Remote work with encrypted connection, cyber security, cyber awareness month

Why multitasking is the enemy of creativity and cybersecurity

Remote work with encrypted connection, cyber security, cyber awareness month

Article by Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist KnowBe4 Africa 

In primary school, my best friend Sabine and I spent hours drawing cartoon versions of our teachers, parents and friends. We created long comic book type stories with weird and wonderful characters, some of which we even played out and recorded on our tape recorders. 

I strongly believe that these early creative experiences formed an inspirational seed for what would be my first cartoon-based security awareness storyboard in 2011. The characters and storyboard came to me while I was sitting on the beach on honeymoon in Zanzibar and I drew it when my husband went out sailing. Back home, I showed it to the CISO of one of South Africa’s largest insurance companies. He liked it and motivated me to develop it into a fully fledged product, which ultimately resulted in the content publishing company Popcorn Training, which is now part of KnowBe4. 

Creativity means allowing our minds to connect seemingly unrelated areas. It is something that served me well throughout my career as both a security consultant, product designer, entrepreneur and manager. It meant finding ways to connect storytelling, character development, a sense of humour and principles from fields such as psychology and cybersecurity.

When we are relaxed and in a space of mental stillness, we can be our most creative selves and ideas emerge. That is why we often have our best ideas on holiday, after a walk in nature or in the shower.

This creative frame of mind though seems to elude us more and more, with modern lives pressurising us into multitasking and distractions. We participate in Zoom calls, while working through emails at the same time; attempt to focus on a piece of work while getting disrupted by notifications on our phones. Sometimes these notifications do not even exist, but we end up checking anyway every five minutes, falsely believing we can get things done while also staying on top of our various inboxes.

Multitasking is a myth. When we think we do multiple things at once, our brains just switch between tasks at a cost. Every time we switch, we need to make a decision and decision making costs energy. Even seemingly small decisions like, “do I respond to this WhatsApp message now or later?” use up as much glucose in our brains as large decisions. On top of that, we only have a limited number of decisions available per day. Once we use up our decisions during the day on irrelevant interruptions, we feel wiped out and frazzled in the evenings — this explains why sometimes having to choose what to make for dinner seems like a really difficult task. It also explains why we feel like we have been busy the whole day but did not actually achieve anything. We confuse activity with productivity. The bad news is that there is an addictive element to this behaviour. Dopamine — our built in rewards system – is a curious little hormone and drives us to check our emails obsessively or want to find out what is behind that red notification tick. Once we have responded to that message, we get another dopamine hit, because it feels like we have scratched something off our to-do list. This results in a dopamine addiction feedback loop and is why it is difficult to stop this behaviour, despite knowing that it does not serve us.

The other day, I failed a phishing simulation test and got assigned training which I developed myself a couple of years ago. The reality is that I failed this test not because I do not know how to spot a phishing email. I clicked on it because I was distracted; I was doing what felt like a million things at once. In a study by Tessian in 2020, distractions were behind 47% of people falling for phishing emails. Multitasking is really bad for us and often results in human error, reduces our long term memory and prevents us from being focussed and creative.

Becoming aware of how bad multitasking is, is the first step to change it. By scheduling focus time and limiting emails and other chat and communication apps to a few 20 minute chunks per day, we are able to work through multiple requests at once, rather than being constantly interrupted.

Becoming mindful of our emotional reaction to disruptions without immediately giving into the impulse will make the response more intentional and conscious.

Reducing multitasking, slowing things down and becoming mindful of our own reactions will not only help us focus, become more productive and safer online, but it will also allow those ideas and creative thoughts to come back to the surface again.

The irony is that by focusing on one thing at a time only, we end up getting so much more done.

Kickstart for Airnow’s cyber women

Paige Quinn-Jaggar and Ayman Farooq really are pioneers in the male-dominated world of cybersecurity. Sadly, they are also the exception to the rule with women making up just 8% of professionals in a technology sector that is constantly growing in profile and importance.

With ever-growing threats from around the globe, increasing in both intensity and complexity, the role of cybersecurity becomes ever more important. Protecting sensitive and critical data is a key priority in both public and private sectors. 

Paige, who works within the marketing department of Leeds-based Airnow Cybersecurity, has benefited from the Government’s Kickstart scheme along with Airnow colleague Ayman Farooq who has established herself in sales.

Kickstart provided funding to employers to create jobs for those aged 16 to 24. The scheme, which ran until the start of May 2022, has benefited many young jobseekers across the UK.

