A career in cyber security can be both rewarding and tasking. To secure a good job in this field, you have to be up to date with the latest security trends and access control policies. You have to be dynamic enough to keep up with the times, especially in this day and age where cyber crimes are skyrocketing. Employers want candidates with advanced-level security skills.
They want candidates who can display adequate knowledge of how to utilize cyber security tools and techniques in outsmarting cyber criminals. This might look daunting for the beginner who has little or no technical expertise in cyber security. This guide can help by providing you with worthy ideas for cyber security projects.
Five Skills That Cyber Security Projects Can Help You Practice
A lucrative career in cyber security is within your reach if you can competently display your advanced-level technical skills to potential employers. First, you’ll need the adequate hands-on training necessary to excel in this field. Not to worry, engaging in diverse cyber security projects is the fastest way to build these security skills.
- Cryptography. Cryptography involves encrypting plain text in an unintelligible format to restrict access to valuable information. This skill can be acquired and improved with regular practice, and cyber security projects offer you the opportunity to do so.
- Network monitoring. Working on cyber security projects will enable you to learn how to efficiently use a wide range of network monitoring tools and techniques like simple network management protocol (SNMP) to monitor and manage systems and servers and provide updates on their network performance.
- Cloud computing. Cyber security projects enable you to develop expertise in utilizing cloud infrastructures and automating cloud services. You’ll learn how to integrate and migrate data among multiple platforms. You’ll also learn to secure your cloud environments to prevent intrusions.
- Penetration testing. Penetration testing is an authorized hacking of a system or network programming to assess its security level. Participating in cyber security projects will enable you to strengthen your skills in cracking weak programs so you can take the necessary steps to improve them.
Best Cyber Security Project Ideas for Beginners
As a beginner programmer who wants to build a cyber security portfolio, you should start small and make your way up to advanced threat detection and prevention. Below, you’ll find relevant cyber security project ideas to help you get started on your journey.
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Python programming
The keylogger project is one of the more straightforward projects you’ll work on as an aspiring cyber security professional. A keylogger is application software used to monitor and record keystrokes made on a computer device by the user. This software can be used to gather personal data on a target, and it’s straightforward to get started.
To build one yourself, you can start by downloading and installing Python and its corresponding modules. Then write and test the python script. Then you open up the taskmaster to stop all the python processes when you stop typing. Open up the keylogger text file and see what you typed.
Random Password Analyzer
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: penetration testing and programming
Most computer devices require you to protect your data with a password or security questions so intruders won’t easily gain access. Sometimes that intruder might be you. How often have you locked yourself out of a site or application? Creating a tool that can help you crack open any code is just as much a useful tool as it is a useful portfolio sample.
To get started in building a secure password analyzer, you would need to create a script for analyzing passwords and impute the number of guesses for each password length before designing the program for the password cracker. In the end, you should have created a script to guess passwords randomly based on their length.
Caesar Cipher App
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: front end programming and cryptography
One of the best ways to protect your letters from being accessed by a third party is to encrypt them using the caesar cipher code. Caesar cipher, named after Julius Caesar, is an encryption method for cloaking message contents by assigning shifting values to the letters. If you don’t want to repeat the process of rearranging shifted letters each time, you can build a caesar app.
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: networking and Python programming
Ensuring the security of your network systems should always be a priority. With a packet sniffer, you can monitor and extract data packets from your networks and access them for vulnerabilities. This project aims to design a packet sniffing tool that can capture network traffic packets from multiple sources, analyze and present them in a simple format.
To get started with capturing packets, you would need to use the socket module to capture low-level packets from networks. To sniff with the socket module in Python language, configure the socket class object to capture low-level packets from networks. Then, write your Python scripts to extract your captured packets.
Cloud Malware Scanner
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: networking and vulnerability management
To protect your cloud documents from malware attacks, you can design an automated malware scanning system to analyze, detect and notify you through a cloud logging entry of any viruses, trojans, and malicious attacks on your documents so you can address them. To design this tool, pick your cloud provider and an antivirus engine.
To begin, you have to set up your environment. Create a cloud account and your cloud project and enable the APIs and cloud products you’ll need. If you’re building your cloud malware scanner with Google, you’re going first to create a Google cloud account if you don’t have one.
