Take Control of Your Cyber Career!

Take Control of Your Cyber Career!

How to Become an Incident Responder?

How to Become an Incident Responder?

Interested in becoming an incident responder for your security incident response team?

That’s great because all organizations encounter security incidents sooner or later.

Having an incident responder to face these types of emergencies is very crucial for an organization.

Why Become an Incident Responder?

1. High Impact Environment.

Studies show that cyber-attacks cost companies over $6 Trillion per year.

A significant percentage of these losses is a result of delayed action.

By incorporating the services of a security incident response team, organizations are much more likely to mitigate these losses.

2. Pay’s Well

According to data from ZipRecruiter, the average salary of an incident responder was about $99,627 /year.

As you gain more experience, managerial positions can pay up to $142,340.

3. Challenging Experiences

A good incident responder is required to perform complicated tasks under pressure.

At times, you’ll have to restore complex systems or determine root cause within just a few hours.

If you want to grow your problem-solving skills, this is a challenge you will definitely enjoy.

4. High Demand

Incident responders are provided an endless supply of work.

In fact, a 2021 Gartner survey indicated that 66% of CIOs are expected to increase investments associated with cybersecurity in the next year.

The Roles and Responsibilities of an Incident Responder

Before becoming an incident responder, it’s essential to know the roles and responsibilities. Some of these include:

  • Developing procedures to handle various security threats
  • Identifying vulnerabilities in an organization’s network or system
  • Working hands-on with other team members to implement security patches
  • Inspecting systems and applications after an attack for anomalies
  • Running penetration tests and risk analysis
  • Implementing security procedures created to deal with the specific threats
  • Providing detailed incident reports regarding all security incidents

Let’s take a closer look at developing the six phases of incident response procedures:

Phase 1: Preparation

This stage involves preparing everyone in the security incident response team and other members of the IT team to take action in case of an emergency cybersecurity breach.

Phase 2: Identification

This phase involves identifying the security incidents that need the attention of the incident response team.

The incident response team needs to set parameters to distinguish between events that need to be given attention and those that don’t.

Phase 3: Containment

After identifying the incident, the next step is to contain the affected systems and devices to prevent further spread.

The goal for containing the incident is to reduce the potential damage if the incident is not well-managed.

Phase 4: Eradication

This phase involves determining the root cause of the incident and eliminating it.

In some cases, it may be necessary to first remove all the affected systems from the company’s network.

Phase 5: Recovery

After fixing the issues with the affected systems, they must be brought back into action and closely monitored for unusual behavior.

Phase 6: Review

After bringing everything back to normal operation, the final phase is documenting all the lessons learned while dealing with the incident.

These lessons will help you develop better strategies when dealing with future incidents.

Sources of Security Incidents

As a member of the security incident response team, you’ve got to be aware of the multiple sources of cyber-attacks to prevent reoccurrences. Here are a few such examples:

  • Phishing Emails: A significant percentage of cyber-attacks are triggered through links sent via email.
  • External/Removable media: Sometimes, cybercriminals may execute an attack by tricking one of your company members to plug a USB storage drive with malware into any of your computers. These attacks are usually referred to as BadUSB.
  • Web: Cyber-attacks can also be executed via your website or web application that you rely on to do work. One of the common examples of web attacks is SQL Injection.
  • Physical Security: In some rare cases, attackers can use physical force to compromise and destroy your company computers and networks.
  • Inappropriate usage: This happens when one of the members of the organization violates your computer usage policies.
  • Loss or theft of equipment: Cybercriminals can launch an attack if they get access to any of the IT devices you use to do work.

Required Skills of an Incident Responder

Let’s take a look at some of the requirements to become an incident responder:

  • Networks: An incident responder needs to have in-depth networking knowledge of the Internet, LAN (Local Area Networks), MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks), and WAN (Wide Area Networks). Studying for the CompTIA Network+ exam will provide you a solid foundation for this knowledge area.
  • Operating systems: Incident responders need to also understand about operating systems (OS), including Windows, macOS, and Linux.  Investigating incidents requires basic understanding of OS commands.
  • Computer hardware: Hardware components such as: routers, firewalls, servers, network cards, as well as other network connected devices each have their own method of operation and vulnerabilities.
  • System monitoring tools: Most companies install Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems that are meant to send alerts whenever they detect errors and anomalies to the system. An incident responder should configure these tools to trigger alerts when certain conditions are fulfilled. Additionally, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with forensics software such as: EnCase, Helix, XRY, and FTK.
  • Programming code: An incident responder also should have a basic to an intermediate level understanding of programming languages.

Training Requirements of an Incident Responder

Most companies need at least two years of working experience in a related job before hiring you as their incident responder.