Paige, who started with Airnow in 2021, explained: “Women are clearly within the minority but schemes such as Kickstart have sought to redress the balance and has given myself and Ayman a foot up into the fast-moving world of cybersecurity.

The kickstart scheme has helped to create a more diverse workforce as companies have recruited individuals that perhaps might never have considered a career in technology.

“It may well be that women are simply unaware of the opportunities or that this sector is considered too technical or traditionally male dominated but a big part of it, in my opinion, is down to education and the way girls in school are not encouraged to go down the tech route.

“Women account for just 8% of employees in cybersecurity and only 19% in technology as a whole. Those are shocking figures and represent some of the worst disparities across all industries. 

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“Whilst it’s a shame to see the Kickstart scheme come to an end, it’s heartening to see that there are other initiatives aimed at encouraging women into a cybersecurity career.

“The CyberFirst programme, for instance, includes some positive initiatives that are helping to buck the trend. It was launched in 2016 by the National Cyber Security Centre, which forms part of GCHQ, and includes female only competitions as well as training and apprenticeships.

“That is a good place to start for any woman interested in cybersecurity.

“Anything the men can do; we can do just as well given the chance. We just need those chances!” concluded Paige. 

Why SMEs need to train employees in cybersecurity

Article James Swaffield, Managing Director, Capita Learning

The idea of full-time remote working was once exclusive to a small group of people, typically conjuring thoughts of the self-employed person managing their business from the convenience of their home office.

Fast forward to the present, and large swathes of the workforce continue to work from home despite an end to all Covid restrictions at the beginning of the year – recent ONS figures show 23% of UK businesses are using (or plan to use) the remote working model on a permanent basis. Make no mistake: this is a seismic shift in the space of two years.

Yet, while the development and proliferations of businesses technologies have helped facilitate remote working – often with relative ease and speed – it has simultaneously exposed the severe shortage of digital skills among UK employees.

Indeed, research from Salesforce’s Global Digital Skills Index found that 80% of UK workers do not feel ready to operate in a digital-first world, with 43% stating they feel ‘overwhelmed’ by the rate of technological change.

Worryingly, cybersecurity skills shortages are one prevalent area that contributes to this wider digital skills gap. In a report published earlier this year, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) found that approximately 697,000 UK businesses (51%) have a basic skills gap. It highlighted that the individuals in charge of cybersecurity in businesses lack the confidence to carry out the kinds of basic tasks laid out in the government-endorsed Cyber Essentials scheme.

Certainly, for organisations of all sizes, a lack of cybersecurity skills among their staff could lead to damaging consequences. Yet, as the ‘war for talent’ intensifies, it is likely that the repercussions could be worse for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which might lack the resource to attract and retain those with the most highly sought-after skills.

SMEs most at risk

Whenever cybersecurity breaches make the headlines, the target tends to be a major institution or brand.

However, online criminal activity is often directed toward smaller businesses. In fact, Markel found that 51% of SMEs have been the victim of a cybersecurity breach, with malware, data breaches, and phishing the most common forms.

Compared to a larger national and international organisation that may be able to weather the storm of a breach (financially and reputationally), the effects of a cyberattack for SMEs can be devastating. For example, one study in the US found that as many as 60% of hacked SMEs go out of business within six months of an incident.

In addition, to the immediate financial hit from the loss of data and assets, cyberattacks can cause further problems for businesses. For instance, the time and effort spent recuperating from an attack in an attempt to go back to normal operations. At the same time, the possibility of losing a commercial contract or customer trust could potentially be the most damaging side effect of all.

The need to solve the cybersecurity skills deficit could not be stronger, from reputational damage and financial expenses to national security concerns. Employees must be able to recognise and resolve threats to remain ahead of them, which applies not only to cybersecurity experts and IT departments, but to the entire workforce.

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Reskilling and upskilling are key

Bridging the cybersecurity skills gap does not mean flooding the workforce with highly trained advanced tech professionals.

Instead, the aim should be to take a human-centric approach where all employees are comfortable with the IT systems and processes they are working with – particularly when human error is the biggest culprit for cybersecurity breaches.

Smaller businesses without IT departments should be able to operate smoothly, with business leaders safe in the knowledge that their staff can set up firewalls or safely identify phishing emails and malware. To achieve this, businesses that have not already done so will need to consider training opportunities that allow all staff, not just those in advanced tech roles, to reskill and acquire the digital skills they may be missing.

