Essential Programming Languages for Cyber Security

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Even if there are hundreds of programming languages used worldwide, as a cybersecurity professional, it is absolutely  essential to “speak” the language used by today’s cyber criminals. 

Coding is an important skill across almost every technology discipline today, and cyber security is no exception. For a career in cyber security, there are essential coding languages to master.

By using certain programming languages in your IT projects, your company can build tools that can defend your organization’s systems and networks against malicious and costly cyber attacks. 

Bocasay, an offshore outsourcing company, lists in this article the most popular programming languages used in the cybersecurity field today.

The offshore outsourcing company Bocasay lists the most used languages in cybersecurity ©Canva
The offshore outsourcing company Bocasay lists the most used languages in cybersecurity ©Canva

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is nothing more than the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks and critical data from malicious cyber attacks. The field can be divided into the following main categories: 

Application security deals with securing software and devices from cyber threats. A vulnerable application could provide cyber criminals with unrestricted access to critical company data.

Network security focuses on securing a computer network from unauthorized cyber intruders, whether it is a targeted cyber attack on your company, or a piece of opportunistic malware.

Information security refers to the essential practice of protecting the integrity and privacy of critical organization data from common cyber attacks, both in storage conditions and in transit. 

Operational security determines how critical company data is effectively used and stored. It includes all the processes and decisions for handling and protecting your company’s data assets. 

Disaster recovery is your organization’s response strategy in case of a malicious cyber attack. This policy dictates how your company can restore operation following a cyber security incident.

𝔻𝕠 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕒𝕟 𝕀𝕋 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕛𝕖𝕔𝕥 𝕚𝕟 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕘𝕣𝕖𝕤𝕤? 𝕐𝕠𝕦’𝕣𝕖 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕒𝕟 𝕖𝕩𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕥 𝕚𝕟 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕖𝕔𝕙𝕟𝕚𝕔𝕒𝕝 𝕒𝕤𝕡𝕖𝕔𝕥𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥? ℂ𝕙𝕠𝕠𝕤𝕖 𝔹𝕠𝕔𝕒𝕤𝕒𝕪 𝕒𝕤 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕠𝕗𝕗𝕤𝕙𝕠𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕦𝕥𝕤𝕠𝕦𝕣𝕔𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕡𝕒𝕟𝕪, 𝕥𝕠 𝕔𝕒𝕣𝕣𝕪 𝕠𝕦𝕥 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕀𝕋 𝕕𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕡𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥. 𝕆𝕦𝕣 𝕖𝕩𝕡𝕖𝕣𝕥𝕚𝕤𝕖 𝕚𝕤 𝕒𝕥 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕤𝕖𝕣𝕧𝕚𝕔𝕖!

Why are Programming Languages important for Cyber Security?

In order to understand exactly how a cyber criminal attacks an IT system, or tries to exploit its particular security gaps, it is an absolute necessity for cyber security professionals to understand the programming languages that are commonly used by hackers. In an age where Data is King, and where companies can lose millions of dollars as a result of cyber attacks and data breaches, it has become almost inevitable for anyone considering a career in cyber security, to have to gain sufficient knowledge of several computer programming languages.  

Best Programming Languages for Cyber Security

Java: Widely used in mobile app development and system programming, Java is popular with cyber criminals who want to gain access to operating systems or to exploit mobile vulnerabilities. For example, hackers can use Java to reverse-engineer proprietary software applications to discover and exploit security weak spots. This is why it is common for penetration testers to use Java to organize high-scaling servers used in payload delivery. 

Python: The high-level Python programming language is frequently deployed by cyber criminals who want to write malicious software, exploits and hacking scripts. In addition, Python’s common use of in-network programming, is another reason why it is a popular choice for hackers. For cyber security experts, this valuable general-purpose language can be used to perform malware detection, penetration testing, scanning and general analysis of cyber threats. 

Golang: Golang is a popular programming language choice for cyber security professionals who want to specialize in protecting servers and cloud services. Cyber intruders will commonly deploy the Golang language to target IT systems with undetectable malware. Malicious software coded in Golang will tend to have a large file size – making it easy to penetrate IT systems undiscovered – since large files cannot be scanned with common anti-virus software. 

JavaScript: Used by 95% of all internet sites, JavaScript is one of the world’s most popular and versatile computer programming languages. Due to its widespread use, applications and systems using it are often prominent targets of cyber attacks. Mastering the JavaScript language as a cyber security expert is an absolute must-have. This can ensure that your company avoids costly compromised websites with malicious functionalities targeting your clients and visitors. 

No matter what your company's IT language is, outsourcing your cybersecurity to experts is still the safest solution! ©Canva
No matter what your company’s IT language is, outsourcing your cybersecurity to experts is still the safest solution! ©Canva

C: The C programming language can be deployed by cyber security experts to perform reverse-engineering and to facilitate the development of powerful anti-virus software. This is because the C language enables cyber security professionals to disassemble malicious software and to examine its design, spread and impact. Alternatively, cyber criminals commonly deploy C in order to identify exploitable network weaknesses before launching a major cyber attack.   

SQL: Used to parse data in large datasets, the Structured Query Language (SQL), is a domain-specific programming language that is widely used in database management. For cyber attackers, SQL is commonly used to steal confidential data, compromise data storage, as well as to execute a range of online cyber attacks. In order to protect companies from database-related cyber attacks, security professionals will need at least basic knowledge of SQL.

PHP: Present in 80% of the web’s top 10million domains, PHP is one of the most powerful server-side programming languages available. PHP developers working with security vulnerabilities can deploy RIPS – a standard tool within PHP applications – that can perform automated security analysis, as well as examine data flows from input parameters to critical operations. Mastering PHP can help security experts to eliminate server code vulnerabilities. 

Assembly: Assembly is the lowest low-level language available, providing total control of computer hardware and memory locations, and essentially being the closest programming language to actual machine code. Even if Assembly is device-specific, cyber security experts who master this language can analyze malware and modes of attack, as well as gain an in-depth understanding of whatever IT machines they will be tasked to defend from cyber criminals.     

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