When you think of a cybersecurity professional, you might imagine someone with a technical background in computer science or information technology. However, there are many other skills and experiences that can be valuable in this field, including a background in journalism or communication.
In this article, we will explore how a background in journalism can benefit a career in cybersecurity and provide some real-world examples of journalists who have transitioned into this industry.
Clear and Compelling Communication
One of the key skills that journalists develop is the ability to communicate complex information in a clear and compelling way. They need to distill large amounts of data and research into concise and engaging stories that capture their audience's attention.
In cybersecurity, this skill is particularly important, as professionals need to communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders, such as executives, clients, or the public. For example, cybersecurity professionals may need to explain the risks and impacts of a cyber attack to a CEO or board member who may not have a technical background.
A background in journalism can provide valuable experience in crafting clear and compelling messages that resonate with different audiences. Journalists know how to tell a story, use analogies and metaphors to simplify complex concepts, and present information in a way that is easy to understand.
Threat Intelligence Gathering
Another area where a background in journalism can be useful in cybersecurity is threat intelligence gathering. Threat intelligence is the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information about potential cyber threats and risks.
Journalists are trained to be curious, resourceful, and detail-oriented. They know how to research and investigate a topic thoroughly and how to gather information from diverse sources. This skillset can be particularly valuable in threat intelligence gathering, where cybersecurity professionals need to monitor and analyze news and social media sources for emerging cyber threats and trends.
For example, in 2015, cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs broke the story of the Ashley Madison data breach, which exposed the personal information of millions of users of the online dating website. Krebs used his investigative skills to uncover the identity of the hacker behind the breach and the vulnerabilities in Ashley Madison's security systems. His reporting led to the arrest and prosecution of the hacker and highlighted the importance of strong cybersecurity practices for online businesses.
Finally, a background in journalism can help cybersecurity professionals navigate ethical considerations in their work. Journalists are often held to high ethical standards, such as accuracy, fairness, and impartiality. They need to balance the public's right to know with individuals' rights to privacy and protection.
In cybersecurity, professionals also need to make ethical decisions, such as whether to disclose a vulnerability or exploit, how to protect sensitive data, and how to respond to a cyber attack. These decisions can have real-world consequences for individuals and society, and they require a strong sense of ethics and responsibility.
For example, cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter has written numerous articles on election and voting security, both the perception of security and the technical reality. Her reporting has led to a national conversation about the security of voting machines and the need for stronger cybersecurity measures in elections. Zetter's ethical considerations in publishing this information is aimed to help to improve the security of the US voting system.
Ultimately, Journalism background? Great for cybersecurity. Why? Journalists communicate well, gather threat intelligence, and consider ethics. All these skills help cybersecurity professionals protect people and organizations from cyber threats. If you're a journalist considering a cybersecurity career, contact us today! Leverage your skills and experience to make a difference in this field.