Cybersecurity might be all the rage right now, with a plethora of people looking to break into it from previous careers or fresh out of college. Regardless of the circumstances, the industry might not be all that it is chalked up to be all the time. According to new research and reports, cybersecurity professionals are discovering that their work is taking both a physical and mental toll due to stress and other harms negatively affecting them.
When you think of ransomware, you might think of downtime for a service or just a bit of extortion to get systems or data back running to what they once were. However, that is a remarkably limited view of how ransomware, and realistically other cybersecurity incidents, affect organizations and individuals. Research from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) compiled several interviews with individuals who experienced and responded to a ransomware attack. In one instance, an interviewee explained that due to the high level of stress and pressure, the company they worked for had to hire a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) team.
However, baseline stress was not the only emotion encountered, and individuals experienced varying levels of panic, anger, depression, guilt, or otherwise following the ransomware events. Insofar as physical health, this can range from weight changes up to having a heart attack or stroke in severe instances. One of the more common reports, though, was sleep deprivation and exhaustion of some variety, which could be either mental or physical and be tied to other physical harms. One person interviewed explained that some health issues in their team ended up with hospitalization after people were not or unable to take care of themselves well in the panic period following an attack.
All of this is to say that cybersecurity is not the perfect field for everyone or, realistically, for one person to linger in for a long time, likely. At some point or another, we may come to find that working in the industry with physical and psychological harm takes years off your life, which would be rather problematic. In any event, knowing when to step back and perform some self-care when these awful events happen is paramount, lest you find yourself self-destructing, in the hospital, or worse yet, dead.