Python is a dominant programming language in cyber security and it’s easy to see why. Since it’s a server-side scripting programming language, coders are not required to compile the resulting script. Python comes in handy for most cyber security tasks, including performing malware analysis and automating tasks.
This programming language also has an extensive library of scripts and libraries. Its syntax is often compared to the English language because of how easy it is to read, write, and learn. If you want to learn Python for cyber security, this guide highlights some of the best learning resources, libraries, and tips.
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What Is Python?
Python is a free and open-source programming language that can be used to conduct data analysis, automate tasks, and build software and websites. It is also called a general-purpose programming language because it can be used in various application domains. It is ideal for beginners because of its simplicity and versatility.
This programming language is extremely popular in the tech world but has also been adopted by non-programmers like scientists and accountants. It’s used for a variety of everyday tasks, such as organizing finances, analyzing data, automating tasks, and app development. Python is essential if you want to pursue a cyber security career.
What Is Python Used for in Cyber Security?
Python helps cyber security analysts and penetration testers perform malware analysis and automate tasks. This programming language is also quite useful in scanning, penetration testing, and cyber threat analysis. Cyber security professionals often use it to build scripts and tools to prevent security breaches.
How Long Will It Take to Learn Python for Cyber Security?
The length of time it takes to learn Python for cyber security differs from person to person. However, you can generally learn the fundamentals of Python in a few weeks. The duration also depends on the platform you choose to learn it on and the level of learning you’re pursuing.
Why Should You Learn Python for Cyber Security?
There are a lot of reasons to learn Python for cyber security. Python is a resourceful language and is very useful in a wide range of cyber security operations, such as penetration testing, scanning, and malware analysis. Here are some other top reasons to learn Python for cyber security.
This programming language can be used to handle any task using Python code. It is heavily used for network scanning, host discovery, accessing servers, decoding and sending packets, and port scanning. Since it is a critical scripting language, it is also very useful for data analysis, task automation, and scripting, all of which make your job a lot easier.
The Python Community
Python has cultivated a massive and tightly-knit community. Members of the Python community often modify and distribute codes for public use, which means there are a variety of functions that are prewritten for you. There is also a Python community page where programmers can ask questions, share resources, and grow together as programmers.
Python has an extensive library. Python libraries are sets of prewritten codes for a variety of functions. Since Python is an open-source programming language, not only do you have access to the vast library provided by Python, but you can also utilize distributed codes from other users. This drastically decreases your code-writing time.
How Can I Learn Python for Cyber Security?
There are many ways you can learn Python, some of which include coding bootcamps, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and tutorials. Listed below are some of these options in detail.
Coding bootcamps are an excellent way to learn Python. Some Python bootcamps even include a concentration in cyber security, which allows you to learn Python within the context you need it for. Bootcamps utilize a hands-on learning approach, which allows students to practice as they learn. They’re also generally affordable and include a variety of career services and support.
Cyber security online courses have become one of the most popular education paths for Python. Many online course providers partner with well-known institutions like Stanford, Harvard, Massachusetts Institution of Technology, and University of California, Berkeley. Some of the best online Python courses are provided by Udemy, Udacity, edX, and Coursera.
Video tutorials are a great way to learn about the practical applications of Python and develop essential skills, especially if you’re on a budget. There are a variety of websites that provide free Python tutorials for learners of all levels. YouTube is one of the best places to find free high-quality Python tutorials.
Top Python for Cyber Security Libraries
Python libraries are prewritten sets of codes that enact a variety of functions. They’re created and distributed within the Python community to decrease the need to write code from scratch. There are over 100,000 Python libraries used in data visualization, machine learning, data science, and cyber security. Below are some of the best libraries for cyber security.
- Beautiful Soup
Nmap is an open-source library used by cyber security experts to analyze scan results or launch web-based attacks against hosts. Beautiful Soup is used to automate actions such as data scraping, data reading, and parsing. Scapy is a sophisticated Python package used to transmit, modify, sniff, and analyze network packets.
Yara helps cyber security experts find patterns within data and can extract data API requests. Cryptography is a library used to decrypt and encrypt messages. Scipy is a Python-based tool that helps cyber security professionals perform simple file operations, statistical analysis, and image processing.
How to Learn Python for Cyber Security: A Step-by-Step Guide
The learning path for Python is quite straightforward. There are a lot of learning options including coding bootcamps, online courses, and video tutorials. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to learn Python for cyber security.
Before you begin learning Python, it’s helpful to learn about the benefits of using Python for cyber security. This will motivate you to follow through when learning blocks occur. Once you fully understand the benefits of learning Python for cyber security, you’ll be able to create your own learning goals throughout your education journey.
Now that you’re motivated to pursue Python for cyber security, you can begin with learning Python basics. Some of the basic knowledge you should focus on are syntax, variables, data types, operations, functions, conditionals, and loops. Once you’re comfortable with the fundamentals of Python, you can progress to the next stage of learning.
You should now have a basic understanding of Python and be ready to advance your Python knowledge. You will need to learn about user-defined functions, built-in functions, data structures, security tools, and how they are used to store, organize, and protect data. This will require learning about tuples, lists, dictionaries, and sets.
Once you have a strong understanding of programming concepts, you can start practicing what you’ve learned. It’s helpful to practice your new skills on existing code before creating your own. As Python is an open-source language, you can download a source code and practice modifying it, or you can also practice modifying code that’s been distributed by other users.
After you’ve practiced using Python, you can begin creating and modifying code for your own projects. Some easy projects to practice with include QR codes, password generators, scraping data, and any other basic projects that will allow you to gain hands-on experience. You can also collaborate with other Python programmers and work on open-source projects together.
Start Learning Python for Cyber Security Today
Python has rightly earned its place as one of the best programming languages available. It’s free, open-source, and packed with custom tools and unique features. There are tons of libraries with prewritten codes for a wide range of functions, which allows you to write minimal code. It’s excellent for performing analysis, identifying malicious codes, and automating tasks.
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