Some companies may require a college degree or certifications from recognized institutions before giving you a job.

Having additional certifications from online learning platforms or recognized institutions will also increase the chances of landing a job.

Some of the certifications you may consider getting include:

  • GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
  • GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst (GCFA)
  • Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
  • Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE)
  • Certified Penetration Tester (CPENT)
  • Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst (CREA)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)


The scope of an incident responder’s role may vary based on the size of the organization.

While their primary function is to prevent system intrusion; if a cyber-attack does occur, they must also bring systems back to resiliency and also preventing future reoccurrences.

If you want to pursue a security-related career, being part of security incident response is one of the best options to choose.

Start with any of the above certifications to move your career in the right direction.

You can always add more certifications as you continue with your cybersecurity career.

by Amit Doshi

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How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist?

How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist?

Have you ever thought about how to become a cyber security specialist? If so, there’s no better time to get started than today!

We’ll discuss all the crucial things you need to know become a cyber security specialist. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Cyber Security Specialist?

A cyber security specialist is a professional with knowledge and experience in the implementation of security technology, processes, and controls to improve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of an organization’s data and IT infrastructure.

Why become a Cyber Security Specialist?

Here are some of the reasons why pursuing a career as a cyber security specialist is one of the best career decisions:

    High demand: The need for security experts for both small businesses and large enterprises is ever-increasing. Every company that relies on computers will at some point need your services, either as an employee or consultant.

    Increasing cyberthreats: Our increased reliance on computers and the internet is an opportunity for criminals to profit. Security specialists save the organizations their protecting from the potential mess that can be created by these attackers.

    It’s fulfilling: Everyone needs to have a job where they have an impact on the company’s operations. Protecting your company’s IT infrastructure from cyber threats is one of those jobs that will fulfill your career growth.

    Lots of exciting challenges: If you’re the kind of person that loves handling exciting challenges, you’ll probably encounter a lot in your security career. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways of accessing our computers and data. So, figuring out how to prevent them from doing so will be a daily task.

What Do Cyber Security Specialists Do?

Though the responsibilities of a cyber security specialist can vary, let’s look at some of the common responsibilities:

    You’re a Specialist. That’s the primary reason for your role. As a specialist you’ve been hired because you possess sufficient security knowledge and experience that a potential employer may value.

    Counseling. Because of your knowledge and experience, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time educating your employer regarding: security recommendations, cybersecurity practices, security vulnerabilities and mitigation techniques, and other measures that could improve their security posture.

    Assessment and Reporting. You may be involved in, or even lead, security assessments in order to understand and report upon areas of security concern or improvements that should be made.

    Development and Implementation. Once deficiencies have been identified, you’ll aid in developing and possibly implementing strategies to mitigate security concerns while optimizing the IT infrastructure.

    Monitoring and Evaluation. Monitoring security upgrades and evaluating their ability to mitigate previously identified security vulnerabilities becomes crucial to understand if the organization’s security measures were successful.

Salary of Cyber Security Specialist?

Since security specialists play a crucial role in any IT department, their salaries are quite decent.

The average salary of cyber security specialists in the US is about $83,000. As you gain more experience, security specialists can be paid up to $146,000 per year.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?

Before you qualify as an expert, here are a few skills to possess:

    Professional Knowledge: Above all else, in-depth knowledge and the ability to provide quick resolution to complex problems in your area of security specialization is an absolute must. If you come across a job listing that closely matches your skillset, but not completely, that’s the time to research whether any deficiencies exist.

    Cyber Security Tools: Because cyber security is such a vast field, there are hundreds of tools available for users. You should be heavily experienced in the tool sets common to your specific field. A minimum of two years of experience with any security tools should be sufficient to declare yourself “skilled” for that particular toolset.

    Soft Skills: As with many jobs, communication and technical writing skills, problem-solving skills, attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, positive attitude, teamwork, and a good work ethic are always expected.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?

Some employers require college degrees, whereas some just need to test your raw skills before giving you the job.

If you need a job in those old-school companies where papers are still important, having an Associate’s degree in a cybersecurity-related course is a must.

There are also many companies that’ll hire you if you have the right certifications.

However, your goal should be to acquire the relevant skills required to perform your day-to-day tasks.

No matter the degrees or certificates you have, your job will be at stake if you can’t solve problems.

That’s why it’s important to continue with self-education even after getting your college degree or certification.

Some of the popular cybersecurity certificates you may consider getting include:

How Long Does It Take to Be a Cyber Security Specialist?

Most companies require you to have some working experience before hiring you.

On average expect to have a minimum of 5 to 10 years of experience in your specialization before you can be considered a specialist.

