Employment in Cyber Security

Malaika Naidu

In almost any industry across the world, the job market is struggling with issues of uneven pay, vacancies and, at the same time, unemployment. One major issue with the employment market is the representation of minor groups and women.

            This blog will shed light on the Cyber Security industry and the increasing amount of job opportunities the world over. With businesses becoming more aware of the need for cyber security, there is a rise in jobs in the field. There are a couple of reasons why a considerable amount of the workforce continues to be unemployed despite the vacancies in cyber security. Some of these reasons are outlined below.

             Firstly, there is a lack of awareness of such jobs and the skills required for the same. Few people understand the scope of work in the cyber security sphere and even fewer understand the skills required. Often, potential candidates assume that cyber security jobs will be too technical and/or that they require specialised degrees. For women, the issue is that they are often discouraged from jobs in cyber security. This creates a further gap in the vacancies and the applicants for such jobs.

            But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Of late, we are witnessing a steady change in these trends. Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading research organisation and trusted source for statistics in cyber security and cyber economy, predicts that women will come to represent almost 20% of the global cybersecurity force by 2020. This number might not seem large but compare it to the current figure of about 6% and then it seems quite impressive. The number could be even higher if we include risk, privacy, and compliance and audit functions of cyber space. This is consistent with fresh research done in mid-2019 by Boardroom Insiders which states that 20% of Fortune 500 global Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are now women, the highest percentage ever.

            Even at the RSA Conference this year, the world’s largest cybersecurity event, nearly 40% of the keynote speakers were women. Such numbers contribute to a ripple tide of social change, showing other women the potential for pursuing careers in cyber security. With change in the private sector, the public sector is sure to follow soon. Though cybersecurity might be one of those few industries that the public sector will take notice of before the private sector. Security is and always will be a primary concern for governments and state-agencies.

            In terms of individual skill, as mentioned earlier, there is an underlying perception that an applicant needs to come from a technology background. While this is not wrong, it’s not the whole truth either. Like most other industries, the cyber industry also has multiple types of job roles - tech and non-tech. Industry experts believe that the tech part of the job can be learnt over time and could be required for exponential growth. However, the more critical skills are attention to detail, communication, and the ability to work across organisations and teams.

            Many people who are successful in the cyberspace industry today have learnt on the job. A common way to shift over to this industry is to start at content and editing technical documents. Another role that can be filled by someone who is from a non-tech background is scanning for anomalies and patterns. In fact, some companies prefer hiring individuals from non-tech backgrounds so that they will focus on the patterns and not on the content that they must sift through.

Interestingly, research has proven that these are skills that women naturally have or are easily able to hone. Especially when it comes to communication skills and diversity in experience. Security and safety are matters that need to be handled with deftness and care. The high stakes of cybersecurity require clear communication and follow through, and these are areas where women often excel. When advising business and other entities on their security policies, cyber specialists need to be able to emphasize the problems and solutions convincingly and often to clients from non-tech backgrounds. Women are known to handle these situations and negotiations better than men. Diversity in experience, however, is a factor that applies to both genders, not just women.

Cybercrime is fast-growing and evolving; the industry needs people from different specializations and experiences to counter it. Cybersecurity needs to tap into the experience of people from different geographies, socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities. Why? Because the goal, when looking for suspicious activity, is to be able to spot the details without losing sight of the bigger picture. If only a certain segment of people, in this case those from tech backgrounds, continue to determine cybersecurity policies, then some patterns are bound to be missed. Cyber security can never be unidimensional.

            So, companies are looking for people, who bring collaboration skills, communication, varied experiences and also emotional intelligence to this growing industry. Possibly, the scales are tipped in favour of women because they have proven to be more cautious and risk averse.

Do you agree? If not, what are your views on employability in cyberspace?
Will cyberspace continue to be male dominated? If so, why?                      

Future of Law and Technology

Malaika Naidu

The relationship between law and technology forms a strong basis for discussion and debate. Both are intertwined, and any discussion would be incomplete without acknowledging the other. Any conversation regarding the legal profession has to take into consideration the role that technology will play in forming its future. Similarly, the development of technology must acknowledge and consider the legal framework within which it operates.

Today, we see most of the world going into a gig economy. A gig economy is a market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent contract employees. The gig economy has its pros and cons. For starters, it’s great for employees because it gives them the freedom to move between jobs without being tied to one establishment. Also, it works well for employers because their human resources costs reduce. Instead of keeping a roster of employees permanently on their payroll, they only keep key employees and hire part-time / freelancers as and when required.
This modern work structure is now echoing through the legal world too. Not as rapidly as in most other fields of business, but eventually, it will.

In times of economic hardships, clients expect high quality and efficiency, especially given that they are billed by the hour! To be successful, lawyers and firms will have to acknowledge the benefits that technology has to offer and integrate these features to best serve their clients. Fortunately, legal practice does consist of some repetitive tasks which can be automated. The opportunities are boundless.

On the flip side, with automation and new technologies, there is increased uncertainty for the workforce. Companies can now automate processes and identify solutions quickly and more effectively, without having to invest in heavy human resources for the same.

Role of Tech in Law

In today’s market, there are management softwares that help your firm track time spent on each file, relevant documents, clients’ billing and such. Making operations more efficient. Contract management software has become a popular tool too. With a database of existing drafts, it allows users to create contracts and review them without tediously copy-pasting from random templates. This software also makes it possible to track the cycle of the contract and set alerts for relevant dates pertaining to the contract. 

