What is malware analyst – what does he do?

A Malware Analyst is a highly specialized reverse-engineer, programmer and detective, who accomplish his task by using various tools and expert level knowledge to understand not only what a particular piece of malware can do but also how it does it.

A malware analyst works in the field of computer and network security to examine, identify, and understand the nature of cyber-threats such as viruses, worms, bots, rootkits, and Trojan horses. All of these types of programs represent malicious code that can infect systems and cause them to behave in unexpected ways.

How to become Malware Analyst?

Becoming a Malware Analyst requires a large amount of focus and discipline as well as training and practice of the inner workings of computer systems, programming methodologies in multiple languages and a keen mind for solving puzzles and connecting the dots.

You might consider becoming a Malware Analyst if you have a passion for computer security, enjoy solving puzzles and like the prospect of always learning new things. You might also enjoy it if you prefer a profession that always poses a challenge or if you look forward to working on new and interesting things.

What are Prerequisites to become Malware Analyst?

Prior to walking the path to become a Malware Analyst, a person should be familiar with:

  • Operating System Concepts
  • High Level & Low Level Programming (familiarity is fine, working knowledge not required at first)
  • Fundamentals of networking
  • How to use the internet to perform research

Job responsibilities of Malware Analyst:

  • Document malware threats and identify procedures to avoid them.
  • Classify malware based on threats and commonalities.
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest malware threats and keep software updated to defend against them.
  • Analyze programs and software using analysis programs to identify threats.
  • Write alerts to let security personnel know about the latest threats.
  • Participate in research and development of malware protection tools.
  • Understand tools that identify zero day cyber threats and work to protect from them.
  • Train personnel and other team members on best security practices.
  • Help create documentation for corporate security policies.

Salary of Malware Analyst:

The salaries are very similar to that of a Forensics Investigator and Security Analyst. Expect (in the US) somewhere in the region of $70,000 with experience.

A starting salary would be around the $45,000 mark – with necessary certifications.

Relevant information security certs like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Security+, CISSP, CISA, SSCP, CPTC (mile2) or the GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware would all certainly assist you with getting yourself the career.

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