The actual years of experience required will usually depend on the role they’ll want you to take on.

What Makes a Good Cyber Security Specialist?

If you’ve just completed your course, you can further enhance your skills by doing personal projects that challenge you to learn new things.

Consider signing up on freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork; they have several opportunities for cyber security specialists.

Doing client projects on these sites will help you to gain experience that you can later use to get bigger opportunities.

You also need to continuously educate yourself in order to keep up with the new technologies and how to use them to handle new threats.

by Amit Doshi

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What Is the CISA Exam? (Everything You Wanted to Know!)

What Is the CISA Exam? (Everything You Wanted to Know!)

What is the CISA exam? If you’re wondering whether the CISA (Certified Information System Auditor) certification is right for your career, then read on as this article provides comprehensive answers to your CISA related questions.

My Opinion

Is CISA a good certification? Absolutely yes, earning a CISA certification is well worth it.

It’s also a great way to boost your resume and increase your chances of landing a job. This is especially true if you’re interested in pursuing a career in IT auditing or security auditing.

Becoming a CISA Auditor can open up career opportunities for you while giving you the distinction of being globally recognized, trusted, and respected in your field. Just to give you an idea of its popularity, it’s the 3rd most requested security certification in the industry.

However, like any other security certification, passing and renewing the CISA certification requires money, time, and most importantly, effort!

CISA Certifications are the 3rd Most Requested Certifications

Table of Contents

Want to know what is the CISA exam? Click below to find out more!

What Is the Certified Information System Auditor Exam?

What Does It Mean to Be a Certified Information System Auditor?

CISA Certification Benefits

How Much Does a CISA Make?

CISA Certification Requirements

CISA Exam Domains

How Many Questions Is the CISA Exam?

How Much Is CISA Certification?

What Is the Certified Information System Auditor Exam?

The certified information system auditor exam is a certification offered by the International Society for Advancement of Cybersecurity (ISACA) and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is a third-party entity responsible for the accreditation of the CISA designation and verification of the standards of this certification.

The CISA certification is a professional credential awarded after passing a rigorous examination certifying that an individual possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform audits of IT systems and processes.

To give you a bit of background on the CISA certification, there are over 151,000 CISA certificate holders globally earning an average salary of over $110,000.

The CISA credential also serves as a foundation for other certifications such as the Certified Security Manager (CSM), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Penetration Tester (CPENT).

A CISA certification acknowledges that an individual has met certain requirements for demonstrating competency in information security management.

These requirements include knowledge of information security policies, processes, procedures, and standards, as well as understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives.

The core purpose of this certification is to provide individuals, who manage or support information security programs within organizations, with the skills necessary to identify and mitigate risks associated with the implementation and operation of information systems.

What Does It Mean to Be a Certified Information System Auditor?

Certified Information Systems Auditors are professionals who perform security audits of computer systems and networks.

Certified Information Systems Auditors are responsible for ensuring that their organization’s security posture is robust enough to protect against cyber threats.

They have the ability to identify vulnerabilities in critical organizational network infrastructures and the skills to implement appropriate security countermeasures.

In addition, they can help prevent data breaches through effective monitoring and detection of suspicious activities.

CISA Certification Benefits

You’ll be able to offer valuable services to companies and organizations that want to protect their networks from cyber threats.

You’ll also have access to resources that can help you stay current with industry trends and best security practices.

Of course, by becoming a Certified Information Systems Auditor you’ll help to advance your own career and earn a higher pay.

In addition to the above, there are several other benefits of becoming CISA certified, which include:

  • Recognition from peers and employers that you possess the knowledge and skills necessary to perform your job function
  • A competitive edge over other candidates seeking employment in the field
  • An opportunity to advance your career through additional education and certification
  • Increased salary potential and job opportunities
  • High job security and career advancement opportunities

Benefits of Certified Information System Auditor

How Much Does a CISA Make?

CISA Certification is among some of the most high-paying IT certifications.

Earning the certification can help you secure high-paying jobs such as:

  • Internal Auditor
  • Public Accounting Auditor
  • Information Systems Analyst
  • IT Audit Manager
  • Project Manager
  • IT Security Officer
  • Security Auditor

The average CISA salary can depend on several factors, such as experience, job title, location, employer size, and the responsibilities of the position.

According to Payscale, the annual base salary of a senior IT Auditor ranges between $70,000 and $112,000.

CISA Certification Requirements

CISA certification requires 5 years of experience as an auditor, controller, or security specialist.

Experience must include at least one year of Information Systems (IS) experience.

A maximum of 3 years of experience may be waived if the applicant has a master’s degree in IS or IT.

Candidates can also download a CISA exam guide to learn more about the eligibility and the exam process.

