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Cyber-security is the process of protecting computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks and illegal access. The practice includes maintaining security measures, using anti-malware and antivirus software, and employing firewalls to prevent intrusion.

Careers in cybersecurity vary depending on your education and skills, but the job outlook is promising for anyone with a passion for computers, technology, and information security. With a degree or certification, you can secure a job as a computer security specialist or consultant for a range of organizations across the public and private sectors.

Various colleges and universities offer degrees in cyber security. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for entry-level positions, but many employers prefer a master’s.

Earning a master’s degree takes one to two years, and it can help you develop the technical knowledge necessary to protect computer networks and other electronic infrastructure from attack. The curriculum in a master’s program covers topics like network defense techniques, countermeasures and the ethical, legal, and practical challenges of cybersecurity.

Maintaining computer and cyber security requires the use of software, hardware, and other tools to protect three entities: endpoints (computers, smart devices, and routers), networks, and the cloud. Common tools include next-generation firewalls, DNS filtering, malware protection, antivirus software, and email security solutions.

As threats to cybersecurity increase, organizations need a more proactive approach than in the past. Legacy approaches, in which resources are focused on defending against known malware, are no longer adequate. More in-depth visibility and investigation is needed to identify and neutralize advanced persistent threats and other sophisticated cyber threat actors.