Cybersecurity: Unveiling the essentials with a comprehensive study plan for your journey
The schedule below is just a foundation of the main studies and knowledge to acquire as a Cyber Security professional. The most important thing is always to stay updated. Find your career goal within the sea of possibilities that our field offers, and deepen your studies even further.
- OSI Model and TCP/IP: Study the OSI reference model and its application in computer networks. Deep dive into the TCP/IP model and its key protocols.
- Network Architecture: Explore different network topologies, such as star, bus, and ring. Study network components, such as switches, routers, and gateways.
- Network Protocols: Learn about common network protocols like IP, DHCP, DNS, and ARP. Research routing protocols, such as RIP, OSPF, and BGP.
- Wireless Networks and Security: Study wireless network concepts, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Explore security measures in wireless networks, such as authentication and encryption.
Read the book "Modern Operating Systems" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum. Learn about fundamental operating systems concepts, such as processes, threads, and memory management.
- Operating Systems (Linux): Study the principles and basic commands of the Linux operating system. Deep dive into advanced topics, such as file permissions and service configuration.
- Operating Systems (Windows): Familiarise yourself with the interface and functionalities of the Windows operating system. Explore advanced features, such as Active Directory and security policies.
- Virtualisation: Learn about operating system virtualisation using tools like VMware or VirtualBox. Explore the benefits and use cases of virtualisation.
- Review and Practice: Review the studied topics. Perform practical exercises, such as network configuration and operating system administration.
Cryptography and Data Security
Study the fundamentals of cryptography, including symmetric and asymmetric encryption concepts. Read the book "Cryptography and Network Security: Principles and Practice" by William Stallings.
- Symmetric Cryptography Algorithms: Learn about major symmetric encryption algorithms, such as AES, DES, and 3DES. Understand operation modes, such as ECB, CBC, and CTR.
- Asymmetric Cryptography Algorithms: Study asymmetric encryption algorithms, such as RSA and ElGamal. Understand the difference between public and private keys.
- Hash Functions and Digital Signatures: Deep dive into hash functions, such as SHA-256 and MD5, and their role in data integrity. Explore digital signatures and how they are used for authentication and non-repudiation.
- Security Protocols: Study widely used security protocols like SSL/TLS, IPSec, and SSH. Understand how these protocols ensure communication security.
- Key Management: Learn about cryptographic key management, including secure key distribution and key generation. Study key exchange protocols, such as Diffie-Hellman.
- Applied Cryptography: Explore the application of cryptography in different areas, such as network security, data storage security, and cryptography in mobile devices. Research homomorphic encryption and cloud encryption.
- Cryptanalysis and Cryptographic Attacks: Learn about cryptanalysis techniques, including brute force attacks, chosen plaintext attacks, and collision attacks. Study the principles behind the security of cryptographic algorithms.
- Review and Practice: Review the studied concepts. Perform practical exercises on cryptography, such as algorithm implementation and security analysis.
Application and Web Security
Study the basics of web application security, including authentication, authorisation, and session management. Read the book "The Web Application Hacker's Handbook" by Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto.
- Code Injection: Learn about code injection vulnerabilities, such as SQL Injection, XSS (Cross-Site Scripting), and Command Injection. Explore prevention and mitigation techniques for these vulnerabilities.
- Authentication and Session Management: Study best practices for secure authentication and session management in web applications. Understand common vulnerabilities in this area, such as brute force attacks and session hijacking.
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Deep dive into CSRF and XSS vulnerabilities and their security implications. Learn how to identify and remediate these vulnerabilities in web applications.
- API Security: Study security principles related to API exposure and consumption. Learn about authentication, authorisation, and protection against common threats in APIs.
- Cookie Management and Authentication Tokens: Explore best practices for secure cookie and authentication token management in web applications. Understand the threats related to cookie or token theft or manipulation.
- Input Validation and Data Sanitization: Learn about input validation and data sanitisation techniques to prevent attacks such as XSS and SQL Injection. Study key libraries and frameworks available to facilitate this task.
- Security in Web Application Development: Explore secure development processes, including code reviews, security testing, and continuous integration. Learn about secure development methodologies, such as DevSecOps.
- Web Application Security Testing: Learn about security testing techniques, including static code analysis, automated scanning, and penetration testing. Participate in challenges and CTFs (Capture The Flag) related to web application security.
- Review and Practice: Perform an overall review of the studied concepts. Engage in practical exercises on web application security, such as vulnerability identification and exploitation.
Governance and Compliance
Study the basics of information security governance and regulatory compliance. Read the book "Information Security Governance: A Practical Development and Implementation Approach" by Krag Brotby and Ken Sigler.
- Regulatory Framework and Compliance Standards: Deep dive into key laws and regulations related to information security, such as GDPR, LGPD, and ISO 27001. Understand the implications and compliance requirements associated with these standards.
- Governance Frameworks and Internal Controls: Study governance frameworks and internal controls, such as COBIT and COSO, and their application in information security. Explore principles and best practices for establishing an effective governance framework.
- Risk Management: Learn about methodologies and processes for identifying, assessing, and mitigating information security risks. Study best practices for developing and implementing risk management plans.
- Security Policies and Procedures: Understand the importance of well-defined and consistent security policies and procedures. Learn how to create and implement effective information security policies.
- Auditing and Compliance: Explore security auditing and compliance processes, including conducting internal and external audits. Learn about interpreting audit results and best practices for enhancing compliance.
- Incident Management and Emergency Response: Study incident management and emergency response processes, including creating response plans and conducting simulation exercises. Understand the importance of effective communication and coordination during a security crisis.
- Security Awareness and Training: Learn how to develop information security awareness and training programs to promote a security culture within organisations. Study methods for engaging and monitoring the effectiveness of awareness programs.
- Systems and Infrastructure Auditing: Deep dive into systems and infrastructure auditing techniques, including control analysis and vulnerability identification. Study auditing tools and practices to assess the compliance of IT systems and infrastructure.
- Review and Practice: Perform an overall review of the studied concepts. Engage in practical exercises on auditing and compliance, such as policy analysis and simulation audits.
As you embark on your Cyber Security journey, it's crucial to tailor your study plan to your individual needs and time availability. In addition to dedicating time for additional research and hands-on practice in virtual labs, deepening your knowledge through supplementary readings is important. A valuable strategy for those starting in the field is to explore platforms like LinkedIn to search for job-related keywords in Cyber Security. This helps understand the current market needs and provides insights into the specific requirements for each position.
Thoroughly investigating job descriptions, such as SOC Analyst, Penetration Tester, or AppSec Engineer, can offer a clear understanding of the technical skills and interpersonal competencies demanded. Additionally, analysing the career paths of established experts in the field can provide valuable guidance on career development and future specialisations.
Participating in forums and online groups is another excellent way to connect with students and professionals in the industry. These communities offer a conducive environment for discussions, idea exchange, and networking. Moreover, many of these platforms frequently host webinars, workshops, and other educational events that can enrich your understanding and practical experience in the field.
Remember, Cyber Security is a dynamic and constantly evolving field, requiring continuous updating and adaptive learning. Stay curious, engaged, and always open to new learnings and challenges. By doing so, you will be well-positioned to seize emerging opportunities and shape a rewarding career in Cyber Security.
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