4 Steps How to Develop the Cybersecurity Mindset
It takes a peculiar way of thinking to develop a cybersecurity mindset. As countless corporations, hospitals, organizations, governments, and individuals become threatened with cyber attacks continually on the rise (especially now more than ever during the Covid pandemic), cybersecurity agents have become high-in-demand as a unique part of society in our Information Age — defending our vulnerable users — and coming to the rescue. They must be armed with unique tools and strategies to approach cyber problems that require imminent solutions in realtime.
But, how exactly does a cybersecurity agent operate? What are their strategies in handling complex security breaches? What goes on inside of their minds? How can we think like a cybersecurity agent to protect and defend ourselves from security threats on the web and in-person? In this article, I will explain the four-step method of the cybersecurity mindset to reveal how a cybersecurity agent (anyone who works in cybersecurity) operates.
1. Never let your guard down. Always be on the defense. Be prepared at all times. Assume there are always threats awaiting you at any given moment. You will have to accept that $#^! can happen when you least expect it to, and especially by surprise, so you will need to know how to manage yourself internally while handling the situation. In reality, you may get ready for action at 3 o’clock in the morning after you’ve been rudely awakened by an urgent phone call from your boss. You may have enjoyed a nice pleasant dream. Only to wake up and find reality can be more of a nightmare.
That also reminds me to tell you — don’t panic — which reminds me to also tell you — find a way to stay grounded. If it’s a quick meditation, deep breathing, or doing things that set you in a good mood… do it and get it together fast! You cannot make smart decisions when you’re overloaded with stress hormones due to panic. Cortisol doesn’t make you smarter, honey. Don’t be like a deer in headlights just standing there screaming when a fire is coming your way. Do you know what happens when you do that? You get burned. And remember: No business, organization, or individual is immune to threats. There is no such thing as being 100% safe at all times (as much as we would hope for).
2. Develop an analytical mind. It’s imperative to know what to look out for and how to do it. You will want to become prepped for detecting any suspicious and unusual activity on the internet at the speed of lightning (or at least close to it). Once you have learned the processes involved in how to identify vulnerabilities and unpatched systems, process complex network traffic logs, and how to decipher encrypted codes or sniff out fishy behavior (you know what I’m talking about)… you are on the right track, my friend. If you don’t know what to look for… Follow the money, because it might leave a trail. ;)
3. Be curious. If you want to succeed as a “threat hunter”, you won’t want to just stand there like a deer in headlights when bombs are exploding, would you? Our primitive ancestors didn’t evolve by staying in one place… so get it moving and grooving! Try new things. Ask questions. Know there is no such thing as a dumb question. It’s okay not to know everything. As Malcolm X once said, “There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”
Use your tools and try different ways of using them. Have courage to try something new. Be like an artist painting with different colors mixed on their palette. Better yet, be as curious as a monkey. You are the cousin of a chimpanzee, after all, and not closely related to a deer — get it together and act accordingly. While you get your curiosity wheels moving, you may want to discover what goes on in the minds of sketchy criminals and their motives (a little criminal psychology course won’t hurt *wink wink*).
4. Have a plan to mitigate risks. Think of your plan as, let’s say, a health plan of going to the gym and eating nutrient dense healthy food. You have assessed all potential health dangers you may have or could develop, so you have decided to instill good healthy habits for prevention of illness because you don’t want to end up like Uncle Sick Shane. It’s the same concept you will apply to cybersecurity.
With a cybersecurity mindset, you will assess for all risks ahead of time and look for parallels. Ensure you have tied up all loose ends and covered all bases e.g., ensuring all servers are routinely patched against latest known vulnerabilities and that the data stored in the database is encrypted. Educate others on the dangers of threats as well, such as phishing and social engineering. Teach them about multi-factor authentication. You want them to care for their “security health” and not get infected with a virus don’t you? Of course you do!
So, what does it take to have a cybersecurity mindset again?
It takes a person who has the ability to:
- IDENTIFY targets and determine attacks
- DEFEND the network and know how to handle a security threat
- MITIGATE RISKS
So, go right ahead and apply these principles if you want to prepare yourself for the information security field, and also if you want to think like a cybersecurity agent. Perhaps, you can find this four-step method approach useful for other areas in your life. After all, it can be a provided benefit to you and society when you know how to keep your cybersecurity mindset sharp! Vulnerable victims and the people can also depend on you as the outcome. Why not become a great defending citizen of society when you can?! You know the four steps how to now. :)