If you’re online, cyber security has a direct impact on your life. And with rapid innovations taking place across information technology (IT), cyberspace, and the devices we use on a daily basis, it’s more relevant now than ever. Looking to the future of cyber security, increasing automation is connecting our lives and storing vast amounts of our sensitive data in the cloud. As a result, knowledgeable cyber security professionals who can respond to a complex digital ecosystem are in demand.
In the last several years, high-profile attacks have exposed weaknesses in the current cyber security landscape, pointing to opportunities for improvement. Cyber criminals have illegally accessed billions of records, according to Bloomberg, and the compromised data includes emails, passwords, and financial information. Technology companies, banks, and healthcare providers have been among the businesses targeted by such attacks.
As the frequency of cyber attacks increases, so does the importance of the many professionals who have online degrees in cyber security and related fields. These valued computer scientists protect the safety, security, and privacy of individuals and businesses worldwide. If you choose a career in this field, you’ll be responsible for alleviating cyber security weaknesses with smart, proactive solutions that protect client information and respond to threats.
Today’s Cyber Security Threats
As new threats develop in today’s tech-rich world, trends in cyber security respond to shifting needs. Some of the most common threats include malware and device attacks.
Malware is a broad category of cyber attack that, at its simplest, refers to any software that carries out predatory threats. It tends to run in the background of unauthorized programs and includes several types of attacks. For example, ransomware will target or disable a device until the user pays a monetary ransom. Cryptojacking, another type of malware, uses code to hijack business systems in order to mine for cryptocurrency.
Phishing scams are also popular cyber attacks. In this instance, a scammer contacts an unsuspecting individual or company before attempting to gather sensitive data from the target. This often happens via email, but it can also occur over the phone, through text message, or via social media applications.
With the rise of smart technology, from smart container ships to smart homes and security cameras, the public is taking cyber vulnerabilities more seriously. Because some nation-states are also inciting attacks using state-backed hackers, posing a burgeoning menace to corporations and governments, the United States government seeks to educate private citizens on how they can protect their information while creating a strategy within the Department of Defense specifically to address attacks.
Criminals continue to seek new ways to compromise information, and their attacks are influencing the course of cyber security; future professionals are increasingly needed and must remain informed, flexible, proactive, and creative in responding to threats.
Trends in Cyber Security
Cyber security has remained a hot topic across industries and in the media — and with good reason. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, for example, the last several years have seen a marked increase in data breaches. How professionals in the field respond to cyber crime, apply advanced technologies, and use the law to protect their constituents’ information is driving the future of cyber security.
While hackers leverage automation and machine learning to mount their attacks from anywhere in the world, cyber security specialists are also using these advanced algorithms and technologies to prevent breaches before they happen. Professionals can protect information by correlating data on threats, automating defenses that act faster than viruses, and detecting threats already present in a system.
More directly shaping cyber security’s future is policy. New data privacy regulations — which cyber security professionals are responsible for implementing and adhering to — are taking shape on a national and state level. These laws manage the collection, use, retention, and disposal of personal information. They create vital protocols for organizations to follow, especially those in industries collecting sensitive information, such as healthcare and finance. Cyber security professionals apply technology, knowledge, and skills to ensure their organizations adhere to these policies, mitigating risk for individuals and businesses.
In response to trends in cyber security, there’s a growing need for trained professionals in the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 28% growth between 2016 and 2026 for information security analysts, who safeguard the data of their companies. This is significantly higher than the 7% average growth the BLS predicts for all jobs.
Essential Skills for the Future of Cyber Security
Cyber security is rapidly changing as a professional discipline — and that’s part of what keeps the field so dynamic and exciting. Motivated professionals founded the field on their ability to adapt to evolving threats in real time, as well as to anticipate them before they create dire security breaches.
In the modern job market, cyber security professionals need essential, traditional skills such as critical thinking, communication, and advanced problem-solving, which form the backbone of their day-to-day work. Training employees on security basics, writing protocols, and developing action plans are required tasks in this position. Dovetailing with these abilities are technical skills in the study of computer science and information technology at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Professional experience and a knowledge of best practices and government regulations also benefit those seeking to advance in their careers.
Looking toward the future of cyber security as a professional track, students would be wise to stay attuned to advancements in the field. Special knowledge of network architecture, programming, coding, mathematics, risk analysis, and risk mitigation are all core skills.
Learn More About the Future of Cyber Security
As new trends in cyber security develop, a strong educational background that emphasizes creativity, core skills, and attention to evolving concerns will be vital for success. At Maryville University, online computer science degrees offer students the opportunity to develop their abilities as cyber security specialists who respond to threats, create tactics to safeguard information, and become invaluable to the organizations and people they serve. Apply to Maryville and begin your cyber security or computer science career on strong footing today.