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The Significance of Cybersecurity

August 27, 2018

This week, I am concluding this series on important dimensions of IT. I chose to finish this series on a pressing issue of cybercrime, which is a significant problem with the global cost estimated at $600 billion annually. This is a troublesome figure that corresponds to 0.8 percent of the global GDP. The foil to cybercrime is cybersecurity—the protection of internet-connected systems including hardware, software and data from cyberattacks. Let me discuss in more detail.
According to the FBI, cybercrimes are attacks by criminals, foreign adversaries and terrorists. The threat is incredibly serious and growing. For a detailed look at cyber crime statistics, see "21 Terrifying Cyber Crime Statistics." Cyberinteractions are becoming more routine, dangerous and sophisticated. Offenders target infrastructure, including both private and public sector networks. Companies are targeted for trade secrets and other sensitive corporate data, and universities are targeted for their innovative research and development. Recently, I was at a conference in New York, and while attending a session on security operations, I had a chance to experience the continuous cyberattacks attempts happening on the university network and servers. Security workers see this every day but it was a shock for the rest of us to experience this during a brief conference presentation. 
The FBI also explains that, “Citizens are targeted by fraudsters and identity thieves, and children are targeted by online predators. Just as the FBI transformed itself to better address the terrorist threat after the 9/11 attacks, it is undertaking a similar transformation to address the pervasive and evolving cyberthreat. This means enhancing the Cyber Division’s investigative capacity to sharpen its focus on intrusions into government and private computer networks.”
Cybersecurity Education  
It’s difficult to know where to start to look—who should you trust? A helpful place to start exploring is the National Initiative for Cyber Security Careers and Studies, which has a useful education and training catalog. This catalog is a central location where cybersecurity professionals across the nation can find more than 3,000 cybersecurity-related courses. All of the courses are aligned to the specialty areas of the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. Another program to examine is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, whose mission is to “energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training and workforce development.”
Universities are helping to educate professions through certificate programs and Bachelor of Science degrees like those at Marist and many other universities. Although cybersecurity is getting a lot of attention, it doesn’t stand alone. In computing, security includes cybersecurity and physical security. There’s also information security, sometimes called InfoSec, which is intended to maintain the privacy, reliability and availability of data. 
Cybersecurity Jobs
A simple search on for “IT cybersecurity jobs” results in a huge number of available jobs (about 13,000 in my example) reflecting the size of the challenge and the limited number of skilled individuals. The average salary is roughly $106,000, as shown in the figure below. 

The different job titles reflect the different scope of the careers like cybersecurity penetration tester or network security engineer. The range of experience required is wide, from cybersecurity intern to chief security officer. The greatest numbers of jobs are available for mid level experience professionals but entry level- and senior-level jobs combined are approximately 72 percent as large at the number of mid-level jobs. 
The Battle of Cybersecurity Versus Cybercrime
In April, the 2018 RSA Conference was held in San Francisco. At two separate panels, law and cybersecurity experts seemed to reach a consensus: “Everyone everywhere is lagging behind when it comes to defending against cyberthreats. Everyone”. What can we do as individuals? Consider these seven tips:
  1. Maintain a clean machine.
  2. Have long, strong, unique passwords.
  3. Avoid social engineering.
  4. Censor yourself on social networks.
  5. Use secure websites.
  6. Back up your files.
  7. Isolate financials.
It’s time that all IT professionals take some time to reflect on the topic of cybercrime and cybersecurity and ask themselves the question—what can I do to help?

Posted August 27, 2018| Permalink

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