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Bust cybercrime with a STEM career


Cyber security is the new frontier of warfare, and cyber criminals are the enemy.

For every physical crime that makes the national news, or headlines on social media, there’s an often unacknowledged world of shadowy intrigue sitting beside it, full of crimes
much harder to trace and infinitely more dangerous. On any given day, 164 ordinary Australians and businesses report acts of cybercrime, targeted at their personal and sensitive data.

Cybercrime can involve anything from the acquisition of private passwords, communications and photographs, to financial information and funds.

RELATED: What is cyber security + why is it so important?

Stand and deliver

A common thread among cybercrimes in recent years is ransomware. Ransomware
refers to software or other technical bugs designed for the sole purpose of capturing
(and holding hostage) private and sensitive data. The sting comes both from the threat of
that information being released and the cash that must be paid to get it back.

Ransomware as a criminal tool is most effective when the target of an attack is
a larger corporation, a government agency or another organisation that provides an
essential service to society.

Getting started

Most of us are kept safe from the threats of cybercrime by highly specialised cyber
intelligence analysts, but if you’re interested in cyber security and crime prevention, your
career options don’t stop there. Other pathways include ethical hackers or penetration tester (pen tester) – peeps with special skills in breaching security, so teams can identify flaws in a system and patch them up.

The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network points to a skills shortage across information communications technologies (ICT). In fact, the Wall Street Journal estimates it’ll take 3.1 million people worldwide before the job needs for this growing industry are met.

RELATED: Love STEM and communications? Work in cyber security

Staying safe

The internet has become integral to our every day and the way we communicate with others. While it can all feel interconnected and we sometimes don’t hesitate to share data, we’ve also gotta remember we’re essentially broadcasting information to strangers. If our info ends up in the wrong hands, things like identity theft, photoshopping personal pics with explicit material and other invasions of privacy become a real risk. So always be cyber aware!

Start your career here

Cyber security + fighting crime study

  • Bachelor of Cyber Security and Behaviour, University of Western Sydney
  • Bachelor of Information Technology, Australian Catholic University
  • Bachelor of Information Technology (Networking and Cyber Security), University of South Australia

Cyber security + fighting crime jobs

  • Cyber security analyst: $52K–$114K
  • Ethical hacker: $101K (average income)
  • Forensic computer analyst: $71K–$119K*

*Salaries according to

This story originally appears in Careers with STEM: Cyber Security 2021. 

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