Since Cyber Security is all about keeping up with hackers, you’ll want to make sure that you too are on the cutting edge of technology—especially in regards to IT infrastructure, networks, and software development.

What Are the Best Programming Languages for Cyber Security?

As a Cyber Security professional, you’ll spend much of your time analyzing software and IT systems for potential vulnerabilities, looking for malicious code, and writing your own programs to perform cyber security tasks. You may even participate in ethical hacking, which involves testing systems by acting as an intruder. Depending on the particular platforms you work with, you may need to focus on certain programming languages more than others. However, as you begin your Cyber Security career, it’s important to learn the fundamentals that will set you up for success. Therefore, you may be wondering, “What are the best programming languages for Cyber Security?”

Since Cyber Security is all about keeping up with hackers, you’ll want to make sure that you too are on the cutting edge of technology—especially in regards to IT infrastructure, networks, and software development. This will require you to constantly refresh your programming skills and stay informed regarding the latest exploits discovered by hackers. To help you get started, we’ve listed five of the best programming languages for Cyber Security.

#5: SQL

SQL (Structured Query Language) is used to manage databases and recall the data that has been stored on them. Although you do not see it, whenever you attempt to log in to a website, the password stored in the database is brought up and compared with what you’ve typed into the system.

For this reason, hackers are also able to use SQL to extract sensitive data from organizations and individuals. Hackers do this through SQL injection, which involves finding vulnerabilities in a website and placing their own malicious SQL code inside. With SQL injection, hackers are able to make queries and get access to almost any data they want. This can result in the loss of passwords, bank account information, social security numbers, addresses, and much more.

#4: PHP

PHP is a server-side language that is used to build websites, primarily with WordPress. Approximately 80% of the web is powered by PHP, including social networks like Facebook, which has 2.41 billion active users. PHP has risen to popularity because it makes it easy to update your website. But, this handy feature also makes PHP more vulnerable to attacks from the outside. As a result, PHP is an extremely important programming language to learn if you’re going to work in Cyber Security.

One of the most common “hacking” attempts on PHP-based sites are DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks, which aim to shut down your site. Hackers can even use PHP to delete all of the data on your site if you’re not careful with how you’ve built it. Therefore, knowing how to identify and solve these vulnerabilities in PHP code can save your organization or your client’s entire database.

#3: JavaScript

Along with HTML and CSS, JavaScript is the de-facto language of the web. Every single website that loads in your browser is powered by this programming language, which gives it life. Without JavaScript, all of our favorite websites would be like static pieces of paper that lack animations and interactivity.

However, with great power also comes great responsibility. JavaScript is often abused by hackers because it can collect user input and browser data, as well as manipulate webpages to do just about anything. For example, hackers can use JavaScript to track the words you’ve typed into a website, monitor your browsing habits through cookies, and even swap out a legitimate website for a separate website designed for phishing scams.

If a hacker has managed to put malicious JavaScript code into your bank’s website using XSS (Cross-Site Scripting), you may get redirected and end up entering your information into the hacker’s site! With a similar design and layout, these dummy sites are often used to trick people on the web into giving away their sensitive information unknowingly.

Although it has been a front-end language for most of the history of the Internet, JavaScript has recently become a server-side language, thanks to Node.JS. This is great for full-stack JavaScript developers, but it adds even more vulnerabilities to JavaScript for hackers to exploit.

#2: Python

Python is one of the best programming languages for Cyber Security professionals on the offensive. With a growing number of libraries, you can use Python to perform malware analysis, create intrusion detection systems, and send TCP packets to machines without the need for third-party tools. In plain English, this means that you can build the programs you need instead of buying them from someone else. You can also build scripts that automate your work and make you much more efficient.

Many hackers also use Python to create scripts that do the work for them. One such example is AutoSploit, a tool created by hackers that automatically searches the web for vulnerable users, hacks into their computers, and remotely executes code. And, since no hacking skills are required to operate the program, almost anyone with the intent can download and use such programs to steal information.

#1: C and C++

The C programming language (and C++) is arguably one of the best programming languages for Cyber Security. Billions of devices around the world, including those with a Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system, run on the C programming language. Because C goes a level deeper than higher-level languages like Python or Java, it’s actually much more powerful. Using low-level languages like C gives you direct access to low-level IT infrastructures like RAM and system processes. If not protected, however, hackers can exploit these to cause serious mayhem. C++, on the other hand, is essentially an upgrade to the C programming language. Many programs are written in C++ and require someone with a deep knowledge of the language to identify vulnerabilities in the code.

Conclusion

Cyber Security involves using a blend of offensive and defensive techniques to protect individuals and organizations from hackers. With languages like Python, you can write your own programs and automate cyber security tasks that you would otherwise perform manually. You can also write your own scripts, which makes you less dependent on third parties and gives you more control over your IT systems and software.

On the defensive side, you’ll want to read and write in a variety of programming languages, starting with PHP, Java, JavaScript, and C/C++. Because of their widespread usage in websites, servers, and networks, we consider these to be some of the best programming languages for Cyber Security. Knowledge of these languages will also help you recognize potential vulnerabilities in software and databases, so you can patch them before hackers take notice. Additionally, you’ll be able to recognize malicious code that has been placed by hackers and remove it before more harm can be done.

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