Fortunately, there are options available. Digital skills bootcamps are a great example of one initiative making real progress in this area. For instance, with a £7 million grant, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has piloted over 30 digital bootcamps and trained around 2,000 adults with essential tech skills. Recently, a further £21 million was made available from the Adult Education Budget to fund the new bootcamps in the West Midlands over the next three years, with a target of supporting more than 4,000 people.

The bootcamps are guided by seasoned industry specialists and play a critical role in educating the workforce – particularly young people – with hands-on data training. They are free for participants and provide clear channels for employers to either upskill or hire new talent.

Further, these programmes offer a fantastic opportunity to broaden the talent pool in the tech industry. Bridging the cybersecurity skills gap will take a team effort. Essential training should be made available to as many people as possible, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or wealth.

Digital skills bootcamps are crucial to the development of a tech-competent workforce. Certainly, SMEs need to maintain a sufficient level of online security and prevent financial and reputational loss, which is critical to their survival. Therefore, to improve access to digital skills training for all employees, I would advise employers to look for current digital skills partnerships in their region and, if possible, engage with course providers.

James SwaffieldAbout the author

James Swaffield is the Managing Director of Capita Learning. Capita is a consulting, transformation and digital services business that provides innovative solutions to help businesses and the public sector operate effectively and efficiently whilst transforming customer and citizen experience.

Diverse workforces create the best defence: Why cybersecurity needs more women

Article by Nicky Whiting, Director of Consultancy at

Women are woefully underrepresented across the entire technology sector, and while efforts are being made to increase female representation within the sector, a significant disparity still exists. 

Cybersecurity sits somewhere in the middle of the various sectors regarding representation, currently 10% higher than the industry average. However, there is a distinct underutilisation of female talent within cybersecurity: women across the globe hold more qualifications than their male counterparts. It is essential to mention that statistics such as these indicate that women often feel like they need to be more qualified than men to be considered for the same role within the cyber sector. As a result, there is currently an enormity of untapped potential leaking out of the industry. This leak needs fixing. As an industry, we are missing out on future leaders, fresh talent essential for innovation, and a collection of diverse mindsets, all of which are crucial to tackling the evolving threat landscape.

The business case for diversity in cybersecurity

By championing diversity and inclusion, businesses can play an important role in addressing long-term societal issues. In the workplace, this action helps to create an environment where innovation, originality and empathy thrive. Working environments where these factors are pervasive often produce cutting-edge products and solutions, precisely what is needed to secure systems against today’s cyber threats.

The lack of diversity in cybersecurity has resulted in teams comprising employees whose experiences, opinions, and ideas are incredibly similar. We need to see more effort being made to embrace better diversity management and a more holistic, inclusive approach to work.

For cybersecurity, as in other industries, the business case for diversity is overwhelming. Organisations that promote diversity and inclusion regularly outperform their rivals and see higher profitability than their less diverse counterparts. Boston Consulting Group found companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues than their less diverse counterparts. Diversity also has important benefits in boosting employee retention.

If we are to realise these benefits, investing in STEM education needs to be a priority for our industry.

The obstacles facing women in STEM

The gender disparity in the technology sector derives in part from a lack of female representation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education. A correction needs to occur if we are to see gender divisions within technology begin to shrink. This underrepresentation in STEM is spurred by many obstacles that hold talented women back.

A major obstacle is the lack of role models currently within cybersecurity. Young minds are easily moulded by various forms of media, and at present, there is a blatant lack of female cybersecurity role models for young women to look up to and emulate. Concerted efforts need to be made amongst organisations to ensure that the stories of women in cybersecurity are heard. The amplification of these stories will begin to rectify the STEM issue at hand while attracting females from other sectors who have had somewhat of an interest in this exciting field.

We also need to see more time invested by cybersecurity companies in showcasing to women what a STEM career has to offer them while also enlightening advisors, educators, and parents. Whether it is backing skills workshops in schools, careers presentations to students, or even targeted apprenticeship programmes – cybersecurity companies can and must do more to encourage more women to consider it as a career path. Furthermore, this work must happen as early as possible in young women’s lives, as it becomes increasingly difficult to move into STEM when someone chooses, for example, humanities-based exams at GCSE or A-Level.

It is also important to note that while STEM pathways provide the easiest route to obtaining a career in cybersecurity, it isn’t always necessary. Compliance – a vital part of modern cybersecurity – does not require a background in STEM. 

Creating a cybersecurity environment where women excel

Having worked in various info-sec companies across the UK, I am proud that at Bulletproof, we are committed to creating a workplace that celebrates diversity and encourages a truly inclusive approach to work.

