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As the digital world becomes ever more complex, the security measures that protect our computers, smart devices and networks are constantly evolving. As the number of attacks and data breaches rise, it’s essential to understand how cyber security works and what you can do to stay safe.

Cybersecurity protects against threats that target people, businesses and the critical processes that power our lives. Cyberattacks include phishing, ransomware, SQL injection, man-in-the-middle attacks and other forms of hacking that can steal your credit card or personal information. They also include distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which hammer a targeted server, website or network by overwhelming it with messages, connections or packets to slow or prevent access. They also include advanced persistent threats, in which attackers remain undetected for long periods of time to steal data.

There are many ways to build a career in cyber security, including earning a four-year college degree, working for an established security company and starting your own business. Whichever path you choose, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various entry-level positions within the industry to get an idea of what roles might be right for you. You might find that the responsibilities of these jobs vary slightly, but all have similar goals and can help you gain the skills to eventually work your way up through a company’s ranks. The most common roles in the cybersecurity field are security analyst, security engineer and security architect. Each is designed to address different aspects of the threat landscape.