How to: Get Started with Cyber Security

Ethical Hacking, Cryptography, Network Analysis and Penetration Testing are some of the hot topics that have been around the digital space for quite some time now. Therefore, today we will be looking at the whole cyber space and giving away a few tips on how to get started with Cyber Security.

Cyber Security: The “What”

From Multi-National Companies to Startups to a single digital being on the internet, everyone has their personal data stored on multiple devices or platforms. This data, most of the times, is confidential in nature and hence comes the need of Cyber Security. Cyber Security is the protection of personal data, computer networks, systems, hardware and software through implementation of Policies, Rules, Regulations, Physical Security and Breach Prevention software.

Cyber Security: The “Why”

According to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)² Cybersecurity workforce study, the total skilled personnel needed to cover the skill gap is estimated to be around 4 million. Also, the field is highly rewarding for the worthy. As per PayScale, the average salary for a Cyber Security Analyst is $76,603 and can go up to $200,000 for experienced professionals working as Senior Cyber Security Engineers.

Cyber Security: The “How”

Cyber Security, being a “hot topic”, attracts many people from different fields, but knowing how to get started can be challenging. Here are some of our recommendations on how to get started:

Networking Basics

Before securing something, we need to have a basic understanding of what we are going to protect. Some basic concepts of networking like Firewalls, TCP, UDP, Routing, IP etc. are a must to have under your belt. Mastery in these subjects can be gained through Udemy and YouTube. After getting a hang of the networking basics, you can prepare and appear for Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) or CompTIA Network+ to get accredited.

Programming

It is always recommended to start learning with an object-oriented language. Followed by a high-level and user-friendly programming language like python, the learner get a lot of exposure to wide variety of libraries and extensions offered by the community. The art of writing advanced scripts and automating tasks and can come in handy when moving up the ladder of Cyber Security. Languages like JavaScript and PHP are also crucial in web-based security sector of the field.

Introduction to Security

After learning the basics of networking and programming, the next step forward is learning the basics of Cyber Security. Some introductory courses like Introduction to Cyber Security by NYU or Introduction to Cyber Security and Risk Management by University of California on Coursera gives a critical head start in knowing the basics of the field. Following the introduction, a certification like CompTIA Security+ can be acquired through more learning on the platform.

Hands-On Training

It’s time to get our hands dirty. Start by learning Linux through gamified platforms like OverTheWire. Next up, start doing “easy”/ “information” level rooms on TryHackMe. Some rooms on HackTheBox can also be complemented along with increasing difficulty levels on TryHackMe. Training on these platforms can prove to be extremely beneficial for beginners as well as seasoned professionals due to the constant introduction and learning of the latest topics and refresher on the basics. Although, these training are quite enough to get someone started, some Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions should also not be overlooked. These not only help people expand their learning horizons but also give a competitive spirit and some prizes for the winners as well. To track live CTFs or to sign up for new ones, this website might be of great help.

All the trainings suggested above were basics on “How to Get Started”. However, Cyber Security is a huge domain in itself. There are a great many profiles working under the domain such as Web Application Security Architect, SOC Analyst, Penetration Tester, Information Security Manager, Chief Information Security Officer, etc..

Getting certified will not only help a beginner launch his/her career in the field but also prove their worth to the employer. With enough hands-on training and theoretical knowledge, you can attempt some advance level certifications such as:

  • TCM Security’s Practical Network Penetration Tester (PNPT)
  • eLearn Security’s eJPT
  • EC-Council’s CEH
  • OSCP

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