Cyber Security Professionals – Necessities In The 21st-Century Computing Environment

The vast network of cyber-space presents – or, can harbor — major threats to the security of personal computers; LAN and WAN networks; and wireless Internet networks. Trained computer networking specialists who are experts in cyber-security are needed to secure networks and computer systems for effective data storage and retrieval. Just as importantly, they are needed to secure the privacy and integrity of personal and corporate identities. These professionals can find work in private firms, in consulting, or at the state and federal government levels. Most individuals complete at least a bachelor’s degree before working in the cybersecurity consulting field.

Hackers pose special threats to computer network security. These technology and networking experts use their insider information to grant themselves access to computer networks, without permission. Our modern computing environment is an open one, and individuals with systems and software knowledge – or, even, persons with the gumption to steal data or computing devices – can easily get their hands on very sensitive information.

Much information should be kept private, and serious damage can ensue if this information falls into the hands of hackers. One of the greatest risks to business computer and personal computer users who are working on unsecured networks is identity theft. A cyber-thief can use a personal or company address; financial and credit card information; or even a personal social security number to steal money from individual or corporate accounts. This is a serious crime – one with far-reaching consequences, including ruined credit records — and increasingly easy to commit in today’s open-computing, technology-heavy environment. Cyber-security professionals who are adept at designing secure, hack-proof information systems and networks are needed to win the fight against identity theft.

Spyware and viruses pose another threat to the integrity and security of computer data. Spyware is installed on a computer without the user knowing, and can collect personal data or interfere with computer applications or run-time. Viruses are computer programs that replicate themselves to infect the machines, often damaging files or even hard drives in the process. There now exist several types of anti-virus and anti-spyware software that can be installed on a personal computer or on networked office computers for low or no cost. Security professionals on IT repair teams might be trained in the use of this software. Some professionals might provide security consulting services to businesses and individuals, as well.

Skilled cyber-security professionals also know how to install and maintain firewalls. These pieces of software or computer appliances are security devices that monitor activity between networks – usually, networks with different levels of security and access. Firewalls might restrict permissions to various Internet activities or Web sites. The level of security firewalls provide on large business networks can be changed or altered by security administrators. There exist many types of firewalls, including network layers and proxy servers. Understanding what each type of firewall does, and when it should be applied are main responsibilities of a cyber-security student; typically, he or she will take several classes about firewalls to complete a network security degree.

Design and evaluation of secure computer network systems are special skills, in which cyber-security information systems professionals must be proficient. Secure network architecture is imperative in preventing hacking and threats to information integrity. Some cyber security professionals will be employed as business consultants, routinely evaluating system security software, and creating and testing secure network systems.



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