It’s not often that you hear of a ransomware attack which has led to a data breach or a devastating effect on businesses and people across all sectors. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, focusing on everything from personal health records to credit card information.

The role of a cybersecurity professional is to defend against these attacks by looking for weaknesses and taking preventative measures. To do this effectively they require certain skills that are both technical and non-technical.

To stay up to date with most recent hacking techniques, it’s essential for cybersecurity professionals to be familiar with a variety of computer systems and platforms. This includes a knowledge of programming languages, forensic investigation techniques and specific tools (e.g. the ones used for penetration testing and digital forensics). For instance an analyst in cybersecurity needs to understand how IoT devices connect to the Internet and how they can be hacked.

It is also crucial for cybersecurity experts to be capable of identifying, assessing and prioritize risks for their organization. This is because the nearly endless ways hackers can cause issues can make it impossible to protect against every threat. Security professionals know that passwords should be long and complex, and should contain the combination of lower and uppercase characters, symbols, and numbers. Also, they should not include personal information such as birthdays or family members names.

To be a successful cyber expert you need to feel empathy for the victims and perpetrators of cyberattacks. This helps them comprehend what a hacker might think, which can help them build more effective defenses.