Are you the type of socially aware person who doesn’t like to see people being ripped off, tricked, swindled and robbed red handed? Well if you’re interested in Information Technology (IT) I can suggest two areas which are not going away any time soon and will very likely require a lot more brain power in the future. One is Cryptography and the other Threat Researching.
Cryptography has been around for a long time now and it’s still at the core of how we protect data on the internet. Recently the paradigm has begun to shift based on two things. The first is the general adoption of Cloud Services and Platforms, which introduces a thirty party into the equation. In a traditional IT system, if you give a company your data, they are responsible for ensuring the security and privacy of that data. In the Cloud world, you give your data to a company providing you a service (on the Cloud), and they essentially give it to the Cloud Vendor. So now as a provider of Cloud based IT Products/Services, unless you somehow encrypt that data before it goes into the cloud (is that possible?), at some point your client’s data is traveling into the Cloud Platform unencrypted. Emerging technologies such as Polymorphic Encryption are being created to help address this issue, and I expect we’ll see more in the future.
Secondly, the advent of quantum-based computing has really put the cat amongst the pigeons, so to speak. In some circumstances quantum computers have a real potential to brute force attack some types of commonly used encryption, exponentially faster than traditional computing. In the wrong hands, this could be devastating.
What is a Threat Researcher, or a Threat Hunter, or a Cybersecurity Threat Analyst? These are all slightly overlapping terms but they all generally focus on stopping the bad actors (hackers) from breaking into IT Systems. There is the real-time, 24×7 Security Operation Center (SOC) work, but the part I think is the most interesting/useful is the “Research” element. The Threat Researcher will focus on finding the vulnerabilities (a weakness or hole in the IT System that can be exploited) before the bad guys do. Once these vulnerabilities are found, they can be patched with a software update.
It really is an Us versus Them scenario. The reality is, large scale organized cybercrime is not going to go away anytime in the near future. It’s just too lucrative. They will increasingly hire their own Threat Researchers, but of course their motivation is entirely different.
Of course, these are just two of the many different cybersecurity roles available today. There are many more interesting roles to play in our fight against cybercrime, you just have to get involved.