Cyber Security for the Average American

According to statistics, the average American spends 10 hours per day using technology. Whether it be a cellphone, tablet or laptop, that’s more than 40 hours a week online. We think that we’re safe, but part of living in this 21st century is understanding that our so-called private information can easily accessed by the wrong person and made public. I am sure you have heard, at some point, news pertaining to identity theft or data breaches, with the effects being felt by many. And while there are companies working around the clock to protect themselves and their consumers, there is always going to be someone who feels as if they’ll be the one to succeed and break the code of the constant new online security systems that are constantly being released.

Cyber security does not just exist on a business level. You would be surprised at the information that a simple cell phone or tablet may hold, that although you may not necessarily think much of, someone else finds very valuable. Let’s say that a hacker is able to obtain your email address, he could send an email to your contacts with a link for them to click on, that once they do, leaves a door open for their information to be stolen as well. This kind of security not only protects us, but helps to ensure protection to those that connect to us.

There are many things that can be affected by breaches in security. A few examples of them are, emails, phones, text messages, bank accounts, paychecks. It’s important for us, as civilians, to constantly be aware and report anything that looks suspicious.

After doing research and learning this, I have taken an interest in cyber investigation. Someone who identifies, examines and catches criminals via internet. It amazes me how the internet can be so liberating, yet deadly. In one moment, your mind is able to expand and absorb freely from what you see, but in the same moment, it can be dangerous if you don’t know how to navigate your way around correctly and that includes being mindful of the information that you share and allow to be shared.

I feel as if the Cyber Crime Investigator role is the most beneficial for my interest. I wholeheartedly believe that if I do what I love, it won’t seem like work. However, love doesn’t pay the bills. The first and an important reason I took interest in this field is because of the demand for cyber security employees. It is said that Cyber security demand is increasing three times the pace of the rest of the jobs in the IT market, which lowers my chance of being without a career. High demand and low supply will leave me with the ability to navigate the market and create the career of my dreams. As long as the internet is around, there will always be a need. Knowing that I have job security helps to relieve the worry that I will not be able to obtain a position in the workforce once I graduate.

Another benefit to this career, to me, is the fact that this is a career that I am in the “background.” There are those that love to be center stage and then there are those that love to run the show in the background. It doesn’t mean that what we do isn’t important, it just means that we aren’t necessarily praised for it every time, which I am okay with.

The third benefit to becoming a cyber crime investigator, is the amount of time that it takes to become one. Upon obtaining a bachelor’s degree and competing 10-17 weeks of training for the Secret Service and 21 weeks of trading for the FBI, I would be qualified and legally able to start working in the field. Compared to going to college for 5+ years and coming out with an enormous amount of debt that will take most of, if not all of my life to repay. The entry level salary for this position is anywhere from $45,770 to $59,505 depending on your geographic location and experience level. Which, I would have obtained while completing training due to the fact that many government jobs offer internships to those who are looking to eventually work for them. An example would be the FBI and Secret Service, who both have volunteer internship programs.

Did you know that according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, identity theft, fraud and computer and network intrusions are the top cyber crimes in America? I find this intriguing and maybe that is what has really peaked my interest for this field. It’s like present day Nancy Drew, just without the suit. One of the biggest pros of this career is being able to help others. I have known a few of people who have had their information stolen and it caused havoc in their lives. They were barely sleeping, spending days arginine with the bank that they didn’t spend thousands of dollars even though it was from their account and having their funds frozen all because someone was able to get a hold of their information and use it to their advantage without a care in the world.

I truly feel a sense of satisfaction knowing I’ve helped someone dig their way out of a hole that they weren’t supposed to be in, in the first place. I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have to. When it seems like it’s the end of the world and there is no way out and no light at the end of the tunnel. You know that moment of relief when you find out that there is? That you’ll still come out on top even when everything is going on? Yes, that feeling. Well that’s the relief I love to see on others face, when they can leave from me with a peace of mind knowing that I have done, am doing and will continue to do everything in my powder to resolve whatever they have going on.

What makes Cyber Crimes even worse is the fact that there isn’t necessarily a face to put the action to, all the time. Sometimes hackers and scammers are able to get away without a trace and never facing the well deserved repercussions they should have gotten for stealing your information, but that’s unfortunately, the nature of the business.

The fact that cyber crime doesn’t get as much recognition as it should, is a challenge in itself. The lack of awareness has the ability to allow others to feel as if it isn’t as much of a threat as it actually is. Which in turn, caused some to be more relaxed and not as cautious to hackers and scams coming their way.

Earlier in this paper, I stated that it is a high demand for this particular career, which is very true. However, the lack of manpower to implement the required measures is another challenge that is faced. Along with the facts that hackers are constantly creating new software in order to find different ways to obtain someone’s personal information. They are able to create this software a lot faster, each time a new one is created, which in turn hinders the government from identifying the origin of the crimes, all of the time.

According to the NY Post, in the spring of 2016, Russian hackers were able to gain access to the control rooms of multiple US utility companies, and they could have caused power outages, very easily, according to federal officials. The breach caused relationships to be dampened between the power companies and some of their vendors, due to the hackers. They were able to do this by sending phishing emails to corporate workers, who in turn ended up sharing their login credentials and the hackers used those to login to the network and steal confidential information about the systems and how they operate.

Another fraudulent action that falls under cyber crime is identity theft. A real world example of this is some years back, in West Palm Beach, a man was reportedly using stolen information for online orders. He even got to the point of using a driver’s license with the wrong name on it. He was using the name of the tenant that lived in his home before him. This is a good example of why it is good to have identity monitoring because even after you are long gone, it only takes the smallest piece of information for someone to be able to obtain more information than you thought capable, and enough to tarnish your name.

This career is a good fit for me because I have the qualities that I believe are necessary and would help me to succeed in this field. Not only do you need to be someone that others can depend on to get things done, but you also have to be someone that is capable of empathizing with others in stressful situations. You have to be someone that is patient, because it can take months and sometimes even years to find a hacker that is more experienced and is able to navigate through the online world without getting caught. Being able to handle pressure well is also a commendable trait in this field. In the midst of chaos, you have to be able to keep a level head and not allow the pressure to cause you to stress out. Additionally, being able to handle pressure will prevent you from bringing problems from the job home.

All in all, cyber crime investigators are very beneficial to the the internet world. They are able to help prevent and protect personal information from wing stolen and used against you in the long run, which can apply to personal or business. It allows employees to be able to get their work done. Without cyber security, employees would constantly be at risk for a potential cyber attack. A “regular” investigator is re-active, but a cyber crime investigator is pro-active. Although, the scope of their work does require them to be re-active in many cases. Once the damage has already been done and they are trying to figure out who, why and what was done. However, they are are also trained to be pro-active. This career field will keep a person in their feet because there’s always going to be someone try to find a new method of obtaining someone’s personal information, without getting caught. A cyber criminal is the perfect field for me, it allows me to be my true self and all the while, still be able to do what I love, which is helping others, in an ever changing and new way. Although the job description is the same, all hackers aren’t. This field is designed for those that enjoy a challenge and someone that enjoys a career where there’s something new everyday.

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