Best Intermediate Cyber Security Project Ideas
To attempt intermediate projects, you should have some technical knowledge from working on some cyber security projects. Preferably you’ll be familiar with front end and backend programming languages, networking, and cloud computing. Some intermediate cyber security project ideas below are a great way to prepare for a career on a security team.
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Java programming
A digital certificate is a public key conveying the owner’s identity and allowing secure file exchange across the web. Digital certificates ensure the confidentiality of documents by ensuring that only clients whose credentials can be authenticated are permitted access to the file.
For this project, you’re going to design a personal self-signed digital certificate using the GlassFish server, bearing no registered certificate authority. To create a server certificate, you make the Keystore, export your certificate from the Keystore, and sign the certificate. Then you import the certificates from authenticated clients into the Truststore.
Web Facial Detector
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Python programming
A face detector is an artificial intelligence technology used to detect faces in a digital image. The web face detector can be designed to see faces in a video call. This security tool will analyze and notify you of the caller. To get started, you need to install an OpenCV and a webcam. An OpenCV is a real-time computer vision tool.
Then, you can write your Python program or copy one from a webcam face detection repository. Then you proceed to set the video source line to your webcam so that the OpenCV can easily detect it. Finish coding and test your application
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: penetration testing and Python programming
A network scanner is a surveillance tool used to scan different networks and gather information from the target computer systems before accessing the network. This project is an ideal security project that’s both useful to you as a home tool and in building your portfolio. You’ll use the Python language to write a script for the socket, ICMP, and TCP for this project.
The socket will be used to create the scanner, and ICMP will be used to detect the number of live hosts in a network. Be sure to create a hostname that can be visible to the networks you’re trying to access so it doesn’t constitute an intrusion. The TCP connection will be used when the ICMP is down or due to a firewall.
Android Device Hacker
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Linux programming
Imagine having a device that can help you hack into other devices and can be programmed to break through any network barrier. You can use this to carry out ethical hacking tasks without rooting the devices, and yes, it would be an excellent addition to your portfolio. First, install an application like UserLand that makes installing Linux distribution easy without rooting.
Create a file system when the installation is completed. UserLand comes with a couple of useful Linux distributions, such as Debian and Kali, which will be instrumental to your project. Try downloading a hacker’s keyboard. Ensure you update your android’s Linux operating system and install software such as Git, Neofetch, and Nano for your filesystem.
Credit Card Encryption
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: access control management and cryptography
An efficient way of protecting your credit card data from being accessed and copied by malicious attackers is by encrypting it. A credit card encryption project helps you practice your cryptography and cloud computing skills. In this project, you’ll learn how to encrypt your credit card data using PCI Data Security Standard and cloud DLP.
The encryption tool created will restrict unwanted access to your card tokenization service. To grant access, you have to access your tokenization service and add the service accounts you wish to include. To practice this project, you need access to a project code and cloud service. Using a cloud service provider like Google will help you achieve success with this project.
Advanced Cyber Security Project Ideas
The advanced cyber security projects are for security professionals who wish to update their skills and expand their knowledge. Most of these hacks require patience and technical expertise. To get you up and running, we’ve compiled a list of suitable project ideas to get you started.
User Authentication System
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Ruby programming and OOP paradigm
A user authentication system is used to identify and validate a device attempting to access a network, system, or web application. This project displays your access control expertise, and it is an ideal project to add to a portfolio to gain the attention of recruiters. For this project, you would need to have a good understanding of the Ruby programming language.
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You’ll also need familiarity with the Rails framework and a model view controller. The rails program will be used to set up the authentication system and the framework has to be configured. Other tools needed for this project include a text editor, Node, object oriented programming paradigm, SQLite, and Yarn.
Image Steganography Program
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Python programming and cryptography
Image steganography involves concealing coded texts in images. In this project, you will be creating an image steganography tool using Python programming and data encryption to achieve your finished result. This security tool can be used to send secret messages across the web without its contents being compromised or noticed by a third party.
Use open-source image processing libraries written in Python. Ensure that the image processing library you decide on is easy to manage. This image steganography concept works because the text messages are encoded as binary strings. You’ll need to extract raw pixel data from an image and then encode it with the text.
Network Steganography Program
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: networking and cryptography
Much like image steganography, which requires you to conceal information in image pixels, you can also transmit encrypted information to targeted active data networks. Although still relatively new, this project idea is worth attempting. If you’re an advanced cyber security professional, then this project is the perfect challenge to amplify your portfolio.
