Women Know Cybersecurity. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

A True Accounting Of Women In The Cybersecurity Field

A new book catalogs 100 profiles of female cyber fighters

Steven T. Kroll

Northport, N.Y. – Jun. 22, 2019

Women Know Cyber: 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime is a guide for young girls, parents, educators, and anyone contemplating a career in cybersecurity.

What the authors — Steve Morgan, founder and editor-in-chief of Cybersecurity Ventures, and Di Freeze, managing editor at Cybercrime Magazine — have put together could change the face of our industry.

Very often, the wrong message, that women aren’t wanted in cybersecurity, is keeping them out of the profession. This book dispels that notion.

“Women know cybersecurity, and they are heavily involved in our industry,” says Morgan.

Research from Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that women will represent 20 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce by the end of 2019. One of the ways to attract more women into the field is to draw attention to those who work in the cyber trenches every day.

Not only are Morgan and Freeze interested in gender parity, but they want women to fill the global cybersecurity workforce, which will fall short by 3.5 million jobs at the end of this year.

“Imagine a crime-ridden neighborhood that didn’t have enough police officers,” says Morgan. “We want to look to women to increase the ranks of cyber fighters.” 

In the foreword, Sylvia Acevedo, a well-known author, entrepreneur, engineer, and rocket scientist, notes the importance of the efforts of Morgan and Freeze in putting their project together.

“The trailblazing women featured in this book represent the best of what our collective action against cybercrime can be,” Acevedo writes. “I’m so inspired by these pioneering women and encouraged by their stories.” Hopefully, young girls can find the same inspiration as Acevedo.

Representation is important for women because it encourages more of them to enter any field that’s heavily made up of men. “Over time, what I’ve seen is that it’s helpful for young women and girls in school to see somebody who looks like them in these cybersecurity spots,” says Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After reading the book, I believe it is a valuable resource for girls considering a career in cybersecurity or learning about female empowerment in male-dominated professions. Every K-12 library should have a copy and sing it loudly from the shelves: “These women know cyber, and you can too.”

The diversity of talent and expertise in the pages is another unique feature that captured my attention. A random selection reveals the typical coders and tech-heavy people. But then it uncovers the softer side of the profession such as the cybersecurity journalists and legal experts. One person even specializes in cyberpsychology.

Shamla Naidoo, formerly the global CISO at IBM, says that you can be an engineer, a communications person, or a developer, and find your place in the cybersecurity field. She points out opportunities for women to write policy, get involved with corporate governance, or to do hard-core forensics.

Essentially, the new book teaches a young girl (or female of any age) that there is a space for her inside of cyber, regardless of the specialty. “We hope this book will inspire you — or someone you know — to think about becoming a woman in cybersecurity,” writes Morgan and Freeze.

I found the message inspiring and emotionally uplifting. This isn’t a categorized or ranked list of women. It’s simply an accounting of 100 fascinating females, and assuredly there are thousands more.

“The women we’ve featured are from around the world, including Japan, Germany, England, Switzerland, and the Netherlands,” says Freeze. “What they’ve accomplished makes them wonderful role models.”

It’s interesting to note that the book grew organically out of a Twitter list — @WomenKnowCyber — dedicated to championing women in cybersecurity. A 16-year-old summer intern, who happens to be a young girl in cybersecurity, compiled the initial group of names. Since that day, the list has grown to nearly 4,000 members and 1,400 followers, and the numbers are increasing every day.

This social media community and Women Know Cyber: 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime are steps toward women reaching 50 percent of the cybersecurity space in the future. Morgan and Freeze may have accidentally started a new movement.

If you’re interested in reading about 100 women in cybersecurity, you can purchase a copy here.

Steven T. Kroll is a public relations specialist and staff writer at Cybercrime Magazine.