Cyber Security Career Options From Solo Contracts To Enterprise Business

Cyber security has grown from being a specialty or collateral duty of security-minded system administrators to its own field. From tracking down the source of viruses to protecting businesses from tricky social engineering, there are many paths to walk either as a specialist or a well-rounded bastion of secure technology. Here are a few individual career angles that borrow from specific cyber security aspects to help you find your way in the industry.

Malware Research And Defense

Probably the most well-known function of cyber security experts involves defending the world against computer viruses, but there are so many different parts to just that specific angle of cyber security.

The general public knows virus protection via anti-virus and virus removal software. The most well-know cyber security job in this case involves removing viruses and protecting computers from similar, common threats in a process called hardening.

Malicious software--known as malware--is a constantly changing industry in its own right. Defending against malware will always be a game of catch up, but for the past few years, most of the work involves incremental changes based on similar viruses and other threats. Security experts both dread and live for truly original threats.

Waiting at the edge of the security frontier is the next step up for anti-malware professionals. They don't just react to threats when a customer's systems are compromised; it's a malware expert's job and passion to hunt across the internet for virus research, small pockets of hackers who test incomplete versions of their dangerous cyber weapons, and exploits in existing technology that could be exploited.

Anti-Phishing Protection

Confidence scams, imposters, and flat out lies are the realm of phishing. Phishing is a slang term that became official--just like spam for unwanted emails and other content--and involves tricking people into opening up their systems based on a lie.

Sometimes it's an email pretending to be a coworker, or a fake vendor asking you to open up a virus that looks like a bill. Phishing isn't just done in the digital world; a good way to get into a business is to have a good, technical voice and knowledge about the business in order to get information over the phone. Some people are less capable at finding scams over the phone.

As an anti-phishing professional, it's your job to defend the business from scams. It's a slightly odd arrangement, since you can't be accountable for every mistake that other employees make; if people don't listen to your advice, it's not your fault. You do, however, need to have a knack for explaining how a scam happened and how to avoid it.

In addition to creating training materials, you'll be asked to check certain items for legitimacy. You shouldn't be checking every single item that comes through emails, faxes, and calls, but there are times when clever tricks make it through.

On the research side, you may need to assist law enforcement or be a detective who tries to figure out where these scammers are coming from. In some cases, it's just random phishing attempts. If it's a concerted effort from a specific business adversary or obsessed hacker, you need to find the patters.

Contact a cyber security careers professional to figure out which positions are in demand, and to understand what jobs fit your personality.