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Cyber-security defends Internet-connected hardware and software data from cyber threats, protecting against phishing attacks, malware infections, data breaches, and financial losses. Qualified professionals work in industries like banking, retail, e-tailers, healthcare, and government to install firewalls, create security plans, guard customer information, and monitor activity for signs of a breach.

Cyberattacks can be perpetrated by single actors for financial gain, groups who attack to cause social disruption, or by states seeking to gather intelligence. Malware (malicious software) is the most common cyberattack, with email attachments and links to websites being a key entry point. Another dangerous type of attack is a Trojan horse, which looks one way on the surface but does something else when executed. To reduce exploitation risk, it’s important to regularly update software and to use two-factor authentication for high-level user accounts with unrestricted permissions.

The cybersecurity field requires a mix of technical skills and problem-solving ability. To improve your knowledge and understanding, it’s recommended to learn programming, take courses and earn certifications, and participate in Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competitions and online challenges that not only develop coding skills but also train creativity and puzzle-solving abilities.

Cybersecurity safeguards all types of sensitive data against theft and loss, including protected health information (PHI), intellectual property, financial information, and government and business information systems. It would be impossible to enjoy many of the modern conveniences we rely on today, such as the power grid and water treatment facilities, without a solid defense against attackers.