We read almost daily about data breaches, cyber attacks against some organisation or even some computer system being hacked.
Cyber security has become a household term in this digital age. Technology is transforming the way we live and do business.
Nowadays pretty much everything we do is affected by the technology and the internet.
The cars we drive have several computers that control a lot of things from GPS to airbags.
We depend on computers for doing monetary transactions, whether it is taking cash from the ATM or doing internet banking.
When we travel and go on holidays, we book our flights using the internet, airplanes run on many computers, and road traffic management systems rely on computer systems and software.
Even utilities such as electricity and water distribution networks heavily depend on computers and networks.
If any one of these systems goes wrong, such as the IT systems going down at the airport (which happened at Sydney a few weeks ago), it leads to delays, disrupts our lives and causes frustration.
Just imagine if the financial system network went down for a day or two, we would not be able to withdraw or spend any money.
If the electricity networks go down, cities can end up in complete blackout. Imagine this happening for a couple of days, or for a week, and the chaos this could create.
It can lead to disruption of economic activities and potentially can bring a section of the country down (at least for a certain period of time).
Such breakdowns can occur accidentally, but also via deliberate attacks.
These attacks can be done by malicious adversaries or even malicious software, such as transferring money from one account to another in an unauthorised manner, stealing and forging sensitive data such as health records and causing traffic chaos on roads.
As society and businesses undergo more and more digital transformations and adopt digital technologies, it is clear the need for cyber security becomes greater.
We are using 4G networks and soon moving to 5G with greater speeds and bandwidth.
We are connecting all sorts of devices to the internet.
The Internet of Things includes any device connected to the internet whether it is the fridge, microwave, smart TV, smart door lock and health devices such as fitbits.
Each of these devices is susceptible to attack.
This is where cyber security comes in.
Cyber security essentially consists of technologies, processes and controls designed to protect people, data, systems and infrastructures from attacks from malicious actors.
Another way of thinking about cyber security is it is about protecting one's assets whether they are tangible such as data and systems or untangible, such as reputation.
There is no such thing as absolute security. It is relative to perceived threats.
Cyber security challenges are multidisciplinary.
Any technological development potentially introduces new security threats.
Often it is the poor or improper use of the technology that opens the way for many attacks to arise.
Then there is the legal side in protecting the privacy of individuals when employing security solutions, such as tracking user behaviour, and gathering and analysing private data of people.
Hence it is a complex web of challenges in technology and policy, business needs, user behaviour as well as legal issues.
One thing is clear, the field of cyber security is pervasive, fast-paced and highly dynamic.
It offers huge opportunities for anyone interested in this area.
In fact, cyber security is in the top of the areas where there is a clear demand for professionals with expertise all over the world.
It is estimated there are over two million job openings globally at the moment for cyber security professionals.
It is estimated there are more than two million job openings globally at the moment for cyber security professionals.
In order to help meet this demand, the University of Newcastle has created a Master of Cyber Security to equip students with the skills required to design secure systems and develop mitigation techniques against cyber-attacks.
It will be launched today (May 7) from 5.30pm in the IDC Building at Callaghan campus.
The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about the degree or hearing from industry experts.