Malware Analyst

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Business in the United States and around the globe has become – and will continue to become — increasingly computerized and Internet-based leaving it vulnerable to the new malicious code that is deployed across the globe daily. Businesses, associations, and government entities rely on having their systems fully and constantly operational, and they are willing to invest in the personnel who can make that happen. That is good news for Malware Analysts.

Malicious code (malware) compromises the integrity of a computer or network and can steal proprietary data such as that contained in financial records. A Malware Analyst examines, identifies, and understands all types of cybersecurity malware such as that contained in viruses, worms, bots, rootkits, and Trojans.

The primary focus of a Malware Analyst is to prevent the spread of malware and to inhibit it before it can cause any damage. Malware Analysts conduct dynamic and static analyses of suspicious code to establish signatures that indicate its presence. They also determine how such code may spread through systems, and they develop tools and procedures to detect the code in advance of any infection.

A Malware Analyst sometimes may be referred to as a Reverse Engineer because of the aspect of the work that requires reverse engineering code and examining how a program interacts with its environment. A Malware Analyst must possess a keen understanding of reverse-engineering and software development to deal with the many forms of malicious code.

General Educational Requirements

Most employers require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Information Systems. Some employers are willing to waive the degree requirement for candidates who are especially talented in malware analysis and/or who have experience in another relevant security field.

This is a position that usually requires industry certification and, depending on the type of employer, may well require a security clearance.

Additional Qualifications

A Malware Analyst must have software development and code writing skills in a variety of languages and must have experience with all types of cybersecurity tools. It is important for a Malware Analyst to realistically assess his technical strengths and weaknesses and constantly strive to improve/update them, to keep up with the evolving threat environment, and to contribute to the malware research community.

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