The devices and technological systems we use to work from home have become crucial to our day-to-day functioning. With the large volume of people logging in and working from home now, cybersecurity and keeping the systems safe has become more important than ever.
Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have historically and chronically been undermined and overlooked. As the volume of women doing extraordinary work in the field grows, it is impossible to ignore their immense capabilities and the need for more women in tech.
Here are some of the remarkable women keeping your work-from-home systems (and jobs by extension) safe.
Vandana works as a security architect. She is part of a dedicated community of cybersecurity researchers and female ethical hackers who are battling sexism and destroying stereotypes.
In an interview with Times of India, she says, “When I started out, cybersecurity was not seen as a career option, especially for women. When I told my mother I work as an information security professional, for a moment, she thought I was a security guard.”
Vandana has 14 years of experience in this field, and a work portfolio ranging from InfosecGirls, WoSec (Women of Security), IBM WISE (Women in Security Excellence), to OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) where she is a member of the global board of directors.
She admits that she has had to prove herself at every step of her career. The recognition and credit she deserved didn’t come easily. “But there is a cultural shift and many misconceptions have been broken. We need more role models,” says Vandana.
Well, for many aspiring young women with a passion in STEM, Vandana is just that!
Divya John works as an ethical hacker at Flipkart. Her job isn’t just mechanical and automated, as many believe it to be. There is a constant need for human intervention, innovation, and creative customisation, which can be extremely challenging. “But this is what motivates me to push the limits,” says the spirited woman.
Divya says that cybersecurity was never a part of her engineering curriculum when she was a student. The fact that it is a part of the curriculum today is a great step towards raising awareness about, and recognising the importance of, cybersecurity.
“These factors will enable greater balance in the gender ratio of cybersecurity professionals,” according to Divya.
Kudos to Divya for not letting gendered obstacles come in the way of her doing her part to balance out the scales.
Anjana works as a security analyst at Cloudsek – a digital risk-monitoring platform. She believes that the threat to cybersecurity has become increasingly large and severe.
With the growth of the Dark Web – a space that is built on illegal activities, stolen products and identities – and Artificial Intelligence – where attackers are always trying to insert bad data that modifies the system’s precision – her work has become all the more difficult, but all the more essential.
Her other point of focus is defects in facial recognition software. She says that even the most accurate facial recognition algorithms can be tricked, and she is invested in rectifying that.
Arunima works at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions as an ethical hacker who ensures that the systems in automobiles are well-protected. Electrical vehicles are growing in popularity, and their charging stations contain sensitive vehicle data, like its location. The stations are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and generate information that can be misused by cybercriminals.
If we ever end up owning an electrical vehicle in the (extremely far) future, we know who to thank for not having to worry about our information falling into the wrong hands!
Women Can, And Are, Doing It All
Female representation in STEM has been low, due the field being saturated with sexist misconceptions and gender stereotypes. Women face obstacles when trying to successfully enter the field, as well as actually succeed in it.
The female hackers mentioned in this article are not only a shining beacon of hope for every girl who dreams of doing anything that isn’t “traditionally feminine”, but powerful evidence of the need for more women in tech.
They are revolutionising and improving the technological systems we depend on while simultaneously dismantling the shackles of a patriarchal society.
They’re a much-needed reminder that women are capable of anything, even – if not especially – the things we’ve been conditioned to believe we cannot do.
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