What’s It Take to Be a Cyber Elite?

It’s her job to consider different cyber attack scenarios—how they might unfold, how to intervene, how to block them from ever happening at all. She’s currently helping Fortune 50 automakers develop cyber programs that account for risks beyond traditional IT.

“The cyber threat landscape changes constantly as we introduce new connectivity into everything around us,” she says. “Once you’re connected, you open yourself up to potential vulnerabilities. If you don’t understand cyber, that risk goes up exponentially.”

Driven by money or politics, malevolent hackers are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate networks and avoid detection. Staying ahead of them means constantly updating your skills.

That’s why, “as a cyber elite, you need to be curious,” says Andrew Payne, another Booz Allen reverse malware engineer. “When you’re curious, you’re willing to learn.”

Andrew lists Twitter as an essential means of satisfying his appetite for cyber learning. “It’s probably one of the better resources due to its immediacy,” he says. “I follow a number of people who are heavily involved in the industry, even if not well known.”

Sites like Twit.tv and Krebs on Security, podcasts like Security Now, and subreddits like r/netsec round out his list of online authorities on cyber and related topics.

Patrick maintains his edge using a variety of the professional development resources that Booz Allen provides for its employees. Those include mentoring sessions, forums, hackathons, conferences, and places like the Forge Hacker Space, located in our Annapolis Junction, Maryland, office.

“We go to the Forge Hacker Space to learn hardware hacking. On any given day you might learn how to fly a new drone—or see if you can write something that will knock it out of the sky,” he says.

Resources like that are a big part of why the SANS Institute honored the firm. According to SANS, “employer-supported training to maintain the currency of skills [is] one of the two highest-rated factors that impact retention of highly technical cybersecurity professionals."

Experts in the Field

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