Cyber Security Careers in Policing and Law Enforcement

Cyber Security and Forensics are both fields that explore different sides of the justice system and prepare someone for a future that will be spent protecting others.

A degree in cyber security is one that can open the door to a career as a forensic analyst, computer analyst for a police department and other law enforcement agencies and a few other network security jobs.

The past decade has seen a startling rise in the number of attacks on PSAPs, or Public Safety Answering Points. These PSAPs were previously handled by IT technicians, but now the need for front-line security preventing the disruption and assault of vital networks is prevalent, and cyber security police are more needed than ever before.

Role of Cyber Police in Law Enforcement

At the local and state levels, a cyber officer would have a degree in Cyber Security, Forensics or a similar field such as Information Networking and Telecommunications with a minor in justice studies. Being well-versed in the law as well as holding a strong knowledge of computer networks and technology enable these officers to create, maintain and protect law enforcement databases that contain vital information.

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They will also work on securing PSAPs from attacks. Dozens have occurred in recent years, each posing its own unique threat. Some of these attacks, such as a Denial-of-Service or DoS, render a network useless and unable to respond to legitimate requests for help from citizens. This type of attack disrupts or terminates the internet connection held by a law enforcement host and renders them in a state of suspension, unable to reach the necessary authorities.

Telephony-Denial-of-Service attacks (TDoS) function much like standard DoS attacks, except for the fact that target voice systems. In a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security, it was revealed that the most recent TDoS attack was conducted by criminals who wanted to extort the government and get agencies to pay them money that they believed was owed to them. If the agencies were to refuse, the attackers would set forth an assault that rendered all telephone lines useless and left the police department unreachable.

While dozens of these attacks were all carried out on non-emergency lines, the increase in their frequency has led to an emergence of new threats to national and state security that the Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation has made clear call for vigilant and well-trained network analysts, or cyber police, to enter the field.

Cyber Security Degrees

Cyber Security is a relatively new degree specialization in criminal justice studies that is intended to educate a student on the operational and technological concepts of corporate network security. Spanning beyond the basics of computer science, mathematics and web development, a cyber security degree offers unmatched in-depth study of cyber terrorism and cyber crime. They also equip students with the online forensics skills required to identify intruders of government and corporate networks and stop threats to vital systems and their contents.

There is a rising number of institutions both online and on-campus that offer both undergraduate and master’s degrees in cyber security and related subjects such as data science degrees. A Bachelor of Cybersecurity tends to include a detailed curriculum involving topics such as:

Cyber Security Degree Spotlight

University of Maryland

The Bachelor of Cyber Security program at the University of Maryland offers a pathway that leads to the attainment of a Master in Professional Studies in Cybersecurity. The core courses of the bachelor’s program include Economics in the Information Age, Foundations of Cybersecurity, Digital Forensics in the Criminal Justice System and Advanced Information Security. Jobs in local law enforcement as well as positions with major organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA) are available to people who receive training such as the kind provided with this degree.

The graduate program is competed in 12 to 18 credits and expands upon the cyber security and forensics courses learned throughout the four years of undergraduate study.

Cyber Security Careers

There are multiple job positions available to graduates who possess a Bachelor of Cybersecurity and want to work on the technological side of the law. Information security analysts, computer forensic analysts and cyber security analysts for the Department of Homeland Security are some of the most in-demand cyber security police jobs at the present.

Information Security Analyst

An Information Security Analyst is responsible for the security measures implemented into an organization’s computer network and databases. They can work for corporations and business and financial firms, but there is an increasing need for them in law enforcement as well. A police department’s tech team could benefit from having an information security analyst in many ways, primarily in the fact that one who is trained in cyber security will understand the common methods used by hackers to disable systems and be able to combat those through pre-emptive measures to ensure that criminal records, case files and other forensic documents are kept secure.

The current job outlook for these analysts is remarkably high, with a projected growth rate of 37% from 2012 to 2022.

The median pay of an information security analyst was reported to be $86,710 annually as of May 2012 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer Forensic Analyst

A combination of forensics knowledge and exemplary computer science skills form the basis for a career as a forensic computer analyst. These analysts work with law enforcement agencies to recover information from computers and storage devices that may serve to be invaluable in a trial or in solving a case. They assist officers with cyber crimes, if they do not have a Bachelor of Cybersecurity, then they tend to study Computer Science and Information Technology and have a background of Criminal Justice. Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) certification is also required.

Depending on the certification and license that one acquires, the salary will vary. However, the BLS reported the median annual salary of a computer forensic analyst to be $87,320 as of May 2012.

Cybersecurity Jobs with the Department of Homeland Security

There is an entire page dedicated to DHS careers in cybersecurity on the organization’s official site. Professionals who have skill sets in cyber incident response, cyber risk and strategic analysis, vulnerability detection and assessment and software assurance are among the ones being recruited for positions.

The DHS also offers a Cybersecurity Internship and Cybersecurity Honors Program for graduates looking to work with the organization or those after entry-level jobs.

The Importance of Cyber Security Careers

Many organizations may wonder why cyber security is so relevant to them when they already have IT technicians and security measures in place. Cyber security specialists are needed because the rapid development of technology our society has seen in the past decade alone has equipped terrorists and criminals both state-side and abroad with an entirely new arsenal of weapons. The attainment of classified information regarding United States military tactics, plans and even individual records in local police departments are all at stake without the proper specialist to protect them.

While it is true that computer scientists and information technicians have the skills necessary to construct encrypted databases and networks, there is an added element that they do not possess, and that is a solid understanding of the major cyber security risks facing law enforcement organizations today and the necessary computer measures that must be taken to combat them.

A cyber security police career is one that heavily focuses on in-depth work with law enforcement for a good cause. This new branch of security has given way to an entirely new force of individuals equipped with their own special knowledge about criminal justice in a technology-driven world, and it’s up to them to make sure that the authorities are able to continually serve the community and the people as best they can without any interference.