Ever since the beginning of the digital age, there has been cybercrime and as technology advances, so to does the tools available to cybercriminals. It is no secret that security breaches, hacks and data leaks pose a major threat to the modern business.
20 years ago, Happy99 the computer worm first appeared, invisibly attaching itself to emails, displayed fireworks to hide the changes being made and wished the user a Happy New Year. The worm would install itself and run in the background of a victim's machine, without their knowledge. It is generally considered the first virus to propagate by email and has served as a template for the creation of other self-propagating viruses.
More recently, in the United States, the entire nations power grid was infiltrated by Cyber Terrorists causing signal outages at the grid's "low-impact" control center, proving that no organisation regardless of their power or budget is unsusceptible to attack.
With various other first of their kind attacks in between the almost two decades separating these events, It seems that the method with which cybercrime can be executed is endless. So it is no wonder that companies are prioritising cybersecurity in 2020 and beyond.
While technical skills are ultimately what defines a cyber security professional, traits are often overlooked and undervalued
So as companies begin to evaluate and increase their cybersecurity efforts moving forward, what should they look for in cybersecurity professionals?
Here are eight personality traits of a great cybersecurity professional...
1. Diligent. In a pressured environment with a firm’s security at stake, a successful candidate needs to be detail-oriented and constantly pushing projects to completion. One small oversight could lead to attacks, so cybersecurity specialists need to scrutinise every detail. They also need to value achievement and make an impact.
2. Composed. The enterprise systems they are protecting from attacks are always under threat. Cybersecurity agents naturally need to have a sense of urgency, but it is crucial that they stay composed handling cyber threats. Unnecessary outbursts when the pressure is rising can be counterproductive and shift their attention away from what is at stake.
3. Altruistic. Cybersecurity professionals should want to help people. While they are working all day with systems and programming, protecting and helping people is at the core of this profession. They should work well with others and avoid isolating themselves. Fighting threats will require cooperation and trust between colleagues as they are striving together towards the same security goals.
4. Scientific. The perfect cybersecurity professional wants to solve problems using data and analytic skills. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated in their attacks and this requires individuals who are highly technical and value evidence-based decision making.
5. Inquisitive. The world of cybersecurity is ever-changing. When threats are prevented, new ones emerge which can require a completely different set of skills than the ones needed previously. A successful cybersecurity candidate is imaginative, curious and creative. They need to figure things out quickly, show the motivation to learn and be open to new ideas.
6. Responsive. In cybersecurity, things can go wrong quickly and you might be blamed for breaches that weren’t your fault. If someone in the company opens a phishing email and exposes sensitive information, you might be held accountable. It is thus very important for a cybersecurity worker to be open and responsive to criticisms and avoid being passive-aggressive.
7. Sceptical. ‘Trust no one’ would be a useful motto for a cybersecurity worker. To get ahead of the game and prevent attacks means sometimes having to think like a hacker. This means maintaining suspicion about what’s going on around you because, in a world of constant threats, naivety can be a dangerous thing.
8. Modest. Those that tend to excel in cybersecurity typically prefer to avoid the spotlight. A successful cybersecurity agenda is not egotistical or fame-hungry and instead favours a more low-key lifestyle. After all, most of the well-known names in cybersecurity are notorious cyber-criminals.