Cybercrime Heroes. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

The Most Admired Cybercrime Superheroes

Cybersecurity podcast video interviews with Fortune 500 CISOs

Scott Schober

Metuchen, N.J. – Dec. 17, 2019

Superheroes have never been bigger in popular culture than they are right now. They have replaced the Greek gods of ancient myth and inspired our children to fight against tyrannical powers that would hurt the innocent and weak. This year alone, I had the privilege to go one on one with some of my personal heroes. Instead of masks, they hide behind computers and instead of superpowers, they use their intellect and security community teamwork to defend against bad guys and malware spread around the world.

They are cybercrime professionals:

Bret Arsenault, CVP and CISO at Microsoft (watch video)

Bret Arsenault is an industry visionary. He began programming at an early age back in high school so he appreciates how computers and threats have advanced over time. From the moment I began to interview him, we shared an affinity for the early days of Microsoft back when the PC market exploded with growth, but there was much more than reminiscing going on. Bret and his team are not just protecting Windows. They understand that Microsoft’s associate partners like iOS, Android, and Linux platforms must also receive resources and defenses from Microsoft in this connected landscape. Bret is a cybercrime superhero leading his team into incessant battle with cybercriminals and their malware that seeks to harm all of us.

Nasrin Rezai, EVP & Global CISO at GE Corporate (watch video)

Nasrin was a chemistry major before she switched to cybersecurity while working at Cisco Systems, which might explain she lists her curiosity as an important ingredient for a top CISO. Nasrin gave this interviewer a true sense of GE’s diverse business units spanning over 170 countries with over 200,000 employees. She reassured me about GE’s fight against cybercrime and the strong team they have assembled, but also reminded me about the entire industry’s need for more skilled security workers willing to roll up their sleeves.

Christopher Porter, SVP & CISO at Fannie Mae (watch video)

Chris cut his teeth on cybersecurity while working for Verizon on their critical data breach investigation reports circulating annually. As the current SVP & CISO of Fannie Mae, he faces untold numbers of hackers plotting to steal personal and private data from his company’s customers and partners.

Laura Deaner, CISO, S&P Global (watch video)

Laura is a great role model for all security professionals especially when you consider how few CISOs are female. Reflecting back to her computer science classes when she was one of only four women in a class of over 300, Laura continues to lead the charge against cybercriminals and now sees unprecedented growth by underrepresented minorities and women in her field. Her CISO role at S&P Global only serves to inspire a younger generation of men and women that will surely follow in her footsteps.  

Teresa Zielinski, SVP, Global CISO & Product Security, GE Power (watch video)

Teresa has spent more than 22 years at GE so she understands what it takes to keep a large organization secure. In our conversation, she underlined how important it is for CISOs within GE’s many divisions to share information and collaborate. Teresa might be comfortable with math and science but understands that is not necessarily the case with all women. She expressed excitement in the growth of STEM programs being offered to women who have traditionally been overlooked as the future of cybercrime fighters.

Debbie Guild, CSO at PNC (watch video)

Debbie was a self-proclaimed techie and a nerd at heart so she fit right in at Intel. As the current CSO at PNC, no one understands the role of cybersecurity to protect customers better than Debbie. She shares some of her enlightening experiences on the front lines of cybersecurity with me. Her drive and passion for protecting PNC and its customers made me want to join her fight by first changing my bank to PNC.

Superhero narratives of the day might seem trite or overblown compared to the real breaking headlines, but so long as there is hope for a better future, our next generation of cybercrime superheroes will be motivated to help those that cannot help themselves and also be inspired by real heroes of cybercrime who clock in every day at work to keep the world a little safer.

Scott Schober is the CEO of BVS, Inc. He is an author, speaker, and cyber security & wireless expert at Scott Schober LLC.

Scott has presented extensively on cybersecurity and corporate espionage at conferences around the globe. He has recently overseen the development of several cell phone detection tools used to enforce a “no cell phone policy” in correctional, law enforcement, and secured government facilities. He is regularly interviewed for leading national publications and major network television stations including Fox, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, CNN, CGTN, CNBC, MSNBC and many more. He is the author of ‘Hacked Again’, his latest book as well as a contributor for Huffington Post and guest blogs regularly for Tripwire’s State of Security series. Scott also writes for Business Value Exchange, Fortune Magazine and IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub.

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