Page 4 - Cybersecurity Career Guide for Alexandria College
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what is cybersecurity?
A Great Career Option!
Are you into computers and video games? Solving puzzles and mysteries? Writing code and programming computers? Tracking criminals? Defending our country? Then cybersecurity could be for you! Because CYBERSECURITY IS...
   Defending Our Nation
America is under constant attack. Nefarious “black hat” hackers work nonstop to break into government and
industry computer systems to wreak havoc or to steal personal data and trade secrets. Some hackers are part of criminal gangs; others are agents of hostile
nations—Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran among them. In 2015, state-sponsored Chinese hackers snatched the records of around 22.1 mil-
lion Americans from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. A 2019 attack hidden within a software update released by SolarWinds, a Texas company, was the work of Russian agents. The malignant code affected about 100 companies and government agencies, including such tech
giants as Microsoft and Intel, and the depart- ments of Justice, Energy, and Defense. Microsoft’s Exchange servers were breached last January
by Chinese hackers—the third big attack on the company within two months. There’s also an ongoing surge in ransomware attacks, where
hackers lock up systems and demand a ransom to release them. A Russian gang’s May ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline froze 5,500 miles of gasoline pipeline on the East Coast (see page 12). Clearly, the effort to thwart these at-
tacks and punish the hackers is a 24/7 job. Led by the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), a joint Pentagon/National Security
Agency operation, it’s an enormous task that utilizes the skills of cybersecurity specialists in every government
agency. See page 44 for more information.
Securing Our Phones
Because the telecommunications industry builds, controls, and operates the nation’s critical information infrastructure, these businesses are inviting targets for both cyber- criminals and foreign adversaries. In August 2021, T-Mobile announced that a cyber- attack on its systems affected more than 50 million current, former, and prospective cus- tomers. Some of the exposed data included names, social security numbers, and birth- days. The massive breach comes on the heels of four other T-Mobile leaks in recent years and a SIM-swapping attack earlier in 2021. In these incidents, hackers may have leveraged some of that breached information to access phones and all the precious data we keep
in them, such as photos, emails, passwords, and even that handy banking app. (Time to borrow someone else’s phone and call your bank, asap.)

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