On March 24, 2021, Udacity hosted Christine Izuakor, Ph.D., cybersecurity expert, to field questions about cybersecurity from the online community via Twitter.
Cybersecurity, also known as computer security, is an indispensable tech field focused on the protection of computing systems and networks. Protective measures include the safeguarding of information, hardware, software, and computing services.
Here are highlights from Udacity’s one-hour-long “Ask Udacity Anything” Twitter feed with host Christine Izuakor. Topics include trends in cybersecurity, career skill development, cloud security, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Q: How and why did you get into cybersecurity? How do you keep yourself updated?
Tweet: Phew this is a long story lol. I was trying to be an eye doctor and failed (thank goodness!). So, I started exploring other paths and came across a cybersecurity class in school. I fell in love immediately and never looked back! All of my cybersecurity classes were just so fun.
I stay up to date by being an eternal student. I am always reading the latest news, attending cyber events and more. I also love being a professor because I believe that the best way to master something is to learn it well enough to teach it. By teaching, I am always learning.
Q: What is the most surprising thing about working in cybersecurity?
Tweet: I was surprised by how broad a career in cybersecurity can be. Initially, I thought I would be at a desk all day. When I got into cyber awareness, for example, I had the opportunity to travel the world teaching employees about cyber. So many different paths!
Q: What are the most popular trends in cybersecurity in a post-COVID19 world?
Tweet: Remote work security is huge right now. People are working with sensitive data in their kitchens, on beaches, and more. Data has no boundaries in the post-COVID era.
Attackers are also capitalizing on strained healthcare systems with growing ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, and more.
Fraud is also huge. Economic volatility and relief packages have created an unfortunate climate of increased digital fraud amongst cybercriminals.
Q: Which branch of cybersecurity do you see growing the most in the next couple of years?
Tweet: I’m super interested in the intersection of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Just as attackers are using AI to do bad things, ethical cyber folks can use it to get much more efficient with prevention, detection, and response to threats.
Of course, cloud security, as well as conquering security in the “remote era,” will continue to grow in importance as businesses adapt to the “new norm” we live in. Post-COVID, I believe the changes to the way we work will continue to live on.
Q: Do you think AI and machine learning can help with data security and cybersecurity?
Tweet: Absolutely! I believe that AI and machine learning will fundamentally shift the way that we approach cyber resilience in the future. I envision a day where humans and machines work hand in hand to create the strongest cyber army we’ve ever seen.
Q: Cybercrimes are a growing problem these days. What do you suggest we can do as an individual and a professional to be vigilant?
Tweet: The biggest thing is to dedicate to continuous learning about cyber threats. Awareness is the most critical step in my opinion. You can avoid a lot by knowing the basics of cybersecurity.
On a more tactical level, be sure to cover the basics. Use strong passwords/managers, keep systems updated, think before clicking on links, and most importantly know how to respond or where to get help if you think you’re at risk or have been breached.
Q: What are the biggest challenges organizations face while implementing cybersecurity? And, how can students help?
Tweet: One of the biggest issues that comes to mind is the huge talent shortage in the industry. Companies need cybersecurity resources and help desperately, but oftentimes they are understaffed and have a hard time finding qualified experts.
This, however, is a great opportunity for students and enthusiasts to become those qualified experts businesses need. The keyword is “qualified” which I define as simply knowing your stuff and being able to prove it through credentials, experience, and more.
Q: What skills are necessary for a cybersecurity professional to make successful careers in this field?
Tweet: Domain skills are important for whatever area of cybersecurity you are in. For example, if [you] want to be a pentester you need to learn to break into systems. If you want to get into AppSec, learn all that you can [about app] development. And so on…
But also, don’t neglect soft skills. Cyber professionals need to be able to understand, articulate, and reduce risk. That skillset spans beyond technical expertise. It’s about communication, critical thinking, and more.
Lastly, experience is king! Hands-on experience, projects, and anything you can do to put what you learn into practice is important to growing a career in cybersecurity.
Q: Will you hire a Udacity cybersecurity Nanodegree graduate at Cyber Pop-up?
Tweet: Thanks for the question! We are always looking to grow our cybersecurity freelancer base with the best and brightest talent! Also, one of our biggest passions at @cyberpopupshop is helping remove barriers to entry for folks growing their careers and skillsets in cybersecurity.
That said, we love connecting with students, cyber enthusiasts, and seasoned professionals from programs like this one and beyond. Please check out our site for more info on opportunities!
The Udacity team is grateful to Christine Izuakor for graciously answering questions about cybersecurity from curious people everywhere.
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