The new era of cybersecurity

The new era of cybersecurity

From delivery services and data collection to television shows and banking – almost everything can be connected to the internet. Even normally face-to-face services like medical care and higher education can be conducted online, as we’ve seen become widespread during COVID-19.   

The internet is now the way in which we live, connect and grow. But as our reliance on technology increases, so too does the need for advanced cybersecurity protocols. Online security needs to be addressed at all levels by individuals, companies and governments.

For that, we need people of all skill sets and backgrounds.

A growing demand

La Trobe University cybersecurity expert Dr Stanley Shanapinda says the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the release of the Australian federal government’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, means the demand for skilled professionals is set to increase even further.

Dr Shanapinda explains, ‘The Australian 2020 Cyber Security Strategy is aimed at educating the community about cyber risks and how to protect themselves. It’s likely to put pressure on businesses and public bodies to take actions to secure their cyber environment, particularly in this current climate.’

Stringent cybersecurity controls are now a legal requirement, which ‘may lead to increased numbers of multidisciplinary cybersecurity professionals being recruited’, according to Dr Shanapinda.

‘The shift towards this online way of life has shown us that cybersecurity is more important now – more than ever.’

Cybersecurity is about people

Even if a computer or network has been built as a virtual fortress of cybersecurity, people will always be a weak link.

As we look for alternative ways to meet and connect, popular video conferencing platform Zoom has experienced a spike in cybersecurity incidences, including stolen credentials and strangers ‘Zoom-bombing’ meetings. As Dr Shanapinda puts it, ‘Cybercriminals will definitely take advantage of the recent levels of online migration.’

Cybersecurity can no longer be isolated to IT departments. To find the root cause of issues, the cybersecurity industry needs people from all walks of life, from coders to psychologists.

Some of the largest cyber threats involve phishing attacks. These attacks are very difficult to defend against because they’re aimed at people. We need psychologists and criminology experts who can read people – who can understand motivations while also understanding the weaknesses in systems. They’ll help us stay one step ahead of hackers and train employees to safeguard against phishing attacks.

People trained in business and finance can integrate cybersecurity into companies of all sizes. They’ll be at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency. They’ll work for banks, utility providers, food manufacturers and suppliers, technology innovators, startups and even small businesses.

New technologies open the door to unexpected possibilities. We need people who can create legal and ethical frameworks for dealing with the new challenges posed by cybersecurity: lawyers, judges, lawmakers.

You don’t need to know technology to study cybersecurity

Think outside the box. Almost any background could make you a better cybersecurity expert.

Trained in nursing? Bring your knowledge of health data to design information infrastructure and security for hospitals. Are you a passionate writer? Find your niche in creating publications and resources to help the public understand their cybersecurity risk. The next generation will be exposed to online threats their entire lives, so we need educators who can teach us how to navigate the online world.

Employers tell us they need multidisciplinary solutions to ever-evolving cyber threats. So, we offer a range of cybersecurity degrees that span a variety of interests. You can specialise in computer science, business operations or law. In fact, we’re the only university in Australia offering a cybersecurity degree with a specialisation in law.

This means our cybersecurity students come to our degrees from diverse backgrounds.

Maha Afaneh, who is currently completing her Master of Cybersecurity (Computer Science), discovered her love of cybersecurity while studying her criminology degree.

‘I’ve always had an interest in technical areas, so I didn’t let having a non-technical degree stop me.’

You don’t need to be a tech wizard to launch a successful career in cybersecurity. Maha has already secured an exciting job for next year through a graduate program at Deloitte, and recently received the Australian Information Security Association’s Cyber Security Tertiary Student of the Year Award.

Find your passion at the forefront of an exciting and in-demand career. Discover our postgraduate cybersecurity degrees.

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