What is Cyber-security?
“Increasingly we are relying on the internet for our day to day lives, things like our cars are becoming connected, and even fridges are becoming connected, so we are connecting together and connecting to the internet all the time. However, we need to protect all the information we put on there and how we operate on-line” Helen L, National Cyber-security Centre, GCHQ
Cyber-security refers to the technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. Attacks can be at an individual personal level or right up to National State level. They are usually aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying sensitive information; extorting money from users; or interrupting normal business processes. Cyber-security is important because government, military, corporate, financial, and medical organizations collect, process, and store unprecedented amounts of sensitive data on computers and other devices.
Cyber-security is a fast growing career field with an estimated 1 million unfilled cyber-security jobs worldwide. Women only make up 11% of the current cyber-security workforce, according to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study. With the significant rise of daily cyber threats and attacks, this is a significant opportunity for women to enter the field given the severe labor shortages and under-representation of women. Cyber-security is no longer just a technology issue, it is a business one too. Women are welcome from different career sectors and diverse backgrounds.
According to the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC), quoted in Forbes,
“50% of professional occupations in the U.S. are held by women, and …… 25% of computing occupations in the U.S. are held by women. That leaves tremendous headroom for women to enter the fast-growing cyber-security market, which is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020."
Job roles in Cyber-security:
- Security Analyst
- Security Architect
- Security Engineer
- Security Administrator
- Security Consultant
- Chief Information Security Officer
Common types of cyber-security threats:
Ransomware - a type of malicious software designed to extort money by blocking access to files or a computer system until the ransom is paid.
Malware - a type of software designed to gain unauthorized access or to cause damage to a computer system.
Social engineering - a tactic that is used to trick users into revealing sensitive information. They can solicit a monetary payment or gain access to your confidential data. Social engineering can be combined with any of the threats listed above to make you more likely to click on links, download malware, or trust a malicious source.
Phishing – attackers send fraudulent emails or text or copycat websites from reputable sources. The aim is to steal valuable personal information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, account numbers and login IDs and passwords. It’s the most common type of cyber-attack.
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Recruiting and Retaining More Women in Cybersecurity
November 29, 2019: The cybersecurity industry is facing a serious numbers problem as too many jobs go unfilled. A recent ESG study found that more than half of companies surveyed (53 percent) reported a significant shortage of cybersecurity skills within their organizations, and 63 percent of organizations aren’t able to provide adequate training for their cybersecurity professionals. While these numbers are alarming, one has to wonder: What if many of the industry’s most troubling issues could be improved with more women in cybersecurity?
Women in Cybersecurity: Where We Are and Where We’re Going
September 25, 2019: An opinion piece in Scientific American discusses strategies for increasing the number of women in the burgeoning, male-dominated field of cybersecurity.