CISA Exam Domains

The CISA Certification exam is designed to help IT & Cyber professionals gain a deeper understanding of their role as a CISA.

Additionally, you’ll learn about best practices for conducting effective audits.

CISA certification is awarded to candidates with at least five years of relevant work experience and who pass the examination based on five knowledge domains. Read here to find out the truth behind cybersecurity domains!

Should you decide to take this exam, demonstrate your ability to identify risks and vulnerabilities in an organization’s information systems.

Furthermore, each domain of the CISA exam has a specific exam weight that is listed below:

Domain 1: Information System Auditing Process 21%
Domain 2: Governance and Management of IT 17%
Domain 3: Information Systems Acquisition, Development and Implementation 12%
Domain 4: Information Systems Operations and Business Resilience 23%
Domain 5: Protection of Information Assets 27%


Certified Information System Auditor Exam Domains

Domain 1 – The Process of Audit

The first domain tests your ability to identify the purpose of an audit.

This means understanding and recognizing the differences between internal and external audits.

You are tested on your understanding of the various types of audits including financial, operational, compliance, risk management, and strategic.

Domain 2 – Governance and Management of Information Technology

The second domain tests your understanding of how information technology (IT) governance affects the organization’s overall success.

You need to know what roles are involved in IT governance and how they interact with each other.

Furthermore, you should also know how IT governance impacts the business processes and operations of the organization.

Domain 3 – Information Systems Acquisition, Development & Implementation

In this third domain, you will learn about the acquisition, development, implementation, and maintenance of information systems.

You’ll be tested on the entire lifecycle of an information system.

This also includes knowing the role of stakeholders through the lifecycle and the importance of planning and budgeting.

Domain 4 – Information Systems Operations

The fourth domain is about information systems operations, maintenance and support.

Candidates are expected to have knowledge of the following topics:

  • Maintenance and support operations
  • Software applications
  • System administration
  • Networking

Domain 5 – Protection of Information Assets

Finally, the fifth domain assesses the ability to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification, destruction, or loss.

This includes identifying risks associated with the handling of confidential information, and the ability to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents.

How Many Questions Is the CISA Exam?

Available in eleven languages, the CISA exam lasts four hours and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.

The exam scores on a scale between 200 and 800, and candidates must score a minimum 450 to pass the exam.

When preparing for the CISA Exam, you should get a feel for the type of questions the CISA exam asks. Though it’s not much, ISACA has provided a practice quiz.

For more practice, you can check out ITExamable’s free CISA tests which contain 30 CISA tests, each with 30 questions, and a 150-question mock test.

How Much Is CISA Certification?

The CISA exam costs $575 for ISACA members and $760 for everyone else; this doesn’t include the $50 application fee.

Unfortunately, there are also ongoing maintenance costs associated with a CISA certification.

The certification maintenance cost ranges from $45 for ISACA members to $85 non-ISACA members annually; however, there’s more.

A certification holder must also acquire a minimum amount of 20 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credits per year and 120 hours every three years in order to retain the CISA certification.

ISACA offers various conferences and training sessions throughout the year allowing you to accumulate CPE’s; unfortunately, unless your company is paying for these events, it can get quite expensive.

ISACA conferences alone cost a few hundred dollars, while signing up for a training session can set you back several thousand dollars!

So, the best and cheapest way to maintain your CPEs is by attending as many free (or low cost) webinars and training sessions as you can find.

Luckily, ISACA offers up to 72 free CPE hours annually for members.

Interested in More…

The Best Method to Become a Security Auditor!

Why Take the Security+ Certification?

Why Become CISM Certified?

by Amit Doshi

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Why Study Network Security?

Why Study Network Security?

If you are considering taking a technology-related course online, one of the options you have is to study network security.

It is one of the most popular online courses in the field of Information Security.

So, why is it essential to study network security? This is the question we are going to discuss in this article.

We shall start by explaining what network security means and then get into the reasons you should consider this course.

Let’s get into this right away!

What is Network Security?

Network security refers to the set of rules and configurations put in place to protect the functionality and integrity of data on a given computer network.

The main goal of network security is to ensure the data on a given network is not altered or tampered with by unauthorized parties.

It also involves setting rules regarding who, what, when, where, and how data on a given network should be accessed.

Since a network consists of hardware and software, you’ll need to understand both quite well.

As an expert, you need to know how to implement the strategies to prevent or stop threats from entering and spreading throughout the network.

Why Study Network Security?

Now that we have a brief background about network security let’s look at some of the reasons you may consider taking a course in this field.

1. High demand for network security experts

As businesses continue to rely more on the internet to do almost everything, they also need to ensure their networks are secure.

