If you work in an industry where data security and cyber attacks are ever-present concerns, you may be wondering what exactly cyber security professionals do all day. Many people think they have the job all figured out, but they’re only partially right. While one part of your job might involve trying to track down the source of an attack, another may involve consulting with other team members to protect against future intrusions from the same source. Here’s how each part of your day can vary depending on where you work and what kind of company you’re protecting. Hack Yourself First Before others can hack you. What exactly do cyber security do? What do cyber security do all day? Is Cyber Security hard? Is cyber security a good career?
Identify the Risk
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The first step in any cyber security strategy is to evaluate and assess your company’s risk factors. What are some of your company’s most valuable assets, what kind of information is stored on your systems, who might want access to that information, how would they use it against you if they did gain access, and what can you do about it? Take stock of not only tangible things like physical or financial assets but also intangible ones like trade secrets or intellectual property. What percentage of your network traffic goes through firewalls already? Are you encrypting sensitive data at rest or in transit over any channels outside your internal network (i.e., email, file transfer)?
Control your Digital Footprint
The next thing you can do to practice security is a little more technical, but still totally manageable. Use what’s called two-factor authentication on all of your important accounts. That means instead of logging in with just a password, users must log in using two different factors—like a password and a randomly generated number that changes every 30 seconds or so.
It’ll protect you from phishing scams as well as attempts to hijack your account by hackers. You can also use third-party apps like Google Authenticator for added protection when signing into new devices or services that use email addresses as logins (i.e., Twitter and Facebook).
Keep Up to Date with New Technology
There are always new tools and technologies in cyber security to learn about. With so many threats, from ransomware to zero-day vulnerabilities, there’s always a new threat or technique worth knowing about. Cybersecurity threats and attacks are constantly evolving. You may know how to deal with a certain type of attack that has been used for years on end, but if you don’t keep up to date on what’s coming next and how it can be countered, you could quickly fall behind in a very dangerous field of work.
Beware of Scams
There are a lot of people out there looking to take advantage of small business owners. In fact, it’s estimated that companies in North America lose $4.5 billion annually due to internet-based fraud . Making sure you and your employees avoid being scammed should be an essential part of your cyber security strategy, even if it seems like a large undertaking. Keep your business safe from scams by making sure employees have access to top notch training materials and regularly test for vulnerabilities in order to identify any possible problems early on. You’ll be glad you did!
Secure your Wi-Fi at Home
You don’t need to be a computer expert to secure your Wi-Fi. Use WPA or WPA2 encryption, keep your password safe and change it regularly. You should also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service such as TorGuard, which encrypts all your data when you connect to public Wi-Fi networks like those at coffee shops and airports. VPNs create an encrypted connection between you and a server somewhere on the internet, making it much harder for hackers to steal sensitive information from you. Of course, not all public Wi-Fi is dangerous; I used it myself at recent NOLA conference without any problems. But then again, I was using TorGuard!
Use Different Passwords for Each Site
This is a good first step to help protect yourself from someone who has breached one of your accounts and is trying to access other sites. Have different passwords for all of your important accounts—not just email and bank accounts, but any sites that might contain sensitive data or provide a means for hackers to get into other parts of your digital life. If you use words from Thesaurus in your passwords, it’ll be harder for others to guess; if you have certain patterns, hackers can crack them (e.g., password1). Additionally, make sure that any password manager you use stores encrypted data locally on your computer rather than on a server in case it gets hacked too.