The information security industry is a unique field, filled with facets that people who work other types of jobs don't fully understand. You've gotten used to explaining terms that you use every day to people who have no idea what you're talking about and explaining to your mother why she should be more careful about the links she chooses to click on, but sometimes, it feels like you live in a different world. Check out these 7 things only people working in the information security industry can relate to.
1. Antivirus software is a joke. You don't even have it installed on your personal computer, and when people ask you for a recommendation, you draw a blank. Unfortunately, working in information security has taught you that too often, antivirus programs are several steps behind the latest threats--and frankly, someone who really wants into your system isn't going to use a virus that your software would detect anyway.
2. People think that you're paranoid. You won't do anything over a public network, not even enter your Facebook password. Speaking of social media accounts, yours are locked down so tightly that someone would have to know your username to be able to find you. You're very cautious about posting personal information because you realize exactly how easy it is for someone out there to hunt you down.
3. You once went into a long discourse about a fascinating new aspect of social engineering at the dinner table, only to realize that your family members were looking at you like you'd lost your mind.
4. You firmly believe in freely sharing information about potential security breaches across the Internet, even when it's inconvenient for the person who has been breached. This founded primarily in your belief that everyone has the right to know what is happening with their data and to take the opportunity to protect themselves as necessary.
5. There's a thrill when you break into a system from the outside that can't be duplicated. You would never steal information or use that breach to harm the company in some way, but simply knowing that you were able to break through is satisfaction enough.
6. You cringe when you discover that there is no accountability concerning physical access to a company's data center. They've taken extraordinary measures to ensure network security, but the data center is set up so that anyone with a key can walk right in. Who has a key? Well, they're not really sure, but it's just a certain level of employee. Just hearing those words makes you want to go hunting for a baseball bat, because you know full well that every security measure the company has taken is worthless if there is no physical protection of the system.
7. When you enter a friend's home, one of the first things you do is check the security of their wireless router. Can you break into it in less than five minutes? Still using the default password, or have it turned off altogether? Your friend might just log on tomorrow to discover that their information has been changed for them.
As a information security specialist, you're exposed to the seedy underside of the Internet in ways that many of your friends and family members will never understand. You know how to take a system apart and put it back together again without anyone being able to tell that you've been there. It's not as glamorous as it sounds from the outside, but it’s a job that you're good at––and it has its own unique rewards. Sure, your family might not have any idea what you're talking about when you gather around the dinner table, but that can be fun, too.