Top Reasons Why Python is a Popular Must For Cybersecurity
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You’ve probably heard the words Python and scripting thrown around when it comes to cybersecurity, but do you realise its ever-growing importance? With the cybersecurity talent drought, especially when it comes to programming, a continuously present problem in cybersecurity, employees who understand and can use scripting languages like Python are vital for companies.
But, how does Python work and what does it really do?
To understand Python, we need to understand what scripting is and to understand what scripting is we need to understand what source code and machine code is.
What is machine and source code?
The fundamental of modern telecommunication is that machines talk to each other. We have a network of computers exchanging information between them and other networks of computers, doing internetworking, making the internet go round.
Communication always requires a language of some kind.
For machines, this is machine code, the language of binary numbers. You may have heard of how computers are ones and zeros, that is their language. Computers communicate through alternating sequences of ones and zeros in order to convey information. Fibre optic cables run under the sea and we shine light through them, zero meaning ‘no light’ and one meaning ‘light.
The name signal is very apt here.
Now, machine code is notoriously tricky for a human to wrap their human brains around and thus prone to human error, which is understandable since it’s a seemingly never-ending stream of meticulously-sequenced ones and zeroes. In order to combat this, people created more human-friendly languages called source code, which uses letters, words and shortcuts, to facilitate the human side of the coding process.
What is scripting?
The most important thing to understand about scripts is they are for automating tasks.
Instead of writing a command line for every single task every time when writing a program, which would massively bog down the already tedious process, we write, in essence, a tiny-small program, a tool called scripts, which will automatically perform the task every time we call on it to, for example, check the conditions of a data set.
We use scripts for:
- Commerce, such as image rollovers that allow you to see an enlarged item picture.
- Validation, like when you input text in a field designated for filling out a credit card number on an online form and it rejects it.
- Database backups, to streamline the process and schedule backups to happen at certain times and to specific hard disks.
- Testing, where we use scripts to perform testing automatically and avoid repetitive manual inputting that would waste a person’s time.
Some of the well-known examples of scripting languages include:
- Bash Scripting.
- Hex scripting.
- Binary scripting.
And, of course, Python.
What is Python?
Released in 1991, Python is a scripting language that uses an interpreter to translate one line at a time and is used to develop applications, both web-based and software base. Being one of the most popular scripting languages in the world, it’s always in demand for things like:
- Web applications.
- Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).
- Network programming.
- Cybersecurity applications in general.
One of the great things about Python is how useful it is for various information security areas. With libraries chock full of ready-made functions for users to utilise, creating applications is much more straightforward without you having to start from scratch.
This is great for cybersecurity professionals looking to:
- Develop analysis tools.
- Develop hacking scripts.
- Design secure programs.
With a strong understanding of Python and programming concepts, cybersecurity professionals can perform many security tasks using Python code. Thus, Python is heavily used in:
- Malware analysis.
- Accessing servers.
- Host discovery.
- Port scanning.
- Network scanning.
- Descending and decoding IP packets.
As well as much more.
What are the benefits of Python?
There are many reasons for why Python frequently rates among the top PYPL downloads stats. One of the reasons is that Python is designed with ease and versatility in mind. It doesn’t need users to learn how computer functions work at their core and is also lightweight, requiring only minimal code in order to perform tasks in comparison to other programming languages like C and Java.
The benefits of using Python for cybersecurity include:
- Python is very effective at scripting, automating tasks, and data analysis.
- Python’s extensive library means cybersecurity professionals can do common tasks with ease, quickly being able to find tools for cybersecurity analysis and penetration testing.
- It’s open source and free to use, with a strong, supportive community of developers that keep it evolving in the modern era of cyber.
- Python is a cross-platform language, which can be used for Windows, Linux, and Unix.
- It can be used for almost anything in cybersecurity.
- Python is very readable, which makes debugging code faster and much more straightforward to the point even beginner programmers can troubleshoot and debug code easily.
- Python is high level, meaning it’s user-friendly, replacing cryptic, opaque terms with keywords, making it easier to learn and implement.
- A lot of resources for Python exist online, such as videos and sample projects, and they’re often for free at that, meaning anyone can gain good knowledge of Python without paying for it.
With industry leaders calling for cybersecurity professional to be able to code, Python’s design and functionality makes it a top choice for a jumping off point. Lending itself to a shorter learning curve, it’s great for those new to scripting and an excellent choice as a first scripting language that can be a gateway to other, less accessible object-oriented languages and even languages which technically aren’t object-oriented.
By learning the basics of Python, cybersecurity professionals can quickly build up a strong, technical and practical background rather quickly. Due to all this, Python is often an excellent starting point for those in the cybersecurity field, who often start off with limited programming experience.
Cybersecurity professionals aren’t the only ones who use Python. Python is a popular choice for threat actors to launch malicious scripts at company systems and networks due to its ease of use and effectiveness, the open-sourced nature of Python allowing quick access for malicious actors to off-the-shelf tools and resources developed by other hackers.
Securiwiser is a cybersecurity threat detection monitoring tool that evaluates your company’s cybersecurity posture and flags up vulnerabilities in real-time. Securiwiser checks for things like the robustness of your network and cloud security, if malware is on your network, if there’s malicious port activity on your server, among many other things.
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