Even so, legal data analytics remains perhaps the most promising innovation. This analysis is used to extract information that could answer how different cases are related, the probability of a judge’s ruling, what are the chances of success based on previous cases in the same and other jurisdictions, etc. What we have come to know as Big Data, is now trending as Big Law in the legal world. This new approach will allow practicing lawyers and legal academics to conduct better quality research in a shorter time, thereby increasing efficiency and output, which is exactly the demand in this fast-paced market.

Even tools as simple as chatbots are making their mark. Often, a consumer needs a single question answered or basic references. Instead of doing arbitrary research on Google or depending on random word of mouth advice like…
“I think you need to file a complaint with the police first and then the cyber cell…”
“You definitely need a criminal lawyer; all courts don’t do civil matters…”
… consumers can now pop in a question to the website chatbots of legal firms. There is also the convenience of immediately knowing whether the firm can or cannot help you in your matter. Won’t that be handy!

Think about it, crime is becoming far more advanced with information technology and internet just waiting to be abused. Justice systems might as well get on board instead of resisting change. What are your views on adapting technology into the legal world? 

Basic Steps to Protect Yourself Online (Part – 1)

Malaika Naidu

There is no doubt that cybercrime is an ongoing and a very real threat. The first thing that comes to mind when most people read cybercrime is financial fraud and data leaks. However, cybercrime is constantly evolving and growing like a beast that seems untameable. Every time we think we have seen the worst or the most damaging internet crime, a new threat surfaces to take the digital world by storm.

Now let’s be brutally honest, if a hacker, or any other cyber-criminal, worth her salt decides to take on an average person, there is absolutely nothing that will actually stop them. However, you may deter the hacker and create obstacles that could potentially save you. Either she will go looking for an easier target or even if she persists your countermeasures will give you enough time to protect your data and save yourself from becoming a victim.

If it’s an ex or a disgruntled acquaintance with a personal agenda, well, let’s deal with that later.

So, how do you deter a cyber-criminal from coming after you? Much like in real life you would use a lock on your front door or an alarm in your car, there are simple measures and practices that can help protect you against at least the basic and most common cyber threats.

The Three-Step Plan is – (a) recognise cyberthreats, (b) take basic precautions to protect yourself, and (c) identify whom to ask for help if you become a victim of cybercrime. Let’s break down the precautions.

1) Go Beyond Just an Anti-Virus
First of all, get a paid package! Free versions are not up to date and CANNOT give you real time protection. Anti-virus softwares regularly update their algorithms and these are available only in the paid versions. Even though anti-viruses protect your online activity, they are not sufficient for complete protection.

2) Create Passwords Stronger than Hercules
Right off the top, do NOT use the same or similar passwords across websites. You can’t have Avengers123 for your email and Avengers456 for your Facebook. Figure out a system that allows you to create unique passwords for each login. Ideally, the pattern should have letters (LARGE and small caps) along with numbers and symbols.

Ex: Website Name – number of letters in website’s name – a symbol – end with ZXC (random string of characters – constant in every password).
So, you would get:
Gmail: gmail5@ZXC / Facebook: facebook8@ZXC / Quora: quora5@ZXC

TIP: Remember the logic and not the password!
Or use a good password generator.

3. Manage Social Media Settings
Clearly mark what information on your profiles is private and what is public. Always be mindful of the data you share. For instance, if you post your pet’s name or reveal your mother’s maiden name, you might expose the answers to two common security questions.

4. Make Your Wi-Fi Impenetrable as Fort Knox
A good starting point is to have a strong password and a virtual private network (VPN) when using public Wi-Fi. A VPN will encrypt data leaving your device till it reaches its destination. If anyone intercepts the data, it won’t be decipherable. Similarly, never leave your hotspot open without a sturdy password and share your hotspot only with those you trust.

5. Update Software Faster Than Seasons Change
Your operating systems (Windows, iOS, Linux, among others) and internet security softwares must be updated immediately when alerted. Cybercriminals often exploit these bugs and lapses to gain access to your computer or computer network. Patching these bugs makes you a less likely victim of cyber-crime.

These are just the tip of the iceberg and everyday doable precautions that will make you less vulnerable to cyber fraud and cyber-crime. Depending on the sensitivity of information you hold or the value you stake on your data, you will have to accordingly amp up your security systems.

To be honest, fighting cybercrime is everybody’s business. Think of it as an obligation to do your part in the fight against cybercrime. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. And comment below with other precautions you take. In part two of this article, we’ll incorporate some of your suggestions!

Simple precautions taken by you, can collectively make the internet a little safer.

China's coming digital currency is likely to be a crypto currency

China's coming digital currency is likely to be a crypto currency

In January, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced that it is planning to launch a digital currency and that development is already well underway as it has been working with a group of experts on the project for the past two years.

China is expected to launch a digital currency, which is likely to be a crypto currency based on blockchain technology.

The new Chinese crypto-currency would be issued by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), which will use its control over the currency to reduce money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal acts.

Other countries that are developing their own crypto currencies include Philippines, Mexico and Russia. Thailand is working on its plans for a cashless society.

Did you know?

  • Nearly 75% of the Bitcoin that is traded globally is through the Chinese exchange, Bitcoin China (BTCC).
  • Most of the hardware used to mine Bitcoin is produced in China.
  • Chinese miners are thought to account for 30% to 60% of the total mining of Bitcoin.

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/the-coming-e-yuan-the-nation-columnist