Digital Tips

How Can I Become a Cyber Security Engineer?

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the perils that come with an online life become more and more pronounced as well. Cybercrime has increased more than tenfold since the internet burst onto the public scene in the 1990s, and with it came the need for cyber security efforts. Cyber security efforts are kind of like a relay race, though—the more ways there are to combat cybercrime, the more creative the criminals become.

Just last year, criminals made off with millions of dollars from stimulus checks provided by the United States government by a variety of means, from phishing scams to identity theft. A recent ransomware cyber attack at the Colonial Pipeline threw gas prices on the East Coast into chaos. Malware is thrown at enterprise-level companies every day of the week, and these companies know that they’re constantly under attack. That’s why they hire cybersecurity engineers—so that they can win this relay race once and for all.

If you’re wondering how to become a cyber security engineer and what the field of cybersecurity looks like, this is the article for you. Read on to learn a little about becoming a security engineer and how that certificate impacts real-life industries.

How can I become a cyber security engineer?

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If you feel called to the important work of a cyber security engineer, you should know that you can get a certificate more easily than you may believe. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from an Ivy League school to be an analyst who protects against data breaches and malware, but you do need the specific soft skills and hard skills that a certificate program will provide. Information security is a crucial field, and you can sign up for a cyber security certificate program with ease—some certificate programs will have you working in cybersecurity within just 24 weeks. For those who are itching to implement the hard and soft skills and get moving on this career path, that’s great news.

How do major companies work to ensure cyber security?

As mentioned above, enterprise-level companies absolutely need cybersecurity professionals to keep them safe. It’s not enough to have a firewall (although that doesn’t hurt), these big companies know that they need to be proactive to keep cybercriminals at bay. For example, let’s take a look at Alamos Gold, a worldwide gold mining company. Alamos has gold mining locations in Canada (the Young-Davidson mine), in Mexico (the Mulatos mine in Sonora), and in the Republic of Turkey (the Kirazli project). How does Alamos keep abreast of all developments at mining sites from Northern Ontario to Sonora? Online, of course.

Alamos (which trades on NYSE as AGI) is serious about being innovative in mining practices and knows that cyber safety is part of that effort. A data security engineer who works for Alamos would be in charge of identifying any network vulnerabilities, training any Alamos employees on best practices and what communications from hackers may look like, and conducting penetration tests to ensure that no data about mining practices leaks. We saw how ransomware can hold a corporation hostage in the Colonial Pipeline fiasco, and Alamos is adamant about avoiding the same type of cybercrime debacle.

What are some best practices when it comes to cyber security?

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The best rule of thumb when it comes to cyber safety is to be extra suspicious. Where there’s a doubt, there’s no doubt. That is to say, if something seems suspicious or even a little off—assume it’s one of many cyber threats and contact a security engineer immediately. Don’t click on anything—hackers are very savvy when it comes to getting into networks through phishing scams—and never, ever provide sensitive information over email. Plus, of course, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cybercriminals will want to avoid talking in person so if you think someone is engaging in cybercrime, ask to speak to them on the phone or over Zoom. Chances are, they’ll disappear as quickly as they came.