Learn as much as you can about data security, online privacy, and the various types of cyberthreats from books; articles on the Internet; the Web sites of security software firms such as NortonLifeLock, McAfee, Checkpoint, Fortinet, and Forcepoint; and videos on YouTube.com.
Take a look at your data privacy settings and social media pages to ensure that you are protected from cyberthreats. Download and install free security software to get a basic understanding of how such technology works. Use online reputation management tools such as Google Alerts and BrandYourself to assess your online profile.
Check out Cybersecurity Resources (https://niccs.us-cert.gov/workforce-development/cybersecurity-resources) to access education and career resources.
Talk to personal privacy advisors and ask them how they broke into the field, what they studied in college, and what they like most and least about their jobs.
Consider participating in cybersecurity competitions to hone your skills. High school and college students can compete in the National Cyber League (https://nationalcyberleague.org).
Personal privacy advisors provide advice to individual clients regarding proper data security and online privacy. During a typical consultation, the advisor meets in person or talks via telephone with the client about his or her data security and online privacy concerns. Through a series of questions and actual physical inspection of settings on computers, social media accounts, and other technology and content sites, they determine the client’s risk of experiencing a cybercrime (e.g., having their private information stolen, being attacked by ransomware). If the client has been a victim of a cybercrime, the advisor gathers information about the incident and takes steps to adjust privacy settings, update existing security software (or download and install new software), and educate the client about risk management techniques that will help them to reduce the chances of a future attack.
Personal privacy advisors provide a wide range of advice to educate clients and help them improve their digital security and increase the effectiveness of their privacy settings. Examples include advising clients to limit their sharing of personal information on social media; creating strong passwords; browsing incognito or in private mode while using the Internet; using anonymous search engines that do not collect their personal data for advertisers and potential hackers; using a virtual private network (especially when accessing the Internet in public locations); thinking carefully before clicking on links contained in e-mails or at social media sites; being cautious when downloading apps from unfamiliar sources; securing their phones and mobile devices by creating complex passcodes to access these devices; always using quality antivirus software (and always installing security updates); encrypting the hard drive on their laptops and other devices in case their device is lost or stolen, using messaging apps with end-to-end encryption; and keeping their e-mail and telephone numbers private.
In addition to client-focused duties, personal privacy advisors who operate their own businesses must perform tasks such as invoicing clients, managing their finances, marketing their business, and supervising employees.