Women’s Cyber Force: Tackling Growing Cybercrime with Increased Diversity
Jelena Zelenovic Matone, President of the Women’s Cyber Force describes how the gender imbalance has prompted women to work for greater diversity in the cybersecurity workforce. She adds that increased cyber threats, especially since the arrival of Covid-19, require increased vigilance and growing investment in cybersecurity and cyber professionals.
Can you describe the Women’s Cyber Force in a few words?
The gender imbalance and pay grade variance in cybersecurity is evident across the globe – no less so in Luxembourg. WCF aims to bridge the social and economic gaps this causes. Women’s Cyber Force brings together cybersecurity professionals, of different nationalities, education and backgrounds, who want to raise their voices, inspire and help future generations to better understand the importance of women in cybersecurity. We are setting the ambitious but also urgent goal of leveraging the role of girls and women in this sector and supporting their choice of careers in ICT. WCF wants to create durable career choices for women by mentoring and empowering; keeping a network of work opportunities within the field and by helping each other. This motivates us to continue mounting our campaigns and addressing awareness of the important issue: diversity in cybersecurity.
“We are setting the ambitious but also urgent goal of leveraging the role of girls and women in this sector and supporting their choice of careers in ICT.”
With cybercriminals evading most companies’ defenses, are hackers ahead of the technological game?
The Internet has grown so much that it attracts hackers to all parts of life who explore new possibilities and play with “mere mortals.” Hackers use their knowledge, unauthorized or illegal methods to find loopholes to harm people or organizations for financial, reputational purposes or even simply for fun. As the jobs of CISOs are to prevent such attacks, the jobs of hackers are to try to stay a step ahead and exploit the vulnerable areas. Given rapid advances in technology, we might still be lagging. With Covid-19, threats multiplied and diversified. These attackers have no limits; they attack hospitals and other organizations critical for society. We, therefore, need more practitioners in our field.
Regardless of the size of a company, what would you recommend to CEOs to create a safe IT setup?
Cybersecurity is not a one-stop solution or product. If you want to be completely bulletproof, then unplug yourself from the Internet. But we can’t function without it so, CEOs must proactively engage be aware of diverse threats; learn the terms and cyber lingo like doxing, DDoS, hacktivists, phishing, etc. and invest in cybersecurity. This includes not just training sessions but the need to build a strong HR infrastructure in IT to nurture the human capital in this high-risk area. CEOs should understand that in our field the status quo is not an option – not for the company and not for the cyber human capital they employ.