To achieve success, you have to ensure the timing and the content of network packets are at par. Also, a tool like TimeShifter would be used to alter the timing of ICMP packets. Then another tool, BigStegNet, can be used to modify the packet’s content. Stegnet can be used to alter the timing at the network layer and the content at the transport layer.
DNA Encryption Program
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: cryptography
This is an advanced-level project, and it is specifically for those with expert knowledge of cryptography. DNA encryption involves encrypting information in DNA strands. To encode data in the form of a DNA sequence, you have to represent the nitrogenous units as four digits. Then, find the best encoding method to facilitate the decoding of the message by the receiver.
Once they have been encoded, you can then implement them using any of the DNA synthesizing techniques. To decode the message, the DNA bases will be converted in a binary format. This format will then be implemented using the same DNA synthesizing techniques used to encode it. Then the result is further converted into a character sequence.
- Cyber Security Skills Practiced: Windows operating system and C/C++ language
Every day, our hardware and software devices are exposed to multiple vulnerabilities. We constantly run the risk of installing corrupted applications and document files into our system. Even though there is antivirus software available, it would be beneficial to have a customized antivirus tool to scan and clean incoming files before you access them.
Before you start building your antivirus engine, ensure that it has more than one driver to ensure adequate protection. A driver enables communication between your device and its operating system. Use API detours to filter foreign files trying to intercept your device. Remember, your antivirus should be able to prevent corrupt files from launching on your device.
Cyber Security Starter Project Templates
As a beginner who wants to begin working on any cool project in cyber security, you should take advantage of a good template. A starter project template provides a strong project structure to build on so you don’t run the risk of confusion or deviating from the main scope. Below you’ll find a list of starter project templates to get you started.
- Cloud Security- Secure the Recipe Vault Web Application. This project provides you with a cloud formation template so you can begin your cloud security project.
- Flask Web Application Development Starter. This is a boilerplate template for developing a flask-web application, and it comes with all the essentials you may need.
- Adonis JS Hackathon Starter. This boilerplate starter is designed to simplify the processes involved in creating your hackathon application.
- Basic SQL Injection Detection Template. This is a basic template for error-based SQL detection, and it is used to identify security vulnerabilities.
Next Steps: Start Organizing Your Cyber Security Portfolio
There are several things to consider when setting up a cyber security portfolio if you want to impress potential employers. You always have to be aware that this is a competitive field and it doesn’t tolerate inadequacy, hence consider building your portfolio around the following tips.
Properly Define the Modern-Day Security Needs for Each Project
Our security needs are constantly evolving. When deciding on a cyber security project idea, consider its real-time relevance. Tailor your portfolio to what the market needs so that you can attract notable recruiters. Avoid working on outdated security project ideas because employers need to see you can keep up with security trends.
Take Advantage of Available Cyber Security Resources
Your project can turn out a lot better and take less time if you work with relevant security resources. Seek out forums where like-minded individuals connect and network with them to improve your project. Use templates if you have to, take tutorials or training programs like cyber security bootcamps so you can get up to date with cyber security trends.
Collaborate in more Advanced Projects.
Because of how competitive this field is, ensure you’re constantly updating your security skills. Sometimes, that is easiest when you collaborate with others on more advanced projects. This can act as training for when you do get a job and need to work with colleagues. Also, it’s a chance to expand your knowledge and build your portfolio.
Cyber Security Projects FAQ
Start by deciding on a project idea and creating a unique plan for that project. Your goal should include the resources you need to achieve success in the project. Then, secure the resources you need. As a beginner, you might also need to assess how well your current skills compare to the skills required to complete the project before starting.
Three major branches of cyber security include application security, network security, and infrastructure security. Others include digital forensics, incident response, threat intelligence, and data loss prevention. If you’re considering specializing in cyber security, these areas are a great place to start.
Cyber security tools are software applications that are used to facilitate the security of systems, servers, and devices. These tools include firewalls, antivirus, vulnerability scanners, penetration testers, password crackers. Examples of these applications include Wireshark, Metasploit, Kali Linux, and Forcepoint.
To launch a career in cyber security, you should choose a major in information security, networking, cloud computing, network security, system engineering, computer programming, or information technology.
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