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Cyber Security

Spotlight on Cyber Security Careers

Cyber security is the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies.

What is a cyber security threat?

A cyber security threat refers to any possible malicious attack that seeks to unlawfully access data, disrupt digital operations or damage information. Cyber threats can originate from various sources, including corporate spies, hacktivists, terrorist groups, hostile nation-states, criminal organisations, lone hackers and disgruntled employees.

Cyber attackers can use an individual’s or a company’s sensitive data to steal information or gain access to their finances, among other potentially damaging actions, which is why cyber security professionals are essential for keeping private data protected. Cyber security threats can include:

  • Malware – malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, viruses and woms. Malware is activated when a user clicks on a malicious link or attachment, which leads to installing dangerous software. 
  • Emotet - an advanced, modular banking Trojan that primarily functions as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans. Emotet continues to be among the most costly and destructive malware.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) - a type of cyber attack that floods a computer or network so it can’t respond to requests.
  • Man in the Middle (MITM) – an attack occurs when hackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction. After interrupting the traffic, they can filter and steal data.
  • Phishing - fake communication, such as an email, to trick the receiver into opening it and carrying out the instructions inside, such as providing a credit card number.
  • SQL Injection - a Structured Query Language (SQL) injection is a type of cyber attack that results from inserting malicious code into a server that uses SQL. When infected, the server releases information
  • Password Attacks - with the right password, a cyber attacker has access to a wealth of information.
The cyber security skills gap

As the number of threats continue to increase year on year, the need for cyber security professionals is likewise increasing with the UK workforce is struggling to meet demand. So more people need to develop the skills to fill the gap.

A 2020 government report on the UK cyber security labour market found that approximately 653,000 businesses (48%) have a basic skills gap, in areas such as setting up configured firewalls, storing or transferring personal data, and detecting and removing malware. A further 408,000 businesses (30%) have more advanced skills gaps, in areas such as penetration testing, forensic analysis and security architecture.

What jobs are there in cyber security?

Job roles include:

  • Cyber Security Analyst/Engineer
  • Security Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst
  • Chief Information Security Officer
  • IT or Cloud Security Consultant
  • Software Security Officer
  • Security Administrator
  • Ethical Hacker or Penetration Tester
How much could I earn?

Salaries range from £20,000 for an entry level position to over £100,00 for a director level post.

How can I gain entry to one of these roles?

Get qualified!

Popular qualifications include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CISCO CCNA Security

Skills needed to be successful in a cyber security career include:

  • Strong analytical skills and a keen eye for spotting trends in data
  • The ability to make decisions with confidence and show initiative
  • To be able to work effectively under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Have a keen attention to detail and work in a logical and objective fashion
  • To be well organised and able to manage their own time
  • The ability to work creatively and think outside of the box
  • Strong communication skills, as well as the ability to adapt communication styles to suit different audiences
  • To have a clear understanding of confidentiality issues and relating laws
  • An inquisitive nature and a keen interest in the IT sector

Let Nescot help you get started

Apply for our Level 3 Diploma in Cyber Security*
*This course is part of the government’s National Skills Fund Level 3 Adult Offer please visit our Student Finance page
to establish whether you might be eligible to study free of charge.

85% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error
94% of all malware
is delivered
by email
attacks happen every 10 seconds.

Annual global cost of cybercrime is estimated to be £7 trillion by 2025
In 2021 the cybersecurity industry is expected to have a 0% unemployment rate