For any of you who happen to have seen a movie about cyber security then I must tell you that the representation which you see on screen is actually very different from the reality which you can expect to find in this job. My boss and I often laugh about this whenever a movie comes out about hackers. Bharat has been in the business for a long time and he has seen this thing come and go before. I was chatting to Bharat last week about the differences between expectation and reality in this industry, and here are the key differences.
Catching the Criminal
Contrary to what these movies will have you believe we do not work each day trying to catch criminals in the act and bring them to justice. As much as Bharat and I wish that this was what we did each day, the truth is in fact that we work with software to prevent criminals from even getting into a system. This does take the drama and the glitz away from the idea that we are caped crusaders using software to catch out society’s most criminal, but it is just the way things are.
Another notion which is often peddled in movies is that the cyber security operatives are all pretty wealthy. I have no doubt that those who are at the top of the tree in this industry, working with governments and major corporations, may very well be collecting a sizable paycheck each month, but for those of us not at that level, the pay isn’t that great. We can of course earn a decent wage in this job but much like police enforcement has shown, crime doesn’t pay well for those looking to stop it.
The Daily Dirge
Day-to-day we are not running around trying to find new ways of catching the crooks, in fact we generally face a monotonous task which we have to do each day with new codes and new updates. As you can see, the daily work is not the most exciting and the most dramatic moment of our day often comes when we receive a phone call from a client, who has touched or altered something which has caused the system to crash. In our line of work ,we must deal with stupidity far more often than heinous acts of crime.
Something else which the movies don’t tell you about is the fact that more often than not, the hackers are way ahead of the cyber security firms. Now this is not to say that our systems don’t work, but generally the biggest cyber crimes which take place are those completed by people who have found a way around the systems which have been put in place. Cyber security is far more reactive than proactive and catch up is often high on the list of priorities.