A security-first culture starts with a clear understanding and acceptance that security is everyone’s responsibility. Cybersecurity has grown drastically in importance as the world continues to make its shift online, however, it still remains an element that needs much more attention in order to secure an organization’s information.
We take a look at organizations that are focused on female empowerment and how they have integrated cybersecurity learning into their training and boot camp modules. Nancy Muriithi, a Web App Security Researcher and information security engineer, takes us deeper into how organizations focused around the empowerment of women has adopted cybersecurity in their training and boot camp programs.
Nancy worked at African Techgirl as a technical trainer, a startup tech company that organizes both mentorship and technical boot camp sessions for high school students and trains children as well. Being part of more than one female focused organization, one can conclude that female empowerment especially in the STEM field is important to her, and she backs this up by saying that “I love empowering women because I was empowered myself. I was still on campus when I decided to pursue cybersecurity. I remember when doing my Cisco CyberOps certification, I was the only female in a class of 30. It was definitely intimidating at some point but because it was something I really wanted to pursue but I wasn’t sure I could do it. Luckily, I met the SheHacks KE team which really boosted my confidence. I saw ladies like Eve Kilel, who is the founder for SheHacks KE doing amazing things in the industry and I was inspired by this.”
Nancy is determined to do the same for young girls who often doubt their capabilities, by encouraging them to thrive in tech regardless of the path.
Her passion for cybersecurity particularly stems from ‘networking’. Expanding further on this she says, “I enjoyed networking as a career path, however I noticed that there is a gap. The big question being how secure are these networks? So, I started learning more on the matter and my passion for cybersecurity grew. I got more intentional about it, understanding the different domains in cybersecurity and got passionate about educating others in the area.”
“Let’s face it; we live in a digital world. Our work lives, personal lives, and finances have all begun gravitating toward the world of the internet, mobile computing, and electronic media. Unfortunately, this widespread phenomenon makes us more vulnerable than ever to malicious attacks, invasions of privacy, fraud, and other unpleasantries. That is why cybersecurity is such a vital part of a secure and well-ordered digital world.”
It is reported that cybercrimes have cost the world approximately $2 trillion in 2019. It was predicted in 2017 by Cybersecurity Ventures that damages would hit $6 trillion by 2021 prompting global spending of roughly $10 billion in cyber-security measures by 2027 to protect against catastrophic losses. Nancy further highlights that “it’s not just the big companies and organizations that get hit. On average, consumers experience phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, identity theft, data breaches, and financial losses every day.”
Why is cybersecurity ‘everyone’s problem’?
As it only takes five minutes to hack an internet-connected device, which includes your smartphone, smartwatch, on-board automobile computer, smart television, and home control systems. This means the more we rely on the internet, the more we need good cybersecurity in all its forms.
SheHacks Ke is one of the organizations that has a community of women in cybersecurity, with the vision of supporting and encouraging more women to take up more cybersecurity roles. The organization implements cybersecurity in its trainings and boot camps. “Our programs are not gender based since we still partner with other organizations such as AfricaHackon. We do this by having both the technical and non-technical trainings. As a trainer, I emphasize on the technical skills needed in cybersecurity but not forgetting the soft skills needed for the field” says Nancy.
Considering the surge in the number of businesses moving online, the online retail market is booming, with worldwide e-commerce sales predicted to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021.However, this success often attracts unwanted attention, and cyber-criminals have an ever-more sophisticated arsenal of methods to exploit gaps in online store security. Online retailers use a wealth of innovative new technology to give their business a boost.
Three cybersecurity threats to be on the lookout for:
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks where website’s servers are flooded with requests from potentially thousands of untraceable IP addresses
- The old classic credit card fraud that is often difficult to trace