International Women’s Day (March 8) celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s celebrated globally and it started more than a century ago in 1911. This year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge, because a challenged world is an alert world. Could there be a more perfect theme for the women in cyber?
Closing the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap
The women we’re featuring today represent a dual challenge – fighting against cybercrime and increasing the representation of women in cybersecurity. Stories about a shortfall in cybersecurity talent have been in the news for years, predicting there would be 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021. The (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study shows that in fact the number exceeded 3.5 million open roles prior to 2020, but the shortfall actually decreased:
“This year, despite the economic challenges presented by COVID-19, for the first time ever we saw the Cybersecurity Workforce Gap decrease—from 4 million to 3.1 million.”– The (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study
Unfortunately, that’s still a significant gap, one that exposes organizations to additional risks. Automation can help. Application Security Testing (AST) tools, such as static and dynamic analysis, are more efficient than manual code reviews and have vastly improved overall software security. New technologies are available to automate AST scheduling, results correlation, and triage, making it easier to centralize and prioritize their remediation efforts. Another way to reduce this global talent shortage is by identifying new pathways for candidates to enter the field. We hope that the women featured in this post inspire other women to join the fray. Their contributions are needed, as they bring new skills and perspectives to an industry that fights cybercrime, from extortion and theft to espionage and data manipulation.
Anita D’Amico, CEO at Code Dx, Inc.
Anita’s background is the perfect example of coming to cybersecurity from an unexpected background. She’s an experimental psychologist who did research for the United States Merchant Marine, worked on the Space Station project, and then started Northrop Grumman’s first Information Warfare team.
Anita founded the Secure Decisions division of Applied Visions, which carried out research funded by the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate’s Small Business Initiative Research (SBIR) program. Code Dx was spun out as a company to make the valuable results of that research available to the application development community. During her tenure as the director of Secure Decisions it received more than $20 million in grant funding from various government agencies.
Lisa Jiggetts, Founder of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu
Lisa is the founder and president of the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC), which provides the resources and support women need to enter and advance as cybersecurity professionals. WSC develops programs that train women in both the hard technical skills and soft skills, helping them feel empowered to succeed. Lisa is also a pen tester at Dark Wolf Solutions.
The WSC has been profiled in Fortune Magazine, SC Magazine, and PenTest Magazine, among others, and Lisa has been a guest speaker for many conferences and podcasts. Lisa began her career in the military, where she was an IT security specialist. A service-disabled veteran with over 20 years of information technology experience, Lisa’s experience spans risk assessments, penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and policy development across military, government, and commercial industries.
Chris Kubecka, Distinguished Chair at Middle East Institute Cyber Program at Middle East Institute
Chris Kubecka considers herself a cybercrime fighter and cyber war strategist, winning awards and leading unusual digital crime incident investigations. She is the founder and CEO of HypaSec, an organization that offers nation-state incident management, ethical hacking training in IT, ITO, ICS SCADA, and expert advisory services to governments. In 2012, Chris was responsible for getting the Saudi Aramco (the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia) network back up and running after it was hit with one of the world’s most devastating Shamoon cyberattacks.
Chris hacked the US Department of Justice at age 10, after which she wasn’t allowed to use computers until age 18. The US Air Force promptly recruited her, and she served in the U.S. Air Force and with the Space Command before beginning her cybersecurity career. Chris’s technical skills and expertise in ethical hacking, OSINT, strategy, leadership, and governance are respected globally. She has presented at Europol, Interpol, EU/NATO cyberwarfare exercises, DefCon, and Black Hat, among other events. She’s also authored a number of technical, engineering, and management course and books.
Wendy Nather, Head of Advisory CISOs, Duo Security at Cisco
Wendy began her career in IT operations, moving into security fairly quickly. She leads a team of CISO strategists at Duo Security, a part of Cisco, building a new vision for information security.
Previously, Wendy led research and collaborative efforts at the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC) and the security analyst team for 451 Research’s Information Security Practice. She shares her expertise by presenting on topics ranging from threat intelligence to identity and access management, risk analysis, incident response, data security, and societal and privacy issues.
Join the Women Who Know Cyber for International Women’s Day 2021 & Every Day
Today, women make up only about 20 percent of the cybersecurity workforce. Women make up about half of the population, and underrepresentation of women leaves them largely out of the fight against hacks, identity theft, malware, and data breaches, to name just a few hot issues in the field. By expanding the representation of women in cybersecurity – and in cybersecurity leadership – we can offer fresh perspectives on security threats and business risks. Many of the women featured here have a government or military background, but don’t let that stop you. Previously, most cyber security professionals came from technical backgrounds, such as information technology, computer science, and computer engineering. That’s not a requirement. Cybersecurity today requires knowledge of human behavior, risk and risk management, the law, and global regulations in addition to technology. That opens the door to many new candidates for a cybersecurity career.
Get to know all 100 of the women featured in Women Know Cyber.
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