Starting Out In Cyber Security
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Over the last few years, the term Cyber Security has become more popular.
Google trends show it’s searched now more than ever before in history. It’s currently Australia’s top hiring priority.
What’s Cyber Security? And why is it so popular? Let’s do some research and find out!
Disclaimer: I’m not a Cyber Security expert, I’m a student of IT and love sharing what I’m learning or have learnt.
What’s Cyber Security?
Cyber Sec is an entire industry, it’s grown out of the necessity to keep data safe and prevent cybercrime.
There are two main areas:
- Defensive a.k.a Blue Team.
- Offensive a.k.a Red Team.
Defensive involves monitoring systems to detect attacks and enabling prevention methods to stop future ones.
The offensive is about testing system strengths and weaknesses, acting as a cybercriminal to break in, legally.
They’re two sides to the same coin, and they’re mote areas like purple teams too. Cyber Sec involves understanding computers at multiple levels with broad knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking.
History of Cyber Security
It’s important to understand a bit of history, here’s a watch-list of some good documentaries to spend time with.
- The Perfect Weapon 2020: Recent rise of cyber conflict.
- Zero Days 2016: Deep dive into the first computer virus to have a real-world physical impact.
- The Great Hack 2019: How our data is being used.
- The Social Dilemma 2020: The state of Social Media and its impact on people.
- Deep Web 2015: Cybercrime culture and the illegal side of the internet.
For more, I found a list of documentaries on cyberculture spanning more topics and interests. It’s not history, but I’d recommend watching a bit of Mr Robot. It’s fictitious, but taps into cyberculture and demonstrates real-world technology.
Cyber Security Skills
So what skills are needed in Cyber Security?
Arguably the top skill is researching, knowing how to find information and the right information. It’s impossible to know everything in I.C,T, so quick search skills are fine art.
Maybe more important than research is your mindset.
Having a desire to learn, tinker and deep dive into topics is a huge asset here.
Mindset helps gain knowledge on a variety of technologies like various operating systems, applications, hardware, programming languages and virtualisation software (like building a Linux Lab).
“InfoSec interviewers usually value motivation, critical thinking, and self-study above all else” — Lesley Carhart, a 20+ year veteran in the I.T. industry.
Writing is another important skill!
Documenting and sharing information are two massive areas of the Cyber Sec community. It encourages newcomers to the industry while keeping other professionals in the loop.
Once beyond soft/general skills, there are endless avenues of technical skills to explore. The top three are:
- System Administration.
Combine these three to set yourself up for a good foundation.
Learning Cyber Security
Now you’re aware of the Cyber Sec history and skills required, how do we put this together? Learning!
Here are some top courses:
- Introduction To Computing Fundamentals.
- Introduction to Computer Science.
- Learning Paths from Hack The Box & Try Hack Me.
For a full guided list, see Learning Path for Beginner Hackers.
There are countless great resources from games like OverTheWire Wargames to YouTubers like NetworkChuck, John Hammond and DarkSec. I love podcasts from Darknet Diaries and keeping up-to-date with blogs from Lesley Carhart and Daniel Miessler.
A lot of the resources above have discord or slack communities to network and connect with other learning Cyber Sec techies.
So now you’re set up and good to go! Thanks for reading and I hope this walkthrough has been easy to follow and helpful. If you have any feedback, please send me a message via Twitter.
I’ve got a long list of courses and content to get through over the next 100 days.
To break up theory sessions I’m using YouTube to watch hackers share their journey. GynvaelEN’s Hacking Livestream #5 led me to find PicoCTF where I played my first CTF and I knew what I was doing, slightly.
I completed 10 out of 12 General Skills CTF’s and only cheated twice, that’s a good rate.