With the high number of cybersecurity positions to fill, you’re very much in luck.

By simply applying the knowledge you’ve gained studying network security, you’re much more likely to get a job.

2. The pay is good

Of course, any profession with high demand is always financially rewarding.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of an entry-level network engineer is about $73,000 per year.

Seniors in this field can earn up to $200,000 depending on the companies that hire them and their experience.

The salaries of network and cyber security experts will only continue to rise as we rely more on our technology.

3. Easy to create an impact

Despite earning a lot of money, it is important to do work that impacts your employer.

As a network security expert, your role is to detect vulnerabilities that pose a threat to data being stored and transmitted.

In some cases, if the network is affected due to undetected vulnerabilities, you alone might end up saving the network.

Solving such complex issues will no doubt impress your employer.

4. You can work in any industry

The beauty of being a network security expert is the possibility of working in any industry of your choice.

Whether you want to get into health, manufacturing, or fintech, security specialist, network security administrator or analyst jobs are available in all these sectors.

They all rely on computers and the internet to do most of their core activities.

You will also have the opportunity to switch from one industry to another if you don’t find the job in one interesting.

5. Opportunity to work remotely

If you don’t want to be constrained by geographical location, network security is one of those professions you should consider.

Many clients search freelance online platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork for services.

Some of these have temporary projects, whereas some offer permanent gigs.

Click here to learn if cyber security jobs are remote.

6. Unlimited opportunities for career growth.

Each day that passes, cybercriminals are always looking for new ways of compromising networks.

This gives an opportunity for network security experts to further broaden their knowledge in order to counter these attacks.

Once you get into this profession, you will never run out of new things to learn.

7. Encounter new challenges

New ways to attack networks are being formulated almost every day.

Some of the network security solutions that worked ten years ago are considered obsolete today.

If you love taking on challenges, one of the career paths you should consider is to study network security.

You will encounter new problems daily for which you must find solutions.

It’s a dynamic job that requires people to get better at solving complex problems.

After learning the fundamentals of network security, it will be much easier to deal with most of the challenges you encounter.


There are lots of benefits that come with having a job in the network security field.

The pay is good, and you also help your employers deal with some of the most complex network security problems.

If you enjoy a good challenge with the opportunity to create an impact, take some time to study network security.

by Amit Doshi

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Cybersecurity Degree?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Cybersecurity Degree?

Wondering how long does it take to get a cybersecurity degree?

As you’re reading this, you already know why cyber security is necessary, but you might be asking yourself is a cybersecurity degree worth it?

The answer is, “it depends”!

While you can perform quite well without a degree, you’re automatically putting yourself at a disadvantage.

If you’re on the fence, you can always enroll in a course just to see if you want to pursue it any further.

Cybersecurity is a good degree to have which can get you a job with a great starting salary, and it can open the doors to endless career opportunities.

The median salary for an entry-level Information Security Analyst averages around $66K, and goes all the way up to $78K with a bit of experience…not bad for just starting out!

In addition to a decent starting salary, a cybersecurity degree is beneficial for companies and governments that require educated professionals to fulfill positions, which is good for job security.

Continue reading as I discuss college credits, your options between a traditional classroom setting vs. online classes, various accelerated programs, and whether it makes sense to also pursue a Master’s degree.

Table of Contents

How long does it take to get a cybersecurity degree? Click below to find out!

Factors That Make a Difference

Receive College Credit for a Quicker Graduation

Is a Cyber Security Degree Online or On-Campus Faster?

That’s Not Fast Enough!

Which Cyber Security Program is Faster?

Should I Pursue a Master’s Degree?

Words of Wisdom

Factors That Make a Difference

A traditional bachelor’s degree, no matter which major you decide on, requires approximately 120 semester credits, and takes four years to complete, which is also true of students majoring in cybersecurity.

However, the duration for completing a cyber security degree may vary depending on factors such as:

how to finish college faster

Course Credits: Instead of completing four years of physical coursework, you can save time by testing out of courses and receiving college credit.

Transfer Credits: If you’ve already completed credits from another institution, some of those credits may be transferable to your new college or university to further reduce the completion time of your degree.

Schedules: Some degree programs offer part-time or full-time tracks to help students balance work, life, and school. While part-time programs require less of an up-front commitment, they can also increase the time it takes to earn a degree.

Degree Program: Graduation requirements are university specific, resulting in course loads that may differ slightly. Additionally, several universities offer various cyber degree programs depending on your pace and aptitude, such as competency-based or accelerated programs.

Receive College Credit for a Quicker Graduation

Still in High School?

If you’re in high school, you can shorten the time you spend in college by receiving college credits.

