Cyber Security - An Emerging Field of Study

Ever since the beginning of the internet, cyber crime has been an issue. What is cyber crime? Have you ever gotten a virus, or even gotten hacked? These are very common cyber crimes. Cyber criminals hack into networks, create virus, and can even steal your financial information. Though we are all aware that this is a possibility when housing our information on computers, we often think that it will never happen to us.

Though cyber crime could potentially be financially devastating to the average person, it is possible to cause catastrophic repercussions by political extremists that could misuse the Internet for acts of cyber terrorism. What exactly is Cyber Terrorism? It is when a person or persons use the anonymity and global reach of the internet for their own personal gain, such as, terrorist attacks on U.S. information infrastructure in attempts to seal money, identities and classified data. They can also use the internet as a tool to find like-minded extremists to help them attempt to hack their way into corporate and/or government networks.

Michael Alcorn, Branch Chief in the State Department's Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance had this to say about cyber terrorism, "The problem we're all facing is a global borderless problem, where attacks can occur anywhere in the world and originate from anywhere else in the world."

Though he said this in 2005, it still rings true today. Attacks could happen at any time, in any location, against any person or institution. The only way to combat this is to have individuals that have cyber security education which are specialized in fighting against cyber terrorism and cyber criminals. These people are known as cyber security professionals.

What does a cyber security professional do? They coordinate an organization's information security preparedness, educate users on computer security, respond to sophisticated cyber attacks, gather data and evidence to be used when prosecuting cybercrimes such as credit card fraud, auction fraud, intellectual property theft, pedophilia, terrorism, hacking and they monitor the network for any security breaches. Normally they are employed by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. At times cyber security professionals may be called on to engage in computer crime investigations this is known as Cyber Forensics. This is an emerging field, and because of technology advances, this filed will ways be changing along with technology. Cyber security professionals must keep up to date with changes and technology and be lifelong learners within their field.

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