How to Become a Malware Analyst

A malware analyst is a specialized type of computer systems analyst that identifies malware and protects systems against malware programs. Malware analysts often work with IT firms or on a consulting basis and have high rates of pay and job stability.

What Is a Malware Analyst?
Bachelor's Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Malware are computer programs that are designed to disrupt a system, breach the security of a system or otherwise adversely affect an enterprise. Malware programs will sometimes report information back to a third party, and this information can contain confidential data or client information such as social security numbers or even credit card numbers. A malware analyst is intended to mitigate these risks through an increase of security and reduction of protocols that could leave a system vulnerable.

A malware analyst needs to be extraordinarily current on recent news, as systems breaches can become published at any time. Analysts need to be knowledgeable about various methods of encryption and security, and they usually have many years of experience in the industry. A malware analyst will usually work as an external consultant either on their own or with an IT firm. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a malware analyst usually makes approximately $77,740 a year.

What Does a Malware Analyst Do?

A malware analyst may step in when there’s an issue with a computer system or when a company wants to increase their security overall. Malware analysts will usually need to diagnose the system to find any faults or to clear the system of the residual affects of malware programs. Analysts are often skilled at dealing with very specific programs and are knowledgeable about potential security risks in regards to certain systems.

Malware analysts will also work with companies to advise them on the best courses of action they can take. They will usually train employees on the proper methods of avoiding malware and the ability to identify malware. Analysts may also work with the existing IT staff of a company to help them manage the company’s risks better and to follow new and more secure protocols. Often a company may have older systems that need to be updated and may not be secure against the most current exploits.

How Do You Become a Malware Analyst?

The path to becoming a malware analyst usually involves experience in the industry in another field. A malware analyst may be a computer analyst who has particular interest in security or they may be a network administrator or system administrator who has experience in dealing with malware.

Malware analysts may sometimes have a Bachelor’s Degree and other times may have certifications regarding security issues. A malware analyst will usually work with an IT consulting firm, but an analyst that builds up their own client base may be able to work on their own.

How Do You Advance as a Malware Analyst?

Malware analysts specialize in the field of security. Analysts interested in progressing their career may wish to become information security analysts or security specialists. An information security analyst will usually make about $86,170 a year, according to O*Net Online, and the path to becoming a security analyst or IT security professional as a malware analyst is fairly direct.

A malware analyst can also move into different fields such as computer systems engineers or computer network architects. Most analysts are extremely knowledgeable about computer systems and computer security, which makes them uniquely suited to these types of work. Analysts that work within an IT consulting firm may be able to move within the firm to perform different specializations.

What’s Next?

If you’re interested in becoming a malware analyst or learning more about a related field you can fill out a simple form to get information sent directly to you.

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