While still attending high school, it’s worth your time to pursue college credits using one of three methods: by either participating in your school’s Advance Placement (AP) courses, Concurrent Enrollment (CE) in college while still attending high school, or enrolling in your school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

advanced placement, concurrent enrollment, international baccalaureate

Depending on the program and if it’s accepted, you can shave off as much as a year from your college degree.

No Longer in School?

If you’re no longer in school, you can still receive college credits by taking the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) to receive up to 30 hours of college credit.

The great news is that CLEP is accepted by over 40% of all college institutions, so it’s worth checking out.

A good place to start is by using CLEP’s College Credit Policy Search to determine each university’s policy regarding granting college-level credit.

While none of these programs has anything specifically to do with cybersecurity, if you’re seriously considering a cybersecurity degree, this is sure to turn a 4-year degree into a 3-year degree.

At this point, all you need to do is research which college or university would accept your credits and is also aligned with your cybersecurity educational goals.

Is a Cyber Security Degree Online or On-Campus Faster?

Certainly, there are benefits of attending courses on campus.

You get to interact with your peers, have in-person face-to-face exposure with your professors, and there’s always help when you need it because professors (or their teaching assistants) are usually available off-hours.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside of being in a classroom environment is that you’re stuck with the professor’s curriculum; there’s no skipping past topics you already know, or feel are easier to whiz past.

That’s where online learning really shines; it can be beneficial if you have the mindset and are dedicated to self-paced learning.

With online learning on the rise, many educational institutions are now offering online cyber security degrees, which provide increased flexibility, accessibility, and even speed!

This means that you can obtain your degree by completing more coursework in a shorter amount of time.

While there are downsides to an online program, the biggest advantage is the speed at which a course can be completed.

That’s Not Fast Enough!

If you’re ready to learn at an even faster pace, there’s also another option that you might not have heard of called a “competency-based degree program.”

A competency-based education (CBE) is a non-traditional educational model wherein you learn at your own pace.

It’s very different than most students are accustomed to because there’s no instructor teaching you face-to-face.

Depending on your learning style and how dedicated you are, a CBE model might work in your favor.

Many institutions will charge a flat fee per term during which you may register for as many courses as you can handle, offering a tremendous cost and time savings.

Instead of studying during semester-long courses, a CBE course is completed as soon as you’ve demonstrated mastery of the program by successfully passing an exam or an assigned project.

The downside with CBE is that it’s pass/fail, so you do not receive a letter grade; if you procrastinate or fail, you don’t get credit.

Which Cyber Security Program is Faster?

When deciding upon a degree program, it’s important to understand which courses you’ll be expected to take.

You might find some overlap in the concepts between one degree program and another, so it may not matter too much which program you choose. In other cases, there could be significant differences.

For instance, if we take a look as USC’s cybersecurity program, they require up to 22 hours (or 17%) of cyber security coursework out of the 128 hours required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in “Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence and Cyber Operations”.

On the other hand, UMGC on the opposite coast of the country looks a bit different. This university requires 33 hours (or 28%) of cyber security coursework out of the 120 hours required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in “Computer Networks And Cybersecurity”.

That’s a total difference of eight credit hours, which can amount to an additional half semester of coursework. However, that alone really shouldn’t be the deciding factor when making such an important choice.

Something else to consider is that universities may have multiple types of cybersecurity programs.

If we again look at UMGC’s cybersecurity program, you’ll see three distinct cyber offerings with different coursework requirements to graduate from each.

One university offers a single degree with courses covering a wide range of cybersecurity while the other has three distinct majors with more specialized courses.

I’m not saying one program is better than the other; however, I am saying that in choosing an institution, it should be based upon how their program best fits your needs.

Should I Pursue a Master’s Degree?

Advanced degrees, such as a Master’s in Cybersecurity, typically require an additional 30-36 credits, can take up to two years to complete, and generally require prerequisites that are more rigorous than those offered in a bachelor’s degree.

If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, then the fastest way to move forward is with an accelerated program that some universities offer.

In an accelerated program, you effectively receive a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in one program and in a shorter amount of time, assuming you stick with the same university. Think of it as “killing two birds with one stone.”

Here’s an example of one such program offered by Purdue University Global, “Accelerated Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management”, which in effect waives three courses and speeds up your graduation time by nearly a semester.

Words of Wisdom

Although you may be able to find creative ways of doubling up on these programs to save time and money, the university will only let you go so far. For instance, many institutions won’t let you utilize any CLEP credits if you’re going to opt for the CBE program.

Conversely, on an accelerated program you may be able to use some college credit towards a master’s.

Again, each university has specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them prior to enrolling.

