The Australian cyber security industry is growing and this is how you can make a career out of it

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The MP assisting prime minister Malcolm Turnbull with cyber security, Dan Tehan, has estimated that cyber crime costs the Australian economy roughly $1 billion dollars a year.

It comes as companies become increasingly reliant on digital platforms, providing hackers with an abundance of different avenues in which to execute cyber crime.

With this in mind, here are just a few of the biggest threats to businesses in 2017:

  • Email phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC): These are becoming an increasing threat to both individuals and businesses. Some hackers are opting to send malware through email, or executing smaller, targeted, campaigns rather than “spray and pray” techniques.
  • Password strength: This continues to be problematic, particularly in B2Bs. Issues stem predominantly from workers using the same password across multiple accounts. Expect to see two to four factor recognition becoming more prevalent in the office.
  • Ransomware: As the name suggests, this tactic involves covert malware being installed in a device or system. The mined data is then held hostage unless a ransom is paid. We’re increasingly seeing ransomware on attacks on small to medium businesses due to their lack of cyber security budget.
  • Cloud based platforms: As more businesses utilise cloud based platforms and software, so will the attacks on them.

The importance of cyber security is now being more seriously recognised at a government level. The federal government plans on investing more than $230 million into the sector of the next four years.

This is a part of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy, the crown jewel of which is the Cyber Security Growth Centre. It was first announced as part of government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda in late 2015, and is set to be in operation in early 2017.

According to that department, “Strong cyber security is essential to allow individuals and businesses to take advantage of the economic possibilities of the digital world. To create opportunities for businesses in the rapidly growing cyber security sector, we’re providing more than $30 million through to 2019-20…to grow and strengthen Australia’s cyber security industry.”

The CEO of the venture will be Atlassian’s director of security, Craig Davies, who has over 20 years experience across the technology and cyber security industries.

A joint cyber security centre was also opened in Brisbane in February, combining resources related to law enforcement, public serves and the private sector. The facility is led by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and reports to the department of the Attorney General. Similar plans are in the works for other capital cities across Australia.

One advantage of the rise of cyber crime is the industry has been built as a response. Senator Tehan stated in late 2016, “The global cyber security market was worth US$74.5 billion in 2015, and it’s estimated it will be worth close to US$170 billion by 2020.”

The global market for cyber security products and services is growing exponentially. The Minister for industry, innovation and science, Greg Hunt, believes this is an opportunity for Australian businesses.

“It will bring together industry, researchers and governments to create a national enterprise that will provide the foundation for the development of next generation products and services needed to live and work securely in our increasingly connected world ,” he says.

If there was ever a time to get into the sector, it’s now. And there are multiple education pathways that can be taken.

It’s not uncommon for universities to offer bachelor and masters of Cyber Security degrees. The Australian government has also acknowledged the significant need for workers with cyber security skills and are planning increase the quality of university courses and within the sector.

TAFEs throughout the country also have advanced diplomas in network security and diplomas in Information Technology Systems Admistration — both of which are respectable feet in the door if you want to work your way up in a company or engage in further study later in your career. The federal government have also expresses plans to help introduce cyber security apprenticeships.

For those who are interested in a new career path but can’t commit to full time study on campus — there are online university courses available. These are a good option if you can only study part time or outside of office hours due to work and family commitments.

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