We live in an era where everything is connected to the internet, from devices to watches and even home appliances. This has increased the number of attack vectors to mostly all the devices and the interest in cybersecurity. The number of cybersecurity enthusiasts grew to a large extent in recent times, with the growth attributed to the lockdown amidst the pandemic. The number of bug bounties has also grown up with companies funding more ethical hackers than ever before.
Cybersecurity is intimidating in the beginning as it requires years of in-depth knowledge, hands-on experience, practical implementation along with the theory part, being up to date with recent advancements and new types of vulnerabilities and threats, and a lot more. To keep up the pace, you need to be highly dedicated and should have some good projects to showcase your skills. Also, projects are a good way to demonstrate your experience with technology and the subject. Even if you do not have a cybersecurity internship before applying for cybersecurity roles, building cool projects is a great way to get started.
Today we will discuss top cybersecurity project ideas for beginners who want to enter this field to help get you started!
1. Text Encryption Using Various Algorithms
There are hundreds of algorithms that are used to either encrypt or decrypt text. As a beginner, you can start your cybersecurity journey by building a web application that incorporates the use of different algorithms to encrypt textual input that the user has supplied. This project is easy to make and will help you understand different algorithms in detail from scratch. Competing in this project will not only teach you how to think while designing an algorithm but also boost up your self-confidence, so you can move to higher-level projects. Some of the algorithms that you can use are Caesar Cipher, Vigenere Cipher, Railfence Cipher, Playfair Cipher, Beaufort Cipher, Autokey Cipher, etc.
2. Keylogger Software
Another great project to get started is by building a keylogger. A keylogger is software that is used to record every single keystroke made by the user on a system using his or her keyboard device. It helps to know which keys were pressed and are actively used today to actively monitor the user activity. You can build one of your own to get a good idea about the software. The project can be extended to virtual keyboards, clipping loggers (which are used to retrieve data copied to clipboard), screen loggers (used to take random or timed screenshots of the screen at intervals), and activity trackers. This will help you build a strong profile as a cybersecurity enthusiast as you will get practical experience of how keyloggers work.
3. Image Encryption
Encryption cannot only be used on text, but also on images. There are numerous algorithms that you can use to encrypt the image. Some examples include AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), DES (Data Encryption Standard), RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) which can be used to encrypt the image to protect it from a hacker. Even if the hacker gets access to the image over the internet, to decrypt it, the hacker first needs access to keys and then convert the image into the required format. In any case, the project gives a solid understanding and exhibits that you have a knack for cryptography. Also, the project is not too advanced and can be made if you’re beginning to dive into cybersecurity.
4. Network Traffic Analyzer
Also called “Packet Sniffing”, network traffic analysis and monitoring is a process used to keep an eye on all incoming and outgoing traffic, network activity, and availability. It is used to detect anomalies, identifying operational issues, comparing real-time networks with historical data to identify potential threats and issues. For a project, you can analyze the data packets that are sent across the network. After analyzing these packets you can work on a report to give your insights, and if required, countermeasures if there is an anomaly. This could be a good project to showcase your networking skills and would really impress an interviewer. As an extension, you could also devise software that could identify if there is a traffic analyzer in the network by an external agent.
5. Password Analyzer
Today every site you visit requires login via email and password. Passwords are a means to authenticate the user and therefore should be carefully created while being easy to remember and unbreakable at the same time. Therefore, as a project, you can build a password analyzer that can suggest to the user that the password is strong enough to be used or not. Also, if the project seems basic, you can go ahead and create another feature of auto-suggestion in case the password selected by the user is not strong enough. This project is suitable for beginners and can be coded in probably any programming language.
6. Graphical Password Authentication
Passwords are ubiquitous today on any platform, on possibly any website. But to remember so difficult passwords and that too on numerous websites seems daunting and therefore you can devise a project illustrating graphical password strategy. In this method, the user is required to select some images (let’s say different chocolates) in a specific pattern (for example dairy milk is followed by 5 stars which is in turn followed by KitKat and so on). Next time the user tries to log in, the images would have been shuffled, but the user will be required to follow the same pattern which was used initially. Every time the user will have to use the same sequence while the images are placed in different ways. This type of authentication is difficult to break since neither brute force nor dictionary attacks could breach it.
We have looked at the top 6 beginner-friendly projects in cybersecurity that will help you understand some key concepts like passwords, authentication algorithms, encryption, decryption, networking, and a lot more. These projects can also be extended into fully functioning web applications and software and would enhance the resume to a great extent.