From a cybersecurity perspective, 2020 was buzzing for all the wrong reasons. While the world was focused on the health and economic threats posed by COVID-19, cyber criminals worldwide were capitalizing on this crisis. With cybercrimes on the rise and information security high on the agenda of businesses worldwide, the demand for cybersecurity professionals far outstrips supply.
Cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most sought after skills amidst the pandemic. Remote working has led to an increasing number of cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals and nation-state hackers are still taking advantage of the uncertainty over the pandemic, tailoring their attacks to play on those fears.
There are serious concerns regarding attacks that weaponize cloud resources, ransomware, extortion, and the ever-shrinking perimeter that makes networks even more vulnerable. The attacks are becoming more intense and intrusive, as demonstrated by the recent hacking of the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, U.S. agencies, and security breach of incident response firm FireEye.
Alex Hripak, VP-Technology, Credly, says, “This year, the pandemic exposed the lack of infrastructure security organizations had in place. Especially as the emphasis on data privacy will increase heading into next year, organizations are raising the bar on their security standards. Skills related to writing secure code will be expected from even the entry-level software developer in 2021.”
The cybersecurity challenges for 2021 are countless. While the daily cybersecurity operations continue to be challenging in 2021, the opportunities for those who have the right skill sets are abundant.
To fight future threats, there is a need for the next generation of cyber skills. And to identify weaknesses in their cybersecurity before they’re hacked, businesses hire ethical hackers. Enterprises are now training employees in ethical hacking techniques.
Ethical hackers use the same tools and techniques as threat actors, including social engineering techniques, to crack company defenses. These skills are also known as penetration testing, are now essential for businesses to defend themselves from hackers. If even a tiny flaw goes undetected, businesses risk hacker-inflicted chaos. Having researchers that can think like cybercriminals and detect security vulnerabilities is a crucial skill required to protect against a breach.
Internet of Things
The world is now on the cusp of an IoT revolution, as businesses accelerate the adoption of internet-connected devices. This surge in connected devices has created new opportunities for cyber criminals. IoT security skills are severely lacking, and connected devices with weak cyber defenses are repeatedly hijacked.
Sifting through data to find abnormalities and scrutinizing systems to find vulnerabilities takes time and energy. To speed things up, AI is now rapidly being used to perform cybersecurity tasks.
John Ayers, Chief Strategy Product Officer, Nuspire says, “With a predicted 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs remaining unfilled by 2021, companies are turning to AI in the hope of a solution. Although AI today is a relatively novel concept, it enables instantaneous automation, completing tasks that would typically take days in a matter of seconds”.
AI cyber defence systems are bound to be widely adopted by businesses worldwide, and in the next few years, human input may not be needed. There will be a rise in demand for professionals who can support these infinitely powerful machines as they scan tirelessly for vulnerabilities.
The next generation of cyber security professionals is expected to defend against relentless AI hackers and develop intelligent systems of their own.