How to Become a Computer Security Incident Responder

Computer Security Incident Responder
Computer Security Incident Responder

How to Become a Computer Security Incident Responder- Large organisations and small organisations both employ computer security incident responders. They are required in government and non-profit organisations. They can work as an in-house security team member or as an independent consultant. The incident responder, regardless of the organisation, is first and foremost the first line of defence whenever an assault is suspected or detected.

The incident responder, like police and firefighters, answers the call from computer defence systems and uses the digital instruments of a computer forensic analyst to deal with urgent physical dangers. They react fast to neutralise the immediate threat, restore order and control, and document the event for attribution and possible legal action.

Incident responders, like their physical security colleagues, often work odd hours during and after a security incident while providing investigative services. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field should anticipate to work for extended and unpredictable periods of time on occasion, which will be compensated by flex-time policies later.

Become a computer security incident responder by following these steps.

There are various avenues to the same position in cybersecurity, as there are in most fields. Some broad norms, on the other hand, are universal. An incident responder’s job is almost never an entry-level role.

Employers will look for a candidate who has spent several years as part of a security team in a company that is similar to theirs. The entrance point involves familiarity and experience with security principles, as well as defensive techniques, tactics, and approaches. Employer-specific formal education requirements will vary greatly. This function will appeal to businesses who place a high priority on professional certificates.

It’s worth noting that security clearances are frequently required of computer security incident responders by government institutions and government contractors.

1. Education While not usually required, having one of the following college degrees is recommended for someone seeking employment as a computer security incident responder: BS in computer science, BS in cybersecurity, or BS in information technology. A master’s degree in one of these fields will broaden your job options even more.

2. Career path Working as a computer security specialist, security administrator, network administrator, or system administrator for two to three years is a common professional path. Other professional experience, such as forensic examiner or even offensive security experience, may be requested depending on an employer’s specific demands and the vertical in which they operate.

3. Professional certifications There are a variety of professional certifications available that demonstrate the abilities and knowledge required to be a successful incident responder. These certificates will most likely be valued differently by each job. They are as follows:

  • CERT-Certified Computer Security Incident Handler (CERT-CSIH)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
  • GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
  • GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA)
  • GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
  • GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst (GCIA)
  • Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE)
  • Certified Penetration Tester (CPT)
  • Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst (CREA)

4. Prior experience Prior knowledge in computer investigations or computer forensics is typically required for work as an incident responder. It’s a plus if you’ve used computer forensic software before. A common criterion is work experience that displays the ability to create clear, easy-to-read technical reports.

What is a Computer Security Incident Responder?

Within an organization’s Computer Security Incident Response Team, the computer security incident responder is a critical role (CSIRT). This is a similar job to that of a first responder. When it comes to cybersecurity incidents, the CSIRT is the first to respond.

These occurrences could be legitimate cybersecurity breaches or they could not. The team’s principal responsibility is to make that determination. A variety of cyber detection techniques keep track on traffic and behaviour patterns involving digital systems and assets. When these technologies detect and report an abnormality, the incident responder’s responsibility is to immediately make an initial assessment of the potential threat, perform an investigation to support or alter the assessment, and try to identify and neutralise any actual threat that may exist.

During a security event, the duty of an incident responder is reactive in nature and can be quite fast-paced. The need to detect and act effectively to what might be a virtual deluge of automatic warnings necessitates someone who can function calmly in a high-pressure setting. The incident responder’s mission is to provide investigation services after the initial attack has been discovered and contained. These services are required to provide the information needed for security and development teams to establish security controls that will prevent a future assault.

Computer Security Incident Responder Skills and Experience

The specific abilities required by any given firm will be primarily determined by the operating systems utilised, the architecture of the systems, and other variables relevant to that company. In general, the ability to demonstrate computer investigation and forensics capabilities will be required. It’s crucial to be familiar with industry-standard forensic tools.

Communication skills, both verbal and written, are essential in the midst of a high-pressure situation. Ability to interpret highly technical details into clearly understandable reports is a requirement for written communication abilities. To acquire a clear and accurate grasp of the situation, management teams and even law enforcement rely on incident responder reports.

It’s critical to have knowledge of both historical and cutting-edge attack vectors. Other abilities that are desirable include:

  1. Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  2. Ability to code using C, C++, C#, Java, ASM, PHP, PERL
  3. TCP/IP-based network communications
  4. Computer hardware and software systems
  5. Operating system installation, patching, and configuration
  6. Backup and archiving technologies
  7. Web-based application security
  8. eDiscovery tools (NUIX, Relativity, Clearwell, and others)
  9. Forensic software applications (e.g. EnCase, FTK, Cellebrite, XRY, and more)
  10. Enterprise system monitoring tools and SIEMs
  11. Cloud computing

What do Computer Security Incident Responders do?

The primary role of an incident responder, who often works in a security operations centre (SOC), is to quickly investigate and document cybersecurity problems within a company. The incident responder is tasked with investigating the occurrence and mitigating potential damages once a prospective incident has been recognised using either automated or human tools. The incident responder, as a member of the CSIRT, collaborates closely with the enterprise’s security group to define and classify attack methodologies and intended payloads in order to build in protection against future occurrences.

The incident responder, also known as a CSIRT engineer or intrusion analyst, examines and analyses a variety of digital anomalies that could lead to the discovery of an attempted breach or the presence of an advanced persistent threat within the organization’s systems using various computer forensic tools. They are members of a cybersecurity investigation unit.

In many cases, an incident responder will be asked to create reports detailing their findings in relation to cybersecurity investigations. These reports must reflect a technical understanding of the situation while also using language that management and other non-technical readers may understand. These reports may be utilised as evidence in the legal prosecution of hackers on rare occasions. It’s possible that an incident responder will be called to testify in court.

Computer Security Incident Responder Job Description

An incident responder is supposed to do the following tasks:

  • In the event of a security compromise, act quickly.
  • Be familiar with a variety of computer forensic tools.
  • Obtain a security clearance and keep it up to date.
  • In high-stress situations, perform well.
  • Keep up with the most cutting-edge assault vectors.
  • Inspect systems and networks for intrusions on a regular basis.
  • Determine the existence of security flaws and vulnerabilities.
  • Security audits, network forensics, and penetration testing are all things that you can do.
  • Perform malware investigation and reverse engineering.
  • Create a set of processes for dealing with security issues.
  • Establish internal and external communication protocols for security incidents.
  • Produce technical briefs and thorough incident reports for management, administrators, and end-users.
  • Collaboration with other cybersecurity and risk assessment experts

Outlook for Computer Security Incident Responders

In the near future, there will be a major increase in the demand for incident responders. According to IDC, cybersecurity will be one of the top 20 IT jobs in demand over the next ten years. One of the fastest-growing professional sectors in cybersecurity is incident response.

While new technologies can automate some cybersecurity operations, incident responder tasks do not fall into this category. All indications are that those with the necessary expertise and skill set will be able to find work for many years to come.

How much do Computer Security Incident Responders Make?

The average annual income for computer security incident responders was $80,000 in the study for this guide. This figure varies by location, needed duties, education, professional qualifications, and industry. In the San Francisco Bay area, an experienced security expert may expect to earn around $120,000 per year.

Flex time is very popular among incident responders. During a security event, for example, an incident responder may be required to work two 18-hour shifts in a row to cope with the problem. They may then be able to take the rest of the week off.

Telecommuting and remote work locations are frequently offered by large organisations to boost the benefits package for incident responders.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.