When I originally started my graduate degree in information science, I was hoping to complete my concentration in information security but my work schedule was not flexible to attend the different course times during the day. My favorite experience was a Telecommunication Security course where almost our entire grade was based on a project that involved setting up two VPNs, one with Windows and another with UNIX, and then you had to download a number of popular applications on each VPN, like Gmail, Firefox, games, calendars. Then I had to setup SNORT, NMAP, and Metasploit on the UNIX machine and attack the Windows machine with Metasploit while looking to see what SNORT alerts and information I received from NMAP. In the end I had to create a report about what I did and what resulted from my actions. It required a lot of setup time for someone who wasn’t a computer science major or had much experience in telecommunications but it was a great learning experience and it’s similar to the type of projects I want to build.
Now I’m working at a large bank that is really expanding its cyber security division and it got me thinking about the blend of data science and cyber security. They really work hand in hand and I’m sure there is a need for more data scientists in cyber security. One of the big aspects of cyber security is trying to figure out binary classifications, like false positives or true negatives, because companies are receiving so much information they need to be able to decipher what are the actual threats, how to target them, and what are things that aren’t threats. To comb through all this data cyber security professionals need to create models and algorithms using data science techniques to be able to manage these large amounts of data in a timely manner. There is a lot of opportunity in this field to grow, start businesses, and maybe make a difference in society. It why I’m interested in blending these two areas. I need to start getting my hands dirty with a few new projects, which I’ll write about here.