Friday, September 23, 2016

People in Cyber Security and You

Cyber security is one of the fastest growing industries out there. Thanks to the bad guys ;)

But first!  I have to give you a disclaimer before we go on:-

Anything demonstrated on this article series is purely for educational purposes ONLY. Do not test on live computers over the internet unless you have an official authorization to do so. We are relying solely on your good ethics to utilize skills learnt from this series to help make the cyber space a more secure place.

Now that we have a thumbs up from our legal team, let’s move on.

The 3 Hats

You will come across '3 hats' in cyber security. The White, the black, and the grey. Think of them as the 60’s movie title “The good, the bad and the ugly”.

  • White Hats – These are the good people. They make your anti-virus, they help secure networks in companies, test software to look for bugs that can be exploited, and so on. All the good things. 
  • Black Hats – These people are the not so good people. They target whoever they like then spend countless hours to look for security weakness and exploit them to hack into networks for malicious intent and profit.
  • Grey Hat – Think of them as the hybrids. They are the people who have good ethics like the white hats and sometimes break the rules but don’t have dangerous intent as black hats. These are basically the cool guys who know how to bend rules, without breaking the laws. 

All three types of people are continuously honing their skills to outsmart the other. The black hats tirelessly look for weaknesses in software and networks to hack into while the white hats constantly develop patches, best policies and practices to prevent black hats from exploiting weaknesses.

Being part of the cyber security industry, there are new threats every day and new techniques on how to prevent and stop those threats. The key is to constantly practice, practice, practice and read, read, read. 

So what do you need to be a security expert?

Let’s get one thing straight. There is no 100% expert in all aspects of cyber security. Nada. Naught. None. You simply cannot be an “expert” in a field that is ever-growing and evolving immensely. But what you can be is one of the best out there. Below are a fundamental skills that every pro hacker needs;

  1. A very good understanding of different types of operating systems.
  2. A good understanding of networking and its concepts.
  3. Have good programming skills.
  4. And the most crucial of them all, have a mind curious enough to want to break things and see what’s going on behind the curtains.

If you feel you are weak in any or all of the first three, fear not, for you shall only need the curiosity to get better at them.

It’s about time we go hands-on. Stay tuned for our next article where we will help you on create your own hack lab in which you can safely put the theories to test. 

-Jayesh Kerai (@secjay)

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