How long is a cyber security degree? If done correctly, you may be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in about 2.5 years, and if you’re smart enough, you can kick in a master’s degree for an additional year.

Of course, the question of how long does cyber security take ultimately depends on college credits awarded, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and the level of personal commitment and motivation you possess.

Once you’ve finished your degree, the next step would be to get that resume polished for your new career!

by Amit Doshi

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How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing

How to Protect Yourself Against Phishing

Phishing has been one of the most popular cyber threats that companies and individuals had to deal with in the last couple of years. According to a 2019 study by Security Intelligence, attackers used phishing as the entry point for over a third of cyber-attacks carried out during that year.

Most of these phishing attacks are made through emails, social media, and other platforms on which many people spend most of their time. If you would like to learn more about phishing and how you can protect yourself against it, this article is for you. We will first discuss some of the basics of phishing and then dive into the details of how to protect yourself against this cyber threat that has become pretty popular in recent years.

This article is also for cybersecurity professionals, including network jobs, data security, and information security professionals. The information we are about to share could help you improve how you can protect users in your company from being the next victims of phishing.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a social engineering attack where the cyber-criminal sends fraudulent messages designed to trick the victim into sharing sensitive information about themselves, including login credentials, payment information, etc. In 2021 cyber security studies showed that over >96% of phishing emerged from emails.

Anyone using the internet today can be a victim, no matter what device you are using.Unlike malware that mainly targets desktop computers, phishing attacks target mainly mobile devices since most people use smartphones and tablets to access the internet. The bad news about this cyber threat is that you can’t use software to protect yourself. It is the knowledge you have about it that will save you from being the next victim.

So, if you are a cyber security professional, you need to take time and educate users under your docket on the basics of phishing and how they can protect themselves against this attack. Education about this cyber threat should also be done continuously because attackers are constantly creating new strategies for compromising the next victims.

Now that we know some basics about phishing let’s discuss how you can protect yourself from it.

Protecting yourself from phishing

1. Don’t click links in emails you don’t know.

As we have earlier discussed, most of the phishing emerged from email. So, when you get an email from a user you don’t know, don’t be tempted to click the links they ask you to click before knowing why they are making that request. If someone sends you a suspicious email that contains links, simply neglect or delete it from your inbox altogether.

If you badly want to check out a link from a suspicious email, first check whether it is safe to use any of these platforms. These link safety checking platforms will help you scan the link to find out if it is secure.

2. Don’t share personal information with anyone.

One of the best ways to avoid being a victim of phishing is not sharing your personal information, including login credentials or payment details, with anyone, whether you know them or not. When you have this rule of not sharing your personal information, it will be more natural for you not to share it even when an attacker tricks you into doing so.

3. Be careful with whom you share your email.

The web has millions of websites, and most of them will always request you to share your email whenever you visit them. However, if you don’t trust the website, don’t be tempted to share your email with them. Some of these sites sell user information such as emails and credit data details to the dark web as a way to generate income.

You may also use “Hide my email” services like the one Apple offers in its latest version of macOS, iPadOS, and macOS. If you are using an Android or Windows device, you may use other platforms like 1Password; they also have this “Masked email” feature that will hide your email while signing up on websites you don’t trust.

With this feature, your actual email is replaced with a random email that is connected to the servers of the service provider. So, if you choose to block emails from a particular website that you find suspicious, they will no longer be able to send you messages even when they try using another emails address to do so.

4. Do not open attachments you don’t trust.

If someone you don’t know sends an attachment to your inbox on your email or social media, first confirm who they are before you open it. Attackers use this trick to attach pieces of code that will automatically start harvesting your data as soon as you open it on your pc or mobile device.

But even if the person you know sends an attachment you don’t expect, contact them to confirm that this attachment was sent by them. Usually, when an attacker compromises one person, they tend to use their account to send emails with links and attachments to most of the victim’s friends to get the chance of compromising their accounts as well.

To be safe, set yourself a rule of not opening any attachment if you do not expect to receive it, even if it is from people you know.


Despite being a pretty popular cyberthreat, phishing is one of the easiest threats to deal with if you know exactly what to do. Attackers are always coming up with new ways of tricking users into clicking data harvesting links and opening unsafe attachments. However, if you set yourself rules of not opening links or attachments from people you don’t know, you will save yourself from being a victim of these phishing attacks.

If you are into cyber security or trying to pursue a career in this field, it is important always to stay updated on all the latest phishing strategies that attackers are coming up with. You should then share this information with the people you are in charge of to save them from being the next victims.

by Editorial Staff

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How to Study Cybersecurity the Right Way!

How to Study Cybersecurity the Right Way!

What will I study during a Cybersecurity degree? As the world continues to struggle against rising cybercrimes and digital security threats, the demand for cybersecurity continues to grow.

