Sep 18, 2021
Chatty Garrate

Can Software Engineers Do Cybersecurity?

Cyber Security
protection
Chatty Garrate discusses different cybersecurity threats organisations are facing and how software engineers can be retrained to prevent these attacks

Cyber security threats continue to cause harm to individuals and organisations. As technology continues to develop, different kinds of information are available in the tech world. This information, which is most likely sensitive, is what hackers and cyber criminals aim to get and manipulate.

All industries are susceptible to cyber security threats. According to The Global Risks Report, 2021 by the World Economic Forum identified cyber security failure is the 4th most critical perceived threat to the world. And now that a lot of companies embraced the remote work setup because of the pandemic, cloud-based platforms and systems are more widely used than before. The work-from-home structure has increased the importance of effective cyber security practices for companies.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security is the work of protecting systems, networks, programs, devices, and data from damages, attacks, unauthorized use, and malicious access.

Why is cyber security essential? Cyber attacks are so rampant that it happens every 39 seconds on average. On average, it takes 315 days to detect and contain data breaches caused by a cyber attack. Cyber attacks can cause revenue losses to organisations, loss of productivity to employees, and the worst is the decline of trust of customers and clients in the company. The organisation may also face legal charges and penalties.

Common Cyber Attacks

Here are some common cyber attacks that can be prevented with good cyber security practices.

  • Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack- this overwhelms a system so that it cannot respond to service requests. It can be a way to cripple a business competitor, or it can be used as a distraction for another attack to be launched
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack- occurs when a cyber criminal goes in between the communication of a client and a server. Examples of this are session hijacking, IP spoofing, and the infamous phishing.
  • Drive-by attack- this is a common way of spreading malware. In this attack, the user is not required to do anything. Instead, cyber criminals look for a weak site and take advantage of an app, operating system, or web browser with security flaws due to lack or unsuccessful updates.
  • Password attack-obtaining passwords are common and effective attacks as passwords are needed to authenticate users to an information system.
  • SQL Injection attack- this attack is a common issue with database-driven websites. It can exploit the database by reading and modifying sensitive data or having complete admin operations on the database.
  • Eavesdropping attack- Cyber criminals tap the network traffic to obtain passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive information that users might be sending over the network.
  • Malware attack- this can be described as installing unwanted software in your system without consent.

The need for cyber security

The list above shows the common cyber attacks, but there are more kinds of how to do it. The challenge for security analysts now is how they can prevent all of these attacks. How can they make sure that they see all threats and avoid them from causing serious problems? And with all the work to be done to ensure a strong cyber security practice is implemented, where can you have to have the right people to do the job?

The usual notion is that those with a master's degree in cyber security are the best people to tap for cyber security purposes. However, you may also let your software engineers do cyber security measures.

Software engineers are computer science professionals who combine engineering standards and programming languages to build, maintain, test, and evaluate the software for computers and applications. They also build software products, strengthen network security, develop games and web pages, and run information systems. Software engineers monitor and evaluate system performance and resolve technical issues like software design and maintenance.

While software engineering is a broader concept as compared with cyber security, software engineers can still be an asset in strengthening your defence against attacks. The programming skills can be applied in designing automation testing tools to aid the engineers in analysing software vulnerabilities and identifying malicious software. Software engineers with programming expertise can also create tools for testing the security of applications and systems.

Software engineers can also be great candidates for advanced-level cyber security jobs. The coding knowledge, software engineering know-how, critical thinking, and analysis skills can be an asset in an organisation's long-term implementation of cyber security. The software engineer's thorough knowledge of programming languages can also give you that crucial edge to stay ahead of hackers. Software engineers can also incorporate security measures in the design and development phase of an application or system early on to better protect against hackers. Your cyber security team can also easily integrate new tools in existing processes more efficiently with the help of software engineers. There would be no need for a separate development team then.

Wrap Up

Practising and maintaining effective cyber security measures will be advantageous to any organisation. The programming skills of a software engineer can be maximised to ensure that cyber security is achieved, data is protected, and clients' information is safe.  

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