Cyber Intelligence Analyst (Career Profile)

corrupted computer
Rafe Swan

In a time where increasing amounts of important information and procedures are going Internet-based, one thing is at the forefront of everyone’s minds: keeping it all safe. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that a career path has evolved to meet that need.

Cyber intelligence analysts, also known as “cyber threat analysts,” are information security professionals who use their skills and background knowledge in areas like network administration or network engineering to help counter the activities of cyber criminals such as hackers and developers of malicious software.

The job of the cyber intelligence analyst involves a combination of:

  • technical research - collecting information about Internet-based malware-related criminal activities and the people behind them;
  • intelligence analysis - making predictions about cyber criminals and their future activities based on what is already known about them;
  • the creation of threat intelligence reports that communicate the results of the analyses to people who need to know them (e.g., government decision-makers, security officials, senior corporate officials).

Educational Requirements:

To become a cyber threat analyst, at a minimum, you typically need a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or another related field. However, this may not be required if you already have several years of experience in the field.

Certifications are another good way to prove that you know what you’re doing, especially in combination with a relevant bachelor’s degree.

Some of the certifications employers may ask for include:

  • (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • Security+
  • ISSEP (Information Systems Security Engineering Professional)
  • GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification)

Important Technical Skills:

Cyber threat analysts need to have solid experience in areas such as:

  • network and/or operating system security;
  • computer network intrusion detection/prevention systems;
  • firewalls;
  • IT network-based attack methodologies and tools;
  • security operations and incident response technologies and methodologies.

Because of this, cyber intelligence analysis is not an entry-level, “fresh out of school” kind of job. You’ll need to have years of experience in a relevant (i.e. network or security-related) position before pursuing this path.

Other Crucial Skills:

Beyond your specialized technical skills in information security, you should also be able to demonstrate certain cross-career qualities, including some “soft skills.” For cyber intelligence analysts, your professional strengths should include:

  • highly developed research and analytical skills - so you can work with data and pinpoint statistically significant patterns related to cyber threats;
  • strong organizational skills;
  • attention to detail;
  • forward thinking, e.g. “What would I do next if I were the attacker”;
  • strong presentation skills, as you will probably be expected to brief others on your findings and recommendations
  • solid teamwork skills - the ability to collaborate with others who are conducting research in the same, similar or different areas than what you're looking into;
  • excellent writing/communication skills.

Companies/Organizations Typically Hiring Cyber Threat Analysts:

Related Jobs in Security

  • Security Analyst/Engineer
  • Counterintelligence Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Architect/Administrator

Conclusion

This job has the potential to be a very fulfilling one for the right type of person since it means protecting important information against those who wish to destroy or misuse it. Cyber intelligence analysts are valuable assets for any company, and it’s a career that will have staying power as long as the Internet continues to run the world.

Note: this article has since been modified by Laurence Bradford.