The increasing demand for cybersecurity is also boosting career and educational opportunities. Given the current state of the cybersecurity job market, the demand for security professionals is higher than ever as worldwide millions of jobs go unfilled.

There has never been a better time to study or start a career in cybersecurity than now. As unemployment rates in the cybersecurity industry continue to remain a persistent challenge for global businesses, high salaries and a steadily growing global demand for cybersecurity professionals makes it one of the best career options available today.

However, starting a career in cybersecurity or getting a cybersecurity degree has its own set of challenges. Cybersecurity is a highly technical and complex subject to master and a significant number of students do not complete the computer science courses needed to obtain a degree.

In fact, higher education officials have also raised concerns at the high dropout rates in computer science courses. Read this article if you’re still unsure about obtaining a degree; however, if you are thinking of pursuing a cybersecurity course or a degree, there are a multitude of factors that you must consider before making a decision.

Continue reading the article as we lay out a rundown of what you’ll likely study in a cybersecurity degree.

Deciding between a cybersecurity degree and a course

There are many types of cybersecurity courses and degrees available today. Different Information Security programs focus on different aspects of digital security. If you want to study cybersecurity, it is crucial to determine whether the program is aligned with your interests and expected outcomes.

An ideal way is to first ask yourself whether you need a certification or a degree. If you’re looking for a certificate, a single cybersecurity course is the way to go. However, if you are looking to earn a degree, then you will need to find a university offering a cybersecurity curriculum.

It is always a good practice to first study the admission requirements and career pathways for cybersecurity degrees and certificates. Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity will take a few years but can open doors to a myriad of job opportunities and career paths, while a short-term course may help you secure entry-level cyber security jobs. There are also other ways to learn the subject, including earning a PhD or postgraduate certificate.

How to Study Cybersecurity the Right Way!

While each cybersecurity program may focus on different areas of specializations, most cybersecurity programs teach students to identify, contain, prevent and mitigate security threats. As far as program contents are concerned, different educational institutes around the world can have different curriculum depending on the type of program.

If we look at a specific program, for instance the University of Tulsa, the curriculum of a cyber security bachelor’s and master’s degree typically includes the following course titles with slight variations depending on the elective and specialization courses.

Defensive Cybersecurity Technologies

This course helps students to learn and develop an understanding of defensive technologies, which is critical to working in the field of cyber security. Students learn to prevent and mitigate security risks by implementing various security protocol such as:

  • Encryption
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Risk assessments and profiling
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Network security and VPNs

This course equips students with practical knowledge and skills needed in jobs such as:

  • Cyber defense manager
  • Information system security professional
  • Incident responder

System Security and Cryptography

The subjects in this course focus on systems analysis and security. Students in this course learn to protect critical systems and the data stored on them. In addition to system security, students also complete a cryptography course, which offers math and algorithm-focused approaches to data security. Jobs requiring cryptography and security knowledge include:

  • Security engineer
  • Blockchain software engineer
  • Information assurance engineer

Information Systems Assurance

Information assurance is one of the most important aspects of cyber security and involves mitigating the data security risks. In this course, students learn to protect sensitive data and information and gain skills for job such as:

  • Information security manager
  • Systems engineer
  • Information assurance engineer

Security Audit and Penetration Testing

Conducting security risk assessments is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining digital security. In addition to the essentials of security and risk management, this course also teaches students the foundations of ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing. Jobs requiring such skills include:

  • Software reverse engineer
  • Penetration tester
  • Ethical hacker
  • Application security engineer

Network Security Concepts and Applications

Network security includes VPNs, packet switching, network designs and so on. Developing a sound understanding of this field is critical for cyber security professionals. Student with network security skills can secure jobs such as:

  • Network security analyst
  • Information security engineer
  • Cyber defense analyst

In addition to the above mentioned, a cybersecurity degree may also include courses like; Cybersecurity Law and Policy, Secure System Administration, Hardware Security, Organizational Cyber Security, and other courses depending on the type of the degree and the educational institution.


Cybersecurity is a dynamic industry with high demand for talent. Earning a degree in cybersecurity can help you secure a lucrative career path with room to grow. However, making an informed decision is important.

It is recommended that you visit the official website of the educational institutions offering cybersecurity courses and degree programs to understand the admission requirements, the program curriculum and other factors. This will help you make an educated decision that may align with your long-term career plans and personal learning goals.

Interested in More…

Why Study Network Security?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Cybersecurity Degree?

Ways to Work in Cyber Security Without a Degree!

20 of the Best Cyber Security Activities for Students!

What Is the Best Job in Cyber Security?

by Amit Doshi

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