web application. 
  1. Python: Cyber security experts use the high level programming language, Python to, for example write scripts and automate processes, scan networks for vulnerabilities, perform encryption, and guess insecure passwords.

Also remember here that for cloud based web applications– SaaS apps, cyber security specialists validate protection mechanisms in any of the app languages such as Javascript, PHP, SQL and Python.

Other programming languages for cyber security include: C/C++, HTML, Go Lang, Assembly Language. 

Can you learn Cyber Security in just 2 months?

Yes, a short course of 2 months duration can seamlessly divide the core cyber security and ethical hacking concepts among the 8-week timeline. Instructed by an industry expert, it becomes surprisingly simple to learn the complex security functions as they focus on what works and enable an intuitive experience. 

Become a security professional with Dice Analytics’ complete course on Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking. This course is an online, live and industry expert led training session that focuses on core hacking skills in 8 weeks duration.

The course thoroughly covers hands-on practice over 8 latest tools. View the course details

Why take this course: Learn to build tightly secure information systems for any organization and outperform malicious hackers through a proactive approach. Apart from learning to defend, you would also become capable of detecting and mitigating malicious attacks.  

What will you learn: In compliance with the Certified Ethical Hacker– CEH v11, the course incorporates the latest hacking techniques and the most advanced hacking tools and exploits. View the course outline.

FAQs

What exactly is cyber security?

Cyber security is a discipline that creates ways of defending devices and services against electronic attacks by malicious actors such as hackers, spammers, and cybercriminals. These systems require security controls and may belong to one or more areas such as networking, operating systems, software development, cloud computing, IoT, block chain, and AI and ML.

Why is cyber security important? 

As digital technology creates unprecedented opportunities to perform tasks, the protection of individuals and organizations from electronic attacks is important more than ever. Moreover, as the governing bodies (such as EU, USA, and the UK) are ramping up legislation of consumer data protection, the demand for secure services is growing. Citizens on the other hand prefer taking services from companies that comply with these general data protection guidelines. 

Thus, organizations are looking for cyber security solutions to sustain their brand image and improve customer satisfaction.

Is cyber security hard to learn?

No, cyber security is not hard to learn when approached in the right way. 

There are a vast number of online courses that are designed keeping in mind ‘what can work’ instead of digging deeper into technology working. At Dice Analytics, an industry expert covers all core concepts in the cyber security and ethical hacking training in just 8 weeks duration. The instructor keeps the lectures intuitive and interactive involving all learners in the discussion.    

How long is learning cyber security?

Cyber security learning takes between 2 months to 2-4 years, depending on the program of enrolment. A short training course on cyber security and ethical hacking– led by an industry professional– covers all the main concepts offering you to build a strong foundation and polish your hands-on ability. It’s affordable, a good option when you have limited time, and prepares you to kick-start your career right away. 

Then comes the two year or four year programs in the form of MS and PhD degrees. These programs focus on research and development and offer an in-depth learning of the cyber security concepts and practices. This is a good option when you want to launch your own product in the market, or simply move to academia for a teaching profession. 

What are some common types of cyber security attacks?

The most common type of cyberattacks used by hackers are listed as:

  • Malware- any kind of software that intends to damage users through controlling their device. A malware lands at a user device when the user clicks on untrusted links, uses an unprotected website, or downloads seemingly harmless documents. 
  • SQL injection (SQLi)– a website that misses on some security aspects allows anyone to execute SQL code– via the unvalidated input fields of the website– offering access to its database. 
  • OS command injection– just like SQLi attack, a hacker uses a web application with insufficient input validation to inject an arbitrary command into the OS of the host web server. Hackers can thus control the web server and the damage is bound by their imagination.
  • Cross site scripting (XSS) attack– In XSS attack, a hacker runs a script on a web application that too has limited input validation as in the case of SQLi and OS command injection attacks. Hackers are able to modify the web application and track users’ information as a result.
  • Session hijacking– Different methods allow hackers to hijack or control the web session of a user. This includes using packet sniffing to read packet data of users and steal their personal information and passwords. One form of session hijacking are the malware attacks.
  • Denial of service (DOS) attack– as the name suggests, a denial of service attack intends to shutdown a device, or a complete network. A successful session hijacking allows hackers to initiate a DOS attack.  

What are types of cyber security threats?

The ITU-T X.800 framework is a security standard defined by ITU for threat assessment in networking and classifies cyber security threats to be of 5 types.

  1. Destruction– malicious destruction of information or infrastructure.
  2. Corruption– change in information or system configuration.
  3. Disclosure– unauthorized access to data, or disclosure of data through data sniffing technique.
  4. Removal– loss of an asset in the form of information theft, or stolen device.
  5. Interruption– inaccessible network and denial of service.

Cover image by Cottonbro studio/Pexels

Ayesha
Ayesha
I engineer the content and acquaint the science of analytics to empower rookies and professionals.
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