The blueprint for achieving an environment like this is simple. Women must be highlighted within the business and encouraged to step into the spotlight. Employees must be afforded the flexibility needed to deal with the varying circumstances within their lives. Organisations need to ensure that inclusive language is used in all recruitment stages. Recruitment practices should also be re-evaluated to ensure that female candidates understand that they can apply for a role without ticking every box in terms of skills, as men will often apply for positions without doing so. Equal pay and opportunities must be afforded to every individual. Finally, ensuring that a culture of belonging and community is championed throughout the organisation is paramount. Any form of toxicity within an organisation, such as misogynistic comments, must be met with a zero-tolerance approach. This sends a strong message from the top, builds values and creates an environment where women feel comfortable and safe.

Ensuring that this environment is created will only benefit an organisation. The more diverse a cybersecurity workforce is, the more equipped it will be to deal with the myriad of threats facing the current cyber landscape.

Encouraging more females within cybersecurity

Article by Andrea Babbs, Head of Sales UK & Ireland at VIPRE Security

As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the cybersecurity industry has continued to accelerate, and has no indication of slowing down anytime soon.

With new and innovative methods of hacking affecting businesses of all kinds, the number of cyber attacks is also increasing. A report by DCMS showed that the UK’s cyber security industry is now worth an estimated £8.3 billion – but why do we still see a lack of female representatives for an industry so high in demand?

The industry predominantly remains male-dominated, and this lack of diversity, in turn, means less available talent to help keep up with the rise in mounting cyber threats. Women currently represent about 20% of people working in the field of cybersecurity, says Gartner. Andrea Babbs, Head of Sales UK & Ireland at VIPRE Security, outlines how attracting and embracing more females, and providing equal opportunities within the workplace, is significant for the future of the cybersecurity industry.

Male dominated subjects

Even at the very beginning of a ‘tech’ based career pathway, a woman’s success is already limited. Females make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math subjects (STEM), and are systematically tracked away from these subjects throughout their learning, and pushed towards written and creative arts, narrowing their training and potential positions to go into these fields later in life.

STEM subjects are traditionally considered as masculine by many. All too often, teachers and parents may steer girls away from pursuing such areas – with females making up just 26% of STEM graduates in 2019. Additionally, there is a need for more female STEM teachers, as young girls may feel that they cannot be what they can’t see. Because less women study and work in STEM, these fields tend to create exclusionary male-dominated cultures that are not inclusive of, or appealing to women.

Barriers into the cybersecurity industry already exist, such as often requiring a minimum of two years of experience for entry level positions. This proposes the question, how do you get those two years without being offered an opportunity to gain the necessary skills or lessons? This requirement leads to talented, tech-savvy young women entering non-tech sectors, further enhancing the pattern of fewer women in cyber security, as well as technology as a whole, even if they have trained in that subject.

Additionally, females who have been successful in entering the industry often receive different treatment compared to males who work in technology, and can occasionally be mistaken for having a less ‘dominant’ role. Another VIPRE colleague, Angela, who has been a Support Engineer at VIPRE for over ten years is still asked to put people through to an engineer on the phone – as it is perceived that as a woman, she can’t be one herself, despite having over a decade of experience. These stereotypes can therefore discourage young women from entering the field and diminish the accomplishments and self esteem of those already in it.

Obstacles and challenges

From engineers to analysts, consultants and technologists, the roles are unlimited in cybersecurity. It is clear for women entering the industry that the profession is not limited to just one type of job, and requires a range of skill sets, most of which can now be done remotely – which has been heightened due to COVID-19.

However, research demonstrates that 66% of women reported that there is no path of progression for them in their career at their current tech companies, suggesting the very reason why women tend to end up in the more ‘customer facing’ roles, such as marketing, sales or customer support. How can females continue to advance once they have a foot in the door into more technical or product focused roles?

Despite girls outperforming boys across a range of STEM subjects, including maths and science, the presumption remains that women are not equipped to take on ‘complex’ tasks and roles. To support this, research reveals those who attend an ‘all-girls’ school and see their female peers also participating in technology subjects, therefore do not have lower-esteem when pursuing that industry, and are in a learning environment free from gender stereotyping, unconscious bias and social pressure. And even if a female is successful within these areas, we continue to see a lack of women represented in senior leadership roles on boards, as CEOs and in STEM careers. We need to dispel the myths that women cannot take on ‘tech-heavy’ jobs.

Maternity leave or taking a break to raise a family is another challenge women face later on in their career. Employers might question the gap in their CV when they eventually want to return to work after taking a break from such a demanding industry to start and raise a family. A recent study shows that three in five professional women return to lower paid or lower-skilled jobs following their career breaks. Additionally, the challenges faced by women returning to the workplace costs the UK an estimated £1.7 billion a year in lost economic output.

