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#1 michellembeach  Icon User is offline

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Question for Those in Cyber Security

Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:08 AM

Hi there -
I am currently pursuing a degree in CS and I already have a BS in Criminal Justice (CRJU). My university offers a CS degree with an "applications" concentration. One of the concentrations is Criminal Justice. Sooo...I was thinking about going in the direction of cyber security so I don't feel like I've wasted my CRJU degree. With all of the hackings and security breaches we've been hearing about (most recently, Target), I'm thinking this could be a good option. I'm wondering if anyone working in this field could give me some advice. What do you do on a day-to-day basis? Do you like what you do? Do you telecommute or do you work in a cubicle everyday? Basically, I'd like a run down of exactly what you do and and idea of how hard it is to get my foot in the door. Thanks in advance for any advice/pointers! :)

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Replies To: Question for Those in Cyber Security

#2 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Question for Those in Cyber Security

Posted 19 December 2013 - 03:17 PM

Cyber Security... sounds too buzz wordy. Perhaps IT Security or, more specifically, Network Security.

I like to program, it makes me happy. But my best bud at work is the security guy and I know what he does pretty well.

First, understand that security is the opposite of user convenience. That is, the most secure computer is never plugged in, the most secure network never has nodes, never accesses outside networks, etc. The people who want to use computer resources want things "secure" but also want them easy and will complain if anything is "too hard."

Security means limiting exposure while still doing required activities. For a business, security involves writing policies and procedures and keeping them enforced. A firewall is maintained and kept secure. Every time some legitimate party finds that firewall inconvenient they will try to circumvent it, either via official channels or on their own.

The security guy is the preventer P2P networks, Facebook, and all the other non work crap employees want to do. They make sure machines are fully patched. They make sure all authentication and authorization in place is working. They read a lot of logs. They will be consulted any time some outside contractor wants to "get through" the firewall. They are, essentially, a company's computer cops, guarding against internal and external threats.

You might also be interested in computer forensics, which is more applicable, specifically, to criminal justice. Computer forensics is less about security and more about reconstructing data that others tried to keep secure from you. What might be considered malicious hacking in some instances, but in the service of the authorities.

Both these hats require networking knowledge, not programming knowledge. Computer forensics also encompasses more hardware knowledge.
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