Top Cybersecurity Skills You Must Have

According to Forbes, cybersecurity is one the fastest-growing industries worldwide. It has grown at 36.5% per year through 2022. It is very expensive to hack a company’s data. This is why there has been such a high demand. In 2016, the average cost of a data hack was $4 million. This number will only increase as more companies use the Internet of Things to collect more information about their customers. Millions of people are trying to get into this lucrative industry, as data breaches are becoming more common. It is difficult to get entry-level jobs due to the importance you have of your assets, especially for those fresh out of university without any work experience. Below is a list of six skills that will make you stand out from the rest and help you get into the field.

Understanding Networking and Network Technologies

Networking refers to the act of transferring data between devices. Cybersecurity is solely focused on cyber-related risks to companies’ information assets. Hackers will seek to gain access to company networks and steal information to their advantage. Understanding how computers work together, the interconnectedness of computers and common security technologies is key to understanding hackers and how to stop them from hacking your network. You will need to be familiar with the following concepts: local area network (LAN), large area network (WAN), routers and switches, firewalls, encryption groups, administrator privileges, security groups, security groups, and firewalls.


A good knowledge of programming concepts is essential for IT security and work. Instead of doing most of the work manually, computer scripts can be used to automate the task. Automating a process is faster and more reliable than manual completion. Anyone in tech will find script writing a valuable skill. If you are interested in security testing, hacking into companies to determine their security and making improvements, you will likely need to be able to write your own exploits (computer programs that allow you to hack into any application or device). You will need to know at least one programming language to be proficient in automating or creating computer exploits. You will also need to know the basics of programming concepts such as loops, objects, and if else statements. This will allow you to read and modify code written by others, even if it is not in your language. Python is one of the most used languages in security., udemy and codewars are good places to start programming.

How to Respond to a Cybersecurity Incident

Each security incident is unique and will require different steps, but there is a common method that can help you guide yourself. The NIST framework is my favorite for incident response. It covers all the major steps. You should be familiar with the following four steps: Analysis, Containment Eradication, and Recovery. It is important to know the purpose of each step and the common activities performed at each stage.

Lifecycle of NIST Incident Response

Analysis This phase will help you understand the extent of the data breach and how you can respond to it. This will include information such as how many computers have been affected, which services are affected, and what kind of malware it is.

Containment After you have identified the extent of the incident, you will need to manage it. This is usually done to isolate all affected machines and the company’s network. If your company has 100 machines, and 10 of them are affected, this is an example. To prevent hackers from connecting to the machines, you need to disable all 10 of them from the internet. You must then disconnect all 10 machines and any other machines from the network to stop the malware spreading to other devices. This will ensure that the incident is under control. You should not power down the 10 machines during this step as you may lose valuable evidence which you will need for the next steps. Computer memory can be erased if a machine loses its power. Computer forensics can often find evidence of malware in the computer’s memory. You don’t need to turn off any computers. Simply remove internet access and disconnect all corporate devices.

Eradication This step will remove all traces of infection from affected systems and repair the vulnerabilities on machines that were able to allow the infection. This is necessary so that affected machines can be reinserted into normal daily operations. This includes fixing vulnerable software, updating the passwords, and removing malware from the affected machine. It is important to create secure and clean systems that can be used again by the business. Reimagining the machine with a trusted image is the best way to achieve this. This involves wiping out all data and installing the software again.

Recovery:This phase restores the accounts and services that were affected by the data breach. This phase involves reconnecting any services, desktops or applications back to the company network. You can also re-enable accounts that were temporarily disabled after their login information has been reset.

Understanding Compliance Laws and Regulations

Over the past 10 years, many regulators and governments have adopted data protection laws and regulations. These regulations require companies to have certain security measures in place to protect consumers’ information. Many cybersecurity professionals are paid to ensure that their companies comply with these regulations in order to avoid penalties and fines from regulators. CCPA, PIPEDA and SOX are some of the most important regulations that you should be familiar with.

Feel at ease with the command line

The command line is a large part of what a security professional does. You can open the command line by opening your start menu and searching for “terminal” This is the black window you’ll see if you’ve ever watched a movie about a computer hacker. You will often work with servers without a graphical user interface (GUI). Accessing the server via the command line is the only way to do so. Being able to navigate it will prove essential. Many popular security tools like nmap or Metasploit can only be accessed through the command-line. You will need to become comfortable using the command-line so that you can use them in your daily work. Many operating systems include command line tools that can be used to help with malware analysis, forensics, and other security issues. You have many reasons to learn the command line, particularly for linux, but less for windows. Although there are many online resources to learn more about the command-line, is a practical place to start. They have a Linux challenge room that allows you to capture the flag (CTF) challenges and teaches you how to use the linux command lines. Overthewire, Rootme are two free online resources.

This is how a terminal looks on a mac or linux operating system.

Learn how computer hacks occur

Finally, you should be able to understand computer hacking and how it happens. Computer hacks happen almost every day. One of the best ways you can learn about them is to read news articles. Many big data breaches include several write-ups that anyone can search to learn more about how they happen. You will begin to see the most common reasons companies are hacked. Poor configurations, weak passwords, unpatched code, social engineering, third-party vendors being hacked, and so forth. You will be able make recommendations based upon what has happened in other companies once you have identified the common themes.

Final Thoughts

There are many elements to cybersecurity and it is impossible to cover them all in one article. You will be able to grasp the entire field if you have a solid understanding of the points I have highlighted. This will give you the knowledge and skills you need to be able to work in any aspect of cybersecurity. Once you have mastered the basics, you can choose a niche to specialize in a specific area.