“It’s almost considered career suicide to leave,” explains the former senior director of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, Claudia Galvan. These women find it “almost impossible to go back to work, or if they do go back to work, they have to take totally different jobs from what their career was, a demotion, of course pay cuts — and that’s if they get the opportunity to get back into the workforce.”

Based on my personal experience at a previous employer, whilst it was agreed that I could work fewer days a week after returning from maternity leave, this arguably caused more problems. The ‘compromise’ that was reached was that I could work four days but I still needed to have the same target as people in the same position who worked five days a week. They also reduced my pay by 20% inline with the four day week, and actually created a more stressful environment as I found myself working longer hours over the four days.

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Everyone is the target. So why not get everyone involved?

To ensure that women gain equal footing in stereotypically male-dominated industries, there is an often-overlooked factor – men need equality too. Businesses need to offer the same level of paternity leave and support to men as they do women when it comes to looking after a family. This then leads to the need for flexibility within working hours for school runs, for example, as it needs to be understood that men have children too, and women are not always the number one caregiver. For example, my husband received more questions about taking time off if our child was unwell than I ever did. He was constantly asked of my whereabouts as if it was my sole responsibility to look after our child, not both of us. Ultimately, the debate here is not just that there needs to be more women in cybersecurity and technology, but that workforces must have diversity within them.

Having a diverse workforce allows there to be a balance of input, more creativity, new perspectives and fresh ideas. From different learning paths, to ways of approaching problems, and bringing in wider viewpoints, women bring an array of different skills, attributes and experience to cybersecurity roles. Working in an industry like cybersecurity where everyone is impacted and everyone is a target – we need everyone to be involved in developing solutions which work to solve the problem. This is not just limited to gender, but also includes age, culture, race and religion. To truly mitigate the risk of cybercrime, we need a solution relevant to all the people impacted by the problem.

Taking action

To begin with, whether this is from a younger age during school studies or university courses, offering varied entry pathways into the industry, or making it easier to return after a break, women must be encouraged into the field of cybersecurity. These hurdles into the sector have to be addressed.

Each business has a part to play when it comes to ensuring that their organisation meets the requirements of all of their employees. From remote or hybrid working, reduced hours or adequate maternity and paternity support, working hours should be more flexible to suit the needs of the employee.

A “return to work scheme” would greatly benefit women if companies were to implement them. This can help those who have had a break from the industry get back into work – and this doesn’t necessarily mean limiting them to roles such as customer support, sales and marketing. HR teams must also do better when it comes to job descriptions, ensuring they appeal to a wider audience, offer flexibility and that the recruitment pool is as diverse as can be.

Setting up the Cyber Security Skill strategy, the government has started taking action. Businesses themselves have also started to enforce programmes to support those with gaps in their CV’s and are eager to return to their careers, such as Ziff Davis’s Restart Programme. This programme is committed to those who have a gap in their experience and are keen to return to their careers, providing them with an employment opportunity which emphasises growth and training, helping professionals return to the workforce. When businesses step up and take matters into their own hands, it provides more available paths into the industry for everyone.

Creating a gender-balanced cyber workforce

The cybersecurity industry remains an attractive and lucrative career path, but more should be done to direct female students in the right way to pursue a job role within STEM and to support those who are returning to work.

There is more of a need than ever before for more diverse teams, as cybersecurity threats become more varied. Becoming part of a gender-balanced cyber workforce is an efficient way to avoid unconscious bias and build a range of solutions to complex problems.

Whilst the latest government initiatives and courses to attract diverse talent, and better the UK’s security and technology sectors is a great start, the only way to progress is more investment and emphasis on STEM as a career path. This will encourage both males and females, who are treated equally and can see themselves reflected in their senior management teams.

Andrea BabbsAbout the author

Andrea Babbs has worked in the IT Industry for over 20 years. During that time she has worked for IT Security Vendors and Resellers dealing with email, endpoint and web security. Andrea is currently Country Manager and Head of Sales for VIPRE Security Limited, where she manages the UK and Irish business. Andrea’s length of experience in the industry means she has seen the threat landscape change from simple viruses and spam to the sophisticated, zero-day, polymorphic threats of today. However, she recognises that in attacks of all types, humans are the last line of defence, meaning they need awareness and effective tools to help them prevent little mistakes with big consequences.

female leader, women leading the way featured

The importance of female leadership within cybersