Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
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Why Python Is Important For Security Professionals
Python programming is one of the most popular languages currently in use. It is a simple object-oriented language that is easy to learn and understand for beginners and skilled developers and is used across different areas from data science to cybersecurity. This blog will focus on Python for information security professionals and explain why it’s essential for their career growth.
Python for Cybersecurity
In contrast to other languages, Python is a simple and understandable language. Python has simple syntax, and new developers or those joining the cybersecurity sector can quickly pick it up. Python is also a favorite among experienced developers since it can incorporate several functionalities. Users can create Python scripts rapidly, and the easy syntax helps cybersecurity professionals to identify and correct errors in the code quickly.
Python follows a clean and well-defined implementation process. It doesn’t leave much space for the device or data to target hackers and attackers. The Python programming language also makes it simple to develop and incorporate new and distinct applications into older components.
Benefits of Python Programming in Cybersecurity
- Troubleshooting made simple: Python uses simple code, so it becomes easier for the programmer to troubleshoot errors. The simple design also increases its readability. That makes troubleshooting more comfortable and less time consuming. Python also has an in-built trouble-shooter called PDB that performs all the main functions.
- Memory management: Python has a native memory management tool. This advantage allows programmers and other users to worry less about memory management, including caching.
- Open source: Python’s design is open source, so anyone is welcome to improve it. It is also easy to download and free of cost. Many web development companies prefer Python.
- Easy to learn: It is the most user-friendly and straightforward programming language when compared to Java, C++, and .NET. The syntax of Python is simple when stacked against other languages. It also uses less code.
Why Is Python Essential for Cybersecurity Professionals?
Python is an essential programming language for cybersecurity professionals as it can perform many functions like scanning, packet sniffing, malware analysis, and more. From building video games to testing microchips, it is the best programming language. Many security tools are written in Python, as it is easy to access and understand. Here’s what Python can be used for on a day-to-day basis:
- Social media data extraction: Python programming scripts can be used to download data from many social media platforms. WhatsApp and Facebook use modules interfaced with Python.
- Flexibility: Python has a straightforward nature; it is easy to develop new applications quickly. It can also create simple modules in Java, C++, and .NET. All this makes it easier to respond to cyber threats.
- Packet sniffing: To avoid packet sniffing, create a simple packet sniffer using Python with a socket module. A raw socket gives access to the protocols. It is the socket that sends and receives data in binary, which is in Python.
- Network port scanning: In general, Nmap is a tool used to execute network port scanning, but one can easily do it without any third-party tools by using python socket programming.
- Quick scripts development: Python helps cybersecurity professionals to develop solutions in the least amount of time with straightforward code. It also makes it easy for cybersecurity professionals to identify errors and quickly solve problems.
- Libraries support: Python is the only programming language with a massive library of modules that allows cybersecurity professionals to access penetration testing tools every day.
- Productivity & speed: Because of its simple and object-oriented codes, the programmer’s productivity also improves. Python has powerful integrating and unit testing framework abilities to increase application speed.
- Highly scalable: Scalability is high in the python language. Its simplicity and flexibility can secure all applications.
- Multi-faceted development for cybersecurity: Python is a boon for security professionals as it can perform any task with minimal code in less time. In cybersecurity, Python uses various like encoding and decoding packets, malware analysis, network scanning, port scanning, and much more.
Now that you’re up to speed on the basics, you might be interested in a more detailed look at Python programming in cybersecurity. EC-Council’s Python Online: From Novice to Program teaches you the Python programming setup and components, working with the Python network recon framework, password cracking, Python spying, and evading antivirus with Python.
Without a doubt, programming is an important part of cybersecurity, especially as you progress into intermediate and advanced levels of the field. While the Python programming language has been around for quite a while, it’s really become the focus of cybersecurity professionals in recent years. Many people interested in the cybersecurity field want to know if Python is a good programming language to know for cybersecurity, and if it’s a language that they take the time to should learn.
Is Python good for cybersecurity? Python is an extremely useful programming language for cybersecurity professionals because it can perform a multitude of cybersecurity functions, including malware analysis, scanning, and penetration testing tasks. Python is often recommended as the first language people new to cybersecurity should learn because of its wide use and minimal learning curve.
Now that we’ve established that Python is a go-to language in cybersecurity, let’s talk about the specific benefits of Python, what makes it so useful for cybersecurity, and why you should take the time to learn the Python programming language.
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The Benefits of Python
The design and functionality of the Python programming language give it many benefits that have made it a go-to programming language for a lot of fields, such as data science, mathematical computation, web development, and of course, cybersecurity. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Python now.
Python is easy to learn and implement.
Python was intentionally designed to be a straightforward, easy, and generally lightweight programming language that would require minimal code to accomplish tasks compared to other languages. The fact is that Python often takes substantially less code than what would otherwise be required of other programming languages, such as C or Java. The nature of Python’s straightforward structure means a shorter learning curve for anyone working with the language, especially those new to programming.
Python makes debugging easier.
We’ve covered the fact that the structure of Python makes it easier to learn and implement, but that basic nature has other benefits as well. The straightforward design of Python and ease of use also increases its readability, Increased readability also makes debugging code far more straightforward, which means that even lower level or beginner programmers can troubleshoot and debug their own code pretty effectively and that debugging can take much less time overall to complete.
Python is open source.
Python was developed as an open-source programming language, similar to how Linux is an open-source operating system. The open-source nature of Python lends itself to a strong community of developers that support the language and move it forward. Since python is open source, there is a great deal of information available, and using the language is free.
Automatic memory management.
Another benefit of Python that some people don’t consider is that it has memory management built-in automatically by design. Python’s memory management is performed internally by the Python memory manager. This means that the programmer and the user need to have less concern about memory management, including factors as caching, memory allocation, and segmentation.
Python’s Usefulness in Cybersecurity
We’ve discussed above the benefits of the Python programming language, and that it’s used in many fields. Let’s now take a deeper look at why Python is so useful for the field of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity professionals can get up to speed quickly.
Because Python has a generally short learning curve, it has become the programming language of preference for those in the cybersecurity field, many of whom have a limited programming background. Python ease of use means that any experienced cybersecurity professional that has built up a relatively strong technical background can learn the basics of the Python language and start programming and implementing their code quickly.
Cybersecurity teams can form quickly.
Another benefit of Python’s ease of use and short learning curve means that not only can cybersecurity professionals get up to speed quickly on the programming language, but that cybersecurity teams can also form quickly to work on a project, even if all of the members of the team do not have a coding background. Consider how much more limited a cybersecurity team would be if they had to rely on the group understanding a more difficult language, like Java. The flexibility and ease of use of Python end up being a great benefit for cybersecurity managers that need to lead teams and Implement projects quickly.
Python’s extensive library means cybersecurity tools are already available.
As we’ve described above, Python’s ease of use is certainly one of the most important factors that make it a go-to language for cybersecurity professionals. But certainly, Python’s extensive library of modules is a leading factor as well. Python has become well known and heavily used, because of its extensive library, which means cybersecurity professionals don’t need to reinvent the wheel with common tasks and in most cases can quickly find cybersecurity analysis or penetration testing tool already available.
Python can be used for nearly anything in cybersecurity.
With a strong understanding of Python and programming concepts in general, cybersecurity professionals can accomplish just about any task that they need using Python code. For example, Python is used heavily in malware analysis, host discovery, the sending and decoding of packets, accessing servers, port scanning, and network scanning, just to name a few. Considering also that Python is so effective at scripting, automating tasks, and data analysis, it is understandable that Python has risen in popularity as cybersecurity has become more important.
Scripts in Python can be developed quickly
Another benefit of Python that helps cybersecurity professionals is that the ease of the code means that cyber pros can develop solutions that they need with a minimal amount of time, and with rather simplistic code. This means that errors in code are easier to find and correct and that cybersecurity professionals can solve problems and challenges quickly.
Why You Should Learn Python
Python is a great first language to learn.
Python serves well as a gateway language that can help you learn other object-oriented languages later on, and can even help you learn languages that technically aren’t object-oriented. Since Python has such an easy learning curve and is so debugger friendly, it is a great first step before you move on to Java, C, PHP, or any other language that is commonly used.
Plenty of free learning resources.
The Internet has a lot of free Python resources available, including videos and sample projects. Given the massive amount of material available online for free, just about anyone can gain a working knowledge Python without taking a class.
Python is impressive to employers.
Employers value and respect just about any well-known programming language that you can include on your resume, but Python seems to hold a special place in employers’ minds, perhaps because fewer people know the language, and because of the flood of Python use in recent years. Several recent studies have even listed Python as the number one in-demand technical skill sought by employers.
Python For CyberSecurity: Why Is It Better In 2020?
Do you know, hacker attack occurs every 39 seconds? Yes, you read that right. According to a recent web development stats, nearly 64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks to date. Python For CyberSecurity
Cyber-attacks are now an international concern, as high-profile breaches have given rise to many serious concerns. Without any doubt, programming is an integral part of cybersecurity, especially as you progress in the advanced levels of the field.
While the Python programming language has been around for a long time, it has become the focus of cybersecurity professionals in recent years. Cyber attackers use malicious code to alter computer data, resulting in disruptive consequences that can compromise the data and lead to cybercrime.
It can be prevented if you use Python language. So, here in this article, we will be telling you the top five benefits of Python and why it will be best to use Python for Cybersecurity. So, let’s get started!
Top Five Benefits of Python for cybersecurity
Among the numerous options available, Python is a preferred choice among cybersecurity professionals because it lessens development effort and the coder’s learning curve. Several factors make them prefer Python as compared to other languages. Some of these are mentioned below:
#1. Python makes debugging easier cybersecurity with python
Since Python uses minimal code, it becomes easier for the programmer to debug the error and at the same time, reduce the risk of language complexity and issues.
Python’s simple design and ease of use also increase its readability, which makes debugging code more straightforward, and it can take much less time to complete.
Python has a built-in debugger called PDB. It is a simple utility with a command-line interface that performs the main function. It has all the debugger features you will need.
If you want to look it up a bit, you can extend it using ipdb, which will provide the debugger with the features of IPython. The easiest way to use PDB is to call it in the code you’re working on.
We as a python web development company also ensures maximum scalability & protection by employing advanced security measures like high-security plugins, data encryption, secure admin dashboard, etc.
#2. Easy to learn and implement
Python is deliberately designed to be simple, more comfortable to learn a programming language in comparison to other languages such as C or Java. It is much easier to code in Python. It is a user-friendly language that improves code readability, implementation, and syntax.
As we can clearly see that python’s syntax is much simpler than other programming languages. Even semicolons are not mandatory to use in python.
The fact is that Python often takes significantly less code as compared to other programming languages. There are outstanding tools available to work with Python code, and its straightforward nature provides a smooth learning curve.
#3. Free and open-source python in cybersecurity
Python is designed as an open-source programming language which means that anybody can contribute to improving it. Moreover, it is free to download and has a large community that is working continuously to make it even better.
Python is available to developers at zero cost. In turn, this makes it the preferred choice among many web development companies around the world. Also, the language is so simple to use that it increases its appeal to smaller teams.
#4. Productivity and speed
With an object-oriented design, this language provides advanced process control capabilities to its users. The language also has secure integration and text processing capabilities and its unit testing framework, which, in turn, helps improve its speed and productivity.
The use of Python facilitates experienced cyber professionals to implement their code without any hassle. Also, the flexibility and ease-of-use of Python end up being an excellent benefit for cybersecurity.
#5. Automatic memory management
Another significant advantage of Python is memory management. It has built-in memory management automatically by design. Python’s memory management is executed internally by the Python memory manager.
This means that programmers and users need to worry less about memory management, including factors such as caching, memory allocation, and partitioning.
The Usefulness of Python in CyberSecurity
Python is an advantageous programming language for cybersecurity because it can perform many cybersecurity functions, including malware analysis, scanning, and penetration testing functions.
It is user-friendly and has an elegant simplicity, making it the perfect language choice for many cybersecurity professionals.
Python has been at the forefront for many years. It is a general-purpose, server-side scripting language that has been used for thousands of security projects. Everything from testing microchips to building video games with PyGame, Python is the most sought after programming language for its power-packed capabilities.
Using Python’s base programming, any of the following can be done without using any other third-party tools:
- Web server fingerprinting
- Simulation of attacks
- Port scanning
- Website cloning
- Load generation and testing of a website
- Creating intrusion detection and prevention systems
- Wireless network scanning
- Transmission of traffic in the network
- Accessing mail servers.
Most of the security tools and PoCs you can find are written in Python, and it’s easy to use. Let us now focus more intensely on why Python is so useful for the field of cybersecurity.
1. Socket Programmingpython in cybersecurity
Socket programming is in-built with Python. To work with socket programming, the package socket is first imported and then related methods can be called. The Python installation comes with an in-built IDLE GUI.
2. Network Port Scanning
Typically, the Nmap tool is used for the implementation of network port scanning, but it can be implemented without any third-party tool, using Python socket programming.
In Kali Linux, many tools are available for digital forensics related to networks, but many of these implementations can be done using Python programming with only a few lines of instruction.
Here, we have mentioned a collection of simple Python scripts so that you can start with your security testing.
If we execute this script, we’ll see which ports on the target machine are listening and potentially vulnerable for an exploit. We ran it against a popular IoT device, which we have attached to my local network, and received some interesting results.
If we execute this script, we will see which ports are listening on the target machine and potentially vulnerable to any exploitation.
3. Geolocation Extractionpython in cybersecurity
The real-time location of an IP address can be extracted using Python and Google APIs with the use of pygeoip module.
First, import the GeoIP database from the URL: Geolite2 Database
Once the database is loaded and mapped with a Python installation, any IP address can be scanned with global visibility and location. For example:
4. Real-time Extraction from Social Media python for cybersecurity
Live and real-time data from social media platforms can be downloaded using Python scripts. In Python, there are many modules and extensions that can be interfaced with WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other platforms.
5. Packet Sniffing
Packet sniffing is essentially putting a wiretap on a system. You can use a tool like Wireshark or can write a simple Python script (packetSniffer.py) to get similar results.
If you need to sniff traffic on your local network, you will need your NIC to use promiscuous mode, and this may require additional permission.
6. TCP Packet Injection
Once you sniff out web packets from one device to another, you can create packets that have the same headers and use a script like packetInjection.py by putting updated information in the packet.
Some examples using this approach include denial-of-service and man-in-the-middle attacks. You can manipulate the contents of packages at the edge of the network to prevent or adjust the flow of information.
7. Python Extensively Supports Libraries
Python’s extensive library of modules is a significant factor. Python is well known and widely used due to its vast library. It means that cybersecurity professionals do not need to reinforce the wheel with everyday tasks, and in most cases, Cybersecurity analysis or penetration testing tools can be found quickly.
8. Python is Flexible
The ease with which Python can be used makes it possible to develop new applications as needed quickly and easily integrate previously used scripts and executables into new code.
Likewise, it can create or enhance modules in C, C ++, Java, or ASP DOT NET and has scripting capabilities that can be embedded in other applications. All of this makes it much easier to respond to cybersecurity threats and avoid significant exploits in the first place.
9. Python is Used for Developing Anything in CyberSecurity
With a strong understanding of Python, cybersecurity professionals can complete any task that requires them to use Python code. For example, Python is used for malware analysis, host discovery, sending and decoding packets, accessing servers, port scanning, and network scanning.
Also keeping in mind that Python is so useful in scripting, automated tasks, and data analysis, it makes sense that Python has grown in popularity as cybersecurity became more critical.
The above pointers provide some primary examples in which you can leverage Python’s elegant simplicity to validate the security of your applications before proceeding with deployment.
How is Python used in Cyber Security
Python is one of the versatile programming language, created by Guido van Rossum between 1985- 1990. An interpreted language, Python has a design that focuses on code readability and allows programmers to write code in fewer lines as compared to others like Java and C++. it has an automatic memory management system that allows it to support numerous programming prototypes such as functional, imperative and procedural. To get in-depth knowledge on Cyber Security, enroll for live free demo on Cyber Security Online Training
Among the numerous options available, Python is still a preferred choice among cyber security professionals. There are a number of factors that make them prefer python as compared to other languages. Some of these are as mentioned below:
Easy to learn:- Python, like Java and C, are much easier to learn as compared to many other programming languages. The user-friendly language works on minimal code and hence, improves code readability, implementation and syntax.
Easy debugging:- Since Python as a programming language that uses minimum code, it gets easier for the programmers to debug the error as well as reduce the risk of language getting complicated and causing issues.
Wide use:- Python is not just limited to a few software packages and products. It, rather, has extensive use and is used to power numerous web products like Google, YouTube, Quora, Reddit, etc.
Object-oriented language:- Learning Python enables an individual to gain an understanding about several other object-oriented languages such as Java, C++ and C#. All one needs to learn is the syntax of the new language.
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Open-source language:- Python is available at zero cost to the developers. This, in turn, makes it a preferred choice among many developers and companies. Moreover, the language is so simple to use that it increases its appeal to the smaller teams.
High-performance:- The use of Python is not just limited to help business grow and attain results but it also very useful to develop fast applications.
Extensive support libraries:- Python is available large standard libraries that are inclusive of options like string operations, protocols, internet, web service tools, etc. Since, a large number of codes are already written in Python, this, in turn, puts a limit to the length of codes that needs to be written in Python.
Improved programmer’s productivity:- The productivity of the programmer also gets improved due to reduced length of codes and object-oriented codes. Its features such as process integration, unit testing framework and ability to manage enhanced control help in increasing the speed of the entire application.
User-friendly data structures:- A built-in list and dictionary data structures, Python allows the developers to reduce the length of high-level data typing. This, in turn, helps in reducing the length of support code that is needed.
Productivity and Speed:- With an object-oriented design, this language provides enhanced process control capabilities to its users. The language also has strong integrating and text processing abilities and its own unit testing framework, which, in turn, helps in improving its speed as well as productivity. To get in-depth knowledge, enroll for live free demo on Cyber Security Training
A lot of the reasons mentioned above and several others make programmers prefer Python over any other programming language. Using Python by cyber security professionals over any other programming language is also common due to factors such as better respond time, user-friendly data structure and security.Priya Reddy
Everything To Know About Python For Cyber Security (2021)
The extensive escalation in the amount of data today has led to security threats such as malware attacks and advanced cyber threats. The Internet of Things (IoT) is yet another advancement increasing cyber threats. It has made it possible for almost every device now to access the Internet and get connected. Although it’s still prevalent and excellent, we tend to face numerous vulnerability issues. The need for protection against system and data threats has heightened. Nearly 64% of the companies have experienced and suffered web-based attacks to date. The hackers or attackers use malicious code to break into the networks and systems to compromise with the data, leading to cybercrimes.
1. What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber Security is the practice of defending and protecting computer systems, mobile devices, data, networks, and servers from disruptive malicious attacks. It also ensures protection from misdirection or disruption from the services provided by them. A data breach leads to the loss of billions of dollars to companies and can also result in other destructive consequences for the employees or other people.
Cyber Security has become an international concern now because of the high-profile data breaches which have occurred, thereby raising serious concerns. From startups to tech giants, almost all companies have started emphasizing the importance of security, which is why Cyber Security has become one of the most in-demand fields.
The new and evolving Cyber Security threats day by day has put the information security industry alarmed on high alert. Even more sophisticated cyber-attacks involving phishing, malware, cryptocurrency, and ML and AI have placed the enterprises’ assets and data in jeopardy. The cybercrime epidemic is continually rising, and the stakes are even much higher, leading to an increased potential for:
- Distortion: The intentional transmission of misinformation through chatbots and automated sources causes integrity trust of the information to be compromised.
- Disruption: We rely on delicate connectivity which further creates the possibility of heightening the risk of ransomware being used to hijack IoT.
- Deterioration: Speedy advancements in smart technologies and contrary demands posed by the individual privacy regulations and national security negatively affect enterprise’s ability to protect their information.
2. Cyber Security – Significant And Purpose
The Importance of Cyber Security is rising day by day. Sensitive and confidential information like social security numbers, bank account, and credit card details are now stored in Cloud storage devices such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
- Cyber Attacks affect the entire society.
- Cyber Security is going to be a boom to the entire world.
- Cyber Threats cause damage to businesses and loss of jobs.
- New regulations and legislation can be incorporated to protect individuals from potential attacks.
Strong network security with an effective incident response plan in an organization ensures mitigation and prevention of cyber threats. For instance, end-user protection safeguards against cyber thefts or loss of data while scanning computer systems for malignant code. The enterprise stakeholders need to remain up-to-date with the emerging technologies and threats to protect valuable assets and information from any kind of cyber threats.
3. Cyber Security Threat
The types of Cyber Security threats are many, which are described below:
- Phishing: A fraudulent or fake party sends a mail or some form of communication that appears to arrive from an authentic or reputed source. It demands the victim some sensitive and confidential information such as bank or credit card details. The victim unintentionally enters and submits the information, and the attacker or the fraud gets access to all the information. Therefore, phishing can be very dangerous and may lead to severe consequences.
- Malware: Malware is a common form of cyber-attack these days. It is a kind of dangerous or malicious software that breaches a network through some vulnerability. On being installed in the system or network, it ruptures the functionality and steals data.
- Man-in-the-middle attack: The attacker invades in the middle of a two-party transaction or conversation via malware or insecure Wi-Fi networks and swipes out valuable data to accomplish the task.
- Cyber-Physical Attacks: The same technology which has modernized and automated our infrastructure also brings us danger. Everything has become more vulnerable, representing even more of it in the future, with the ongoing threats of hacking transportation systems, electrical grids, water treatment facilities, and many more.
- IoT Attacks: The Internet of Things (IoT) is found everywhere now and is going on maintaining and existing its existence day by day. It comprises laptops, smartphones, webcams, routers, smartwatches, automobiles, medical devices, household appliances, and even home security systems. Connected devices are in great demand today as they come in handy for the consumers, posing a greater risk. They make IoT connections more vulnerable to cyber invasions. IoT devices, once hacked, can create havoc and serious fallouts.
- Password Attacks: A cyber attacker can obtain a wealth of information through the right password. There are a few types of password attacks like social engineering, outright guessing, or accessing a password database. Hackers rely on human interaction and trick people into breaking standard security practices.
- SQL Injection: A cyber-attack that happens with the insertion of malignant code into a server using SQL. The server reveals confidential information when infected.
- Denial of Service: A Denial of Service (DoS) is a kind of cyber threat that chokes a computer network so it cannot answer the requests.
4. Python Programming Language – Introduction And Benefits
Python as a programming language has been quite a lot popular now, with its growth being incredible over the past few years. It has been dominating the Cyber Security industry and has been around for a long time now. In recent years, it has even become the focus of Cyber Security professionals. Python supports syntax, which is simple and understandable and has a wide range of applications making it a versatile programming language.
There are a number of factors that make Python for cyber security a preferable language among the Cyber Security professionals. The factors are listed below:
- Easy to learn, understand and implement: Python is quite simple to learn, design, and implement, making it a more comfortable programming language. It’s a user-friendly language meant to enhance syntax, implementation, and code readability.
- Python is a free and open-source programming language: It’s designed as a complete open-source programming language, making it accessible for anybody to improve it further. It’s free to download as well.
- It makes code debugging simpler: Python requires minimal coding because of the several in-built libraries present to perform some functionality, making it easier for the programmer to debug the code for errors, at the same time, decreasing the risk of language issues.
- Extensive support libraries and user-friendly data structures: Python incorporates large libraries supporting extensive functionality and features such as string operations, protocols, and web services tools. This puts a limit on the length of code to be written by the programmers, thereby reducing bugs. It also encompasses data structures like in-built lists and dictionaries. It reduces the length of high-level data typing, thereby reducing the length of support code required.
- Python ensures speed and productivity: The main reasons behind this language’s speed and productivity are the advanced control and text processing capabilities provided to the users. The experienced Cyber Security professionals find it implementing it as a hassle-free code.
- It supports automatic memory management: Python supports in-built memory management features automatically by design. The programmers remain less concerned about the factors like partitioning, memory allocation, and caching.
5. Python For Cyber Security – Purpose And Benefits
Python is a general-purpose, server-side scripting language implemented by thousands of security projects. Some of the functionalities supported using Python’s base programming do not require any third-party tools, examples of which are given below:
- Attacks simulation
- Port Scanning
- Web Server Fingerprinting
- Access to mail servers
- Load generation and website testing
- Wireless network scanning
- Traffic transmission in the network
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems
To be an efficient Cyber Security professional, you need to build an effective portfolio and develop software, for which you need to equip yourself with the right Python frameworks and libraries prevalent in the industry.
- Automation Tools: The day-to-day tasks of a security professional involve writing effective Python scripts to automate the tasks. Python is recommended because of its easy syntax and wide range of supported libraries with a lot of functionality. You need to acquaint yourself with Python’s automation tools as most of the security tasks require you to apply the same operation across several endpoints. The automation process reduces not only time but also errors to a great extent.
- Regex: Regex refers to regular expressions, and this tool enables you to search for specific patterns within some text. You can extract information from log files while investigating or scraping from the Internet using Regex. You can even locate IP addresses to detect the hacking activity by combining regex with other Python libraries for Cyber Security.
- Pyperclip: You can directly access the clipboard from your Python scripts using Pyperclip in a very simple and efficient manner. It’s precisely helpful for the scripts containing extremely large bodies of statements.
- Pen Testing: Pen Testing or Penetration Testing is the process of trying to hack into a system, network, or software to test security. This is a very important application of Python in Cyber Security. Professionals need to create their scripts and tools to achieve this effect.
- Network Port Scanning: Python Nmap tool is used for network port scanning using Python Socket Programming regardless of any third-party tool.
- Packet Sniffing: Tools such as Wireshark or simply written Python scripts can be used for achieving Packet Sniffing. You require NIC to implement promiscuous mode in case of sniffing traffic on your local network.
- Socket Programming: Socket Programming in Python requires the package socket to be imported first and then invoked by related methods.
- Geolocation Extraction: The ‘pygeoip’ module is responsible for extracting an IP address’s real-time location using Google APIs and Python.
- Real-time Extraction from Social Media: You can use Python scripts for Cyber Security for downloading real-time live data from various social media platforms.
Unsurprisingly, with so many headlines about cyber security, there’s also growing interest in joining the industry. So, what are the best programming languages for cyber security? Let’s find out.
Why learning programming is important for cyber security
Simply put, it makes you better at your job. Understanding programming helps cyber security experts examine software and discover security vulnerabilities, detect malicious codes, and execute tasks that involve analytical skills in cyber security.
The choice of which programming language to learn, however, isn’t so simply put.
The language to learn depends on your concentration, which could be in computer forensics, security for web applications, information security, malware analysis, or application security. Though the importance of any given language varies by role, programming experience offers a higher competitive edge for cyber security experts over others.
And although not all cyber security positions require a programming background, it’s an important skill to have for mid-level and upper-level cyber positions. A strong understanding of programming languages helps cyber security experts stay on top of cyber criminals, and having a good grasp of the architecture of a system means that it is easier to defend it.
Fortunately, the beginning of a cyber security career is the ideal time to build your programming knowledge. This way, when you hit the job market, you’ll know the essential components of programming and will be able to read code and comprehend its functions.
What programming language should I learn for cyber security?
There are about 250 prominent computer programming languages used today, with as many as 700 used around the world. In cyber, that number shrinks to around 10-15. Here are the twelve best programming languages to learn for cyber security, so you can set your sights toward starting a new cyber career.
For several years now, Python has been a dominant language in cyber security. It is a server-side scripting language, so the resulting script doesn’t need compiling by coders. It’s a general-purpose language that is used in many — if not most — cyber security situation.
With Python, you’re able to automate tasks and perform malware analysis. Plus an extensive third-party library of scripts is readily accessible, meaning help is right around the corner. Code readability, clear and easy syntax, and a vast number of libraries are some of the aspects that make it popular.
For cyber security experts, Python is a valuable programming language since it can be used in detecting malware, penetration testing, scanning, and analyzing cyber threats. If you understand Python, being a SOC support pro makes a whole lot of sense.
You need to build tools and scripts in this role to protect web pages from security threats. To examine the root of the issues, you can also employ data, logs, and artifacts.
As a side note: The chart above shows the relative popularity based on how many GitHub pulls are made per year for that language. This chart and all the charts below are based on data from GitHut 2.0, created by littleark.
- Most malware aims to get into target systems undiscovered, making Golang perfect for it.
- With Golang, a single source code can be constructed for all major operating systems.
- The size of malware coded in GoLang is large. This helps them to penetrate systems undiscovered since large files cannot be scanned by a lot of popular antivirus software.
- This language also has vast libraries that make the malware creation process very smooth.
Go has become quite popular as a language for security professionals. It’s a perfect option for cyber programmers for its use in server and cloud services, flexibility and ease, and data analysis capabilities.
It’s one of the finest programming languages for cyber security you can master.
- This also implies that, due to the widespread use of the language, applications and systems using it are prominent targets.
- Applying C language in reverse engineering facilitates the development of antivirus programs because cyber security teams can disassemble a malware to examine its design, spread, and consequences.
- The C programming language is also essential for developers who QA code integrity.
- Cyber enemies may also use the language to identify exploitable weaknesses in the network before an attack is launched.
Being a low-level programming language with simple syntax, someone can master it with a few months of training. Programmers take further steps to make sure that their code lacks bugs when writing the program. Hackers can use it to find vulnerabilities, though.
Lint is a code analysis tool intended for programs that are written in C. Different versions have emerged since its inception. Both cyber security experts and hackers may use Lint to identify programming errors, and find bugs that risk computer network security.
C++ was adapted from the C coding language, but has several distinct features.
- In contrast to C, C++ supports objects and classes.
- C++ is faster and performs better than the C language.
- Despite being useful, less than 0.1% of all websites use it.
- A C++ developer develops desktop and mobile apps, whereas coding specialists identify and eliminate any vulnerability and bugs.
Cyber security experts benefit learning C++ because they can detect vulnerabilities and security weaknesses easily. A scanning tool like Flawfinder that scans C++ lets cyber experts easily recognize security flaws in code. These tools describe existing vulnerabilities, their severity, and their effects on an application by using an integrated database that includes the language function’s possible risks.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific programming language. It highly popular and is used to parse data in large databases. With businesses becoming more data-driven, SQL is the most demanded database management programming language.
- Most websites use SQL for their data management activities like Relational Database Management System (RDBS).
- It deals with numerous database systems.
- Consequently, it is also recognized as the most straightforward language for handling a database.
Database Administrators, programmers, and end-users create SQL queries for the retrieval, insertion, modification, and removal of data stored in database tables. Attackers often use this language to steal confidential data, compromise data stores, and execute a variety of web-based attacks.
You’ll need to have at least a basic knowledge of SQL if you want to comprehend the activity of the attacker and avoid SQL injection as well as other database-related attacks.
- An assembly language is any low-level language that helps analyze and understand how malware works.
- Understanding assembly is relatively straightforward, especially if you already know a high-programming language.
In 2003, Slammer, a malware based on assembly, caused disorder and slowed web traffic by forcing service negligence on many, many proprietors. There was a protective overflow bug on Microsoft’s SQL server that the program exploited. This incident was not a sudden one — several months before a patch was released — but several enterprises didn’t implement it, opening the door for the bug to propagate.
Assembly is an essential programming language as cyber security experts might use it to interpret malware and understand their modes of attack. Cyber security professionals defend against traditional and contemporary malware continuously, and so it’s essential to understand how malware functions.
PowerShell is a more versatile command-line interface that blends the old Command Prompt (CMD) features with an advanced scripting environment that can be used to get access to the inner core of a machine, including Windows APIs access.
- PowerShell is a valuable tool to automate repetitive tasks for administrators, but sadly, its capabilities have also been exploited by malicious actors.
- No longer having to rely on typical malware, Hackers can manipulate PowerShell to find sensitive domain information and load harmful executables (also known as fileless malware).
- Because PowerShell is installed on all machines from Windows 7 to Windows Server 2019 by default, it’s a preferred tool for many attackers.
Ruby is a general-purpose high-level language created and developed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in Japan. Since then, it’s become one of the most popular programming languages in the world.
- Ruby’s syntax is essentially identical to Perl and Python.
- It was written in C.
- Its ease of use and inherent ability to manage massive code projects make it popular among coders.
- Ruby has been widely used for sites including Airbnb, Hulu, Kickstarter, and Github.
- Ruby manages much of a machine’s complex information, making programs easier to develop and with less code.
Java is one of the first languages to be used in the design of many major operating systems, like Solaris, Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. Since it drives both modern and legacy web servers, it is extensively used in all industries.
In information security, the Java language has many applications.
- Cyber adversaries, for instance, use it to reverse-engineer proprietary software applications to discover and exploit security vulnerabilities.
- Penetration testers often use Java to organize high-scaling servers they use in payload delivery.
- Pen testing is one of the essential tasks of a cyber security specialist, and understanding Java makes it easier.
- Experienced ethical hackers use Java programming to build and develop sophisticated, ethical programs.
- Java is highly dynamic compared to languages like C++, making it popular among cyber experts.
- Using Java to develop vulnerability testing programs lets ethical hackers deploy it on multiple platforms.
PHP is a server-side programming language used to build websites. PHP is perhaps the most powerful server-side language there is, used in 80 percent of the web’s top 10 million domains. For this reason alone, it’s obvious that understanding PHP will help you protect against attackers.
- RIPS is a standard tool for PHP applications that performs automated security analysis.
- In an application, RIPS examines data flow from input parameters to critical operations.
- You could use RIPS if you’re a PHP developer working with security vulnerabilities.
- As a PHP security-focused developer, you can write server-side web application logic.
- You can handle back-end resources and data sharing between servers and their consumers using PHP
- You can also use your PHP knowledge to eliminate any vulnerabilities in your code.
It’s also worth noting that PHP is used by businesses as a language on the server-side that works with HTML, helping websites work properly. To make website updates easier, web designers use PHP to connect databases with web pages.
Shell scripting incorporates several of the same commands that you may already use in your operating system’s terminal sessions and lets developers create automated scripts for various routine activities.
Do you need to provision accounts quickly and facilitate sufficient access? Do you want to automate a system configuration security lockdown quickly? This is where shell scripting comes into play.
You’ll want to master some Linux script languages like Bash if you’re using Linux or macOS. If you’re a Windows pro, immerse yourself in PowerShell.
What’s the first cyber security language I should learn?
We recommend starting with Python. The syntax is straightforward and there are countless libraries that make your coding life much easier.
In cyber security, Python is used to conduct many cyber security tasks like scanning and analyzing malware. Python is a helpful step towards more sophisticated programming languages, too. It offers a high level of web readability and is used by tech’s largest companies, including Google, Reddit, and NASA. Once you have Python down-pat, you can move on to high-level programming languages.
What are the best ways to learn these cyber languages?
Like with any type of coding language, there are lots of ways to get started learning. It really all depends on how much time and money you’d like to commit to. If you want to learn casually or dabble in coding before committing, we suggest starting with a free introductory course. And if you know you’re ready to pursue a career in cyber security, then a full-time bootcamp is your best bet.
Introductory cyber security courses
Coursera’s Introduction to Cyber Security. Built to help learning understand modern technology and strategies for information and system security.
EdX. This course provides a high-level introduction to cyber security and is suited for people interested in internet security.
Flatiron School’s Intro to Cyber security. Learners who want to dive into cyber security fundamentals like virtualization functions can get started with our free intro course.
In-person cyber security courses designed to help you change careers
Evolve Security. Evolve Security is an interactive and hands-on cyber security training program for 20 weeks. Students spend roughly 20 hours a week on cyber security bootcamp training, including in-class and individual study.
SecureSet. This 800-hour comprehensive course is intended to help you learn the skills to become a level 1+ strategic analyst, security engineer, or penetration testing officer. SecureSet’s is a part of Flatiron.
Fullstack Academy. Fullstack Academy is designed to take you from a cyber security beginner to an in-demand cyber security expert in only 17 weeks of full-time training.
Flatiron School’s cyber ecurity analytics course. Our 480-hour Analytics course is intended to teach you everything you need to know to start a career as a level 1+ threat analyst, compliance analyst, security consultant, or SOC specialist.
We also offer our full-time Cybersecurity Engineering course. This course focuses more on learners with a technical background, helping them start a career as a cyber security engineer and joining the forefront of global technological development.
The best online cyber security courses to change your career
Brainstation. Through this cyber security course, you can gain a better understanding of the technologies developed every day and how security attacks leverage vulnerabilities and evolve within cyber security.
Level Effect. This course focuses on security and is paired with practical applications and use cases. Develop the skills needed to secure cyber security job roles or advance your career with new strategies, techniques, and processes.
Flatiron School’s online cyber security course. Through this online program, you can gain cyber security Analytics skills while being part of a vibrant, buzzing group of students and tech entrepreneurs through Slack, Zoom, and in-person with nearby learners.
What other skills do you need for a cyber security career?
Specops Software examined 843 cyber security job listings on the recruiting website, indeed, to classify the essential soft skills for cyber security positions in the job market and which programming languages and certifications are most valuable.
Soft skills you need
- Technical ability and mindset are by far the most important skills to have
- Second is responsibility
- And third is clear written communication
- As far as languages go, Python is the most in-demand
- C++ is second
- And C is third
- System Security Professional certification, or CISSP, is the most in-demand professional certification
- The second most crucial professional certification is the Certified Information Security Manager certification (CISM)
- CISA certification is the third most sought-after professional qualification for cyber security positions.
Keep in mind: each language has its own objective and serves it accordingly. The more languages you know, the better it looks on your resume and the further ahead you are than the rest of the pack.
Although many entry-level cyber security roles don’t require programming knowledge, programming is a key skill for mid-level and upper-level cyber security roles. You can succeed in your profession and move towards long-term success in the industry with a certain knowledge of at least one programming language.
If you’re seriously considering a career in cyber, Flatiron offers our flagship Cybersecurity Analytics and Cybersecurity Engineering courses to help you get there. We also offer our Cybersecurity Analytics course online, which uses the same curriculum as the in-person course.
To learn more about which one is right for you, learn more from our Head of Cyber, Dr. Jim Borders, below.https://www.youtube.com/embed/dRgw8gsHjDU?autoplay=0&mute=0&controls=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fflatironschool.com&playsinline=false&enablejsapi=1&widgetid=1
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A Guide to Python Programming for Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, systems, and programs from digital attacks. It is estimated to be an industry worth $112 billion in 2019, with an estimated 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021.
Many programming languages are used to perform everyday tasks related to cybersecurity, but one of them has emerged as the industry standard: Python, which is dominating the cybersecurity industry.
Python has a syntax that is easy to read and understand and a wide range of applications that make it a very versatile programming language for any aspiring cybersecurity professional.https://c8f6ad5e2158ed605a123647b2c5a3a7.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Python’s growth over the last few years has been incredible, and it’s now considered one of the most popular languages across all industries, according to Stack Overflow.
If you’re a programmer thinking of transitioning to security, this post will show you how you can use your existing skill set in another high-income, low-unemployment industry. You could do that, for instance, by either automating repetitive processes to save your team countless hours or by creating security tools that can be used to test the security of applications or systems.
Imperva, a leading cybersecurity software and service provider, reports 77% of the websites they protect were attacked by a Python-based tool. As security professionals, part of our job is to mimic real-life attacks to ensure that companies are ready when real attacks occur, understanding the language and libraries used in real attacks. Replication of those tools is a very valuable skill set.
However, not all Python experience is equal in the security field. To build an effective portfolio, develop effective software, and properly demonstrate your value, you need to focus on learning the right Python libraries and frameworks for the industry.
So let’s look at some of the different Python libraries that you need to know to thrive in these areas.
Firstly, you want to be able to write effective Python scripts to automate many of the day-to-day tasks of a security professional.
Python has been widely used in security work because of its easy-to-learn syntax and wide range of libraries, which give it a lot of functionality. While other languages can be used to perform these tasks, I recommend learning Python. That’s what the majority of the industry will be using, and collaboration is important.
Many security tasks require you to apply the same operation across hundreds or thousands of endpoints. For example, let’s look at configuration management. This is the practice of defining a secure template for a system, including things like what services are allowed to be on the machine, what ports will be open, firewall rules, etc.
The ability to automate these processes will not only reduce time but also errors. Up to 90% of security incidents are a direct result of human error. The more you can move away from relying on human actors, the better it is from a security perspective. So this leads to the question, how can I learn to automate processes like this?
Boto3 is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Software Development Kit (SDK) for Python, which allows programmers to write scripts that can interact with AWS services like Amazon Simple Storage Service(S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud(EC2), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud(VPC).
With Boto3 you can start and stop servers on demand, cancel instances that do not conform to your organization’s security standards, perform updates and patch management, and much more. Being familiar with this SDK is very valuable for any professional working with AWS.
Regex stands for regular expressions, and this is a tool that allows you to search for specific patterns within a block of text. This is a very useful function for extracting information from log files during an investigation or when scraping information from the internet.
By combining this library with other standard Python libraries, you can create some very useful programs. For example, you can use regex to search log files and locate IP addresses so you can determine if someone was able to hack into your network, what actions they performed, and what time this event took place.
Pyautogui and Web Browser
Pyautogui allows your scripts to control mouse and keyboard functions, letting you imitate intelligent user behavior. The web browser module allows you to launch a new browser to a specified URL.
You can use these in programs to automate any action requiring you to go to a website and perform any function, such as filling out a web form, downloading files, etc. This can be used to automate functions that require you to login to a web page and post information.
These libraries can also be used to automate other routine tasks that require you to login, go to a web browser, and perform an action on the webpage.
This library gives you the ability to access the clipboard directly from your Python scripts. While this can be done with the pyautogui library, pyperclip makes this process much simpler and adds flexibility to your scripts.
It’s particularly useful for any scripts that involve large bodies of text. For example, say you’re scanning an entire pdf for names, addresses, and phone numbers. Just by highlighting the pdf text and copying it to clipboard, pyperclip allows you to use it in your script as an input, saving you a significant amount of time.
This library is dedicated to producing fake data that can be used to test your programs. This is important to ensure that whatever scripts or tools you write will be able to perform the action as intended.
For example, if you have a script that extracts URLs, you may want to generate some fake text containing that information and test your program to ensure that your script can find it effectively. Faker can generate random data such as names, addresses, emails, countries, text, urls, etc.
Another important application of Python programming in cybersecurity is in the area of penetration testing. A penetration test is the process of trying to hack into a website, application, device, or network in order to test the security of that entity.
In order to perform these tests effectively, many professionals create their own tools and scripts that function exactly as they need them to for the test, and this is where knowing Python becomes very useful.
Python is largely used in this area to develop custom scripts and tools used to perform the attacks. If you want to be successful in this area, knowing how to write effective scripts and how to read and understand tools written by others will be very valuable to you. Here are some of the key libraries you need to be familiar with.
Nmap is a very widely used port scanner. Port scanning is the process of checking what ports are open on a computer and what services are running on that machine so you can start to determine how that machine may be vulnerable to getting hacked.
The Python Nmap library makes it easy for you to utilize nmap functionality through your Python scripts, speeding up the process of scanning a target computer for vulnerabilities and giving you more customization in your scans. This library allows you to analyse nmap scan results, perform custom scans, and import nmap results into other tools.
Socket is a low-level network interfacing library that allows you to establish client-server connections. In the context of cybersecurity, this is important because it allows you to connect to any machine on a specified port, with a specific protocol, and send data to that machine.
This can be used for port scanning of a machine as well as sending data to or extracting information from a machine. Data exfiltration occurs at a later stage of pen testing and is known as exploitation. Any project that requires you to communicate over a network interface will likely use Socket.
Scapy is a packet manipulation library that can forge and decode packets across many different network protocols.
In cybersecurity, there are situations where you need to monitor the packets being sent across a computer network. It could be to determine if someone hacked into your environment, see what ports and services are running on a machine, or troubleshoot a network problem.
Whatever the reason, this library is great for performing packet analysis and can allow the same functionality as popular tools such as Nmap, Wireshark and tcpdump.
Requests is pretty self-explanatory. It allows programmers to send HTTP requests through their scripts. HTTP requests are useful for pen testing activities by allowing the creation of custom payloads and attacks against web applications.
Requests can achieve the same functionality as a tool like burp suite but with more customization to your needs. Imperva researchers found that Requests was the most popular Python library used in web-based attacks, used in 89% of Python-based attacks.
This library specializes in assisting the information-gathering phase of penetration testing.
Beautiful Soup allows you to parse data from HTML and XML files, letting you automate data-scraping tasks. Data scraping can be important during the open-source intelligence phase of a penetration test, as this phase is dedicated to finding as much information about the target of the test as possible.
For this reason, you may want to create scripts to automate this phase, searching in places like Github to find information on your target company. This information could include IP addresses, or User IDs and passwords that are often accidentally committed by developers to public repositories.
Each of these libraries adds important functionality, but to get proficient with writing scripts related to security, it’s best to learn them in a structured way.
When it comes to automation tools, I highly recommend these two resources because they cover all of the core Python libraries used in automation of everyday tasks, and they guide you through several projects that you can put in your portfolio to demonstrate your knowledge to a recruiter.
- Automatetheboringstuff.com: This free ebook walks you through all of these libraries and more, related to automating everyday work tasks using Python. It is by far the most comprehensive guide I’ve found and comes with practice exercises, projects, and walkthroughs.
- Google’s Automation with Python Professional Certificate: Google has a crash course to introduce you to the language and walks you through important aspects of automation for an IT professional.
As you’re learning Python, I would highly recommend you keep all of the code that you write in these courses and use it in a portfolio. An easy and free way to do this is through a Github portfolio.
Each of these courses comes with several practice project ideas that you can do, but some of the key skills you want to demonstrate are the ability to read and write to files, extract information from text, and interact with online services through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
If you’re interested in learning Python directly for pen testing, here are some good places to start. These books go into great detail on how to use Python to accomplish security-specific activities, like security automation, developing Python security tools for security testing, and Python scripts used in computer forensic activities. They are also well respected by the security community, which is a testament to their quality.
- Violent Python: A Cookbook for Hackers, Forensic Analysts, Penetration Testers and Security Engineers
- Black Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Pentesters
- Grey Hat Python: Python Programming for Hackers and Reverse Engineers
The ability to program is a valuable asset for any aspiring security professional, especially if you’re interested in technical roles such as being a security engineer or penetration tester.
Python Is Crucial in Cybersecurity
Python is the most prevalent programming language in cybersecurity, and demonstrating your ability to program in this language can greatly improve your chances of landing a job.
For building a strong programming portfolio, you want to focus on demonstrating that you can automate everyday tasks with Python as well as create security tools for Pen Testing Web Applications, Networks, and Computer Systems.
Cybersecurity is one of the highest paying tech industries, and it’s only projected to grow, presenting a big opportunity for those who are qualified.ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shimon Brathwaite is a cybersecurity professional, entrepreneur, consultant, and author at securitymadesimple. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, and has worked in several financial institutions in security-related roles as a consultant in incident response and is a published author with a book on cybersecurity law. He can be found online at securitymadesimple.org.
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Earn a Certificate
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