5 Women in Cybersecurity to Follow on Twitter (Right Now)
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It’s no secret the cybersecurity industry is male-dominated. But as the demand for simplified and democratized security increases, so does the need for diverse expertise and mindsets to define the next generation of cybersecurity technology. And more and more female security professionals are carving out space in the industry. In 2021, the number of women working in cybersecurity jumped to roughly 20-24%, more than doubling its total just seven years prior.
Still…there’s a long way to go. And one way all of us can get a better understanding of the value women cybersecurity pros offer is to just get inside their heads.
To tweet, perchance to dream
For timely insight and bite-sized expertise, cybersecurity professionals frequently turn to Twitter, a hub of activity for thought leaders and conversation starters (we’ll save the dark side of Twitter for another blog). And as you continuously cull your list of follows, we’ve got a few talented individuals to keep in mind.
To help celebrate International Women’s Day and kick-off Women’s History Month, we’ve gathered together a list of five female cybersecurity hotshots making waves in the industry. Read on to discover what makes them so significant and why we feel they’ll add some much-needed value to your feed.
5 women in cybersecurity to follow on Twitter
Dr. Christine Izuakor | @Stineology
The youngest person and first African American woman ever to earn a Ph.D. in Security Engineering, Dr. Izuakor shaped the industry in ways it hasn’t seen before. Recognizing a clear need in the market for affordable and immediate cybersecurity support, Dr. Izuakor founded Cyber Pop-up, the first-of-its-kind on-demand pop-up shop for businesses and nonprofits looking to source reliable cybersecurity expertise that can scale up or down easily. Feeling lazy yet? Just hang on. She also wrote a how-to book on building a career in cybersecurity. (Maybe now you’ll hit “no” next time Netflix asks you if you’re still watching.)
To hear more about Dr. Izuakor, catch her Cisco Security Stories podcast interview.
Wendy Nather | @wendynather
The common thread linking the rungs of Wendy Nather’s career is people. Her collective experiences in cybersecurity trenches, research roles, and C-suite leadership have reinforced her beliefs that our “scanning and scolding” blame culture is a harmful trend. A better solution? Celebrate people instead, and bring them together. Wendy encourages leaders to “measure the behaviors you’re trying to encourage.” As if she couldn’t be a better human. A published author, security advisor for nonprofits, and Head of Advisory CISOs at Cisco, she helps organizations understand how best to leverage the right security solutions for their environment. We stand with you, Wendy.
Read more of Wendy’s insight and expertise for the real cybersecurity talk you’ve been craving.
Tanya Janca | @shehackspurple
Tanya’s worn just about every hat in the security sphere, but her real passion is app sec (and her beloved software dev peeps). Frustrated with the alarming lack of emphasis placed on application security in universities, Tanya decided she had to do something (okay, many things). She founded the site: We Hack Purple, an online educational resource and podcast, and she wrote Alice and Bob Learn Application Security, a best-selling book outlining the ins and outs of creating great software that’s also super secure. Her drive for perfection, bolstered by a boisterous social nature, makes her the perfect person to inject some much-needed kindness into the security space. Finally, am I right?
Hear more about Tanya’s experience and expertise on this Cisco Security Stories podcast.
Dr. Kelley Misata | @Sightline_Sec
After enduring years of cyberstalking at the hands of a coworker, Dr. Kelley Misata struggled to find help from nonprofits ill-equipped to assist victims of cyber abuse. That’s when she decided to become the support she needed. Dr. Misata earned a Ph.D. in information security and established Sightline Security, a nonprofit of her own, dedicated to helping nonprofits protect themselves from cyber threats. And it couldn’t have come at a better time thanks to an increase in phishing attacks, our growing reliance on nonprofits in the wake of global disruption, and the heightened connectivity between entities around the globe. If that wasn’t enough, Wendy Nather serves on the organization’s advisory council.
Catch Dr. Misata’s Cisco Security Stories podcast interview to hear just why she’s so well respected.
Fareedah Shaheed | @CyberFareedah
At a young age, flipping through her father’s Cisco books and manuals and watching her mother teach, Fareedah developed deep interests in technology, human behavior, and teaching. Fast-forward to the present day, Fareedah founded Sekuvah, a security consulting company helping caregivers protect their kids online and ultimately build closer relationships. With technology and social media seeping into every aspect of life, and sometimes serving up things that aren’t great, preserving mental health and safety is a top priority for many families. Fareedah has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and the 2020 Cybersecurity Personality of the Year. If you haven’t hit follow yet, better check your pulse.
Get the full download on Fareedah Shaheed in this episode of Cisco’s Security Stories.
Cybersecurity demands a community effort
Along with following stellar female influencers and changemakers, making cybersecurity all it can be calls for communities to help increase women’s presence in the industry. Groups are forming to help provide resources, shed light on specific gaps in the industry, and clear the way for more females to join the cybersecurity workforce.
There are too many to name, but here are a few that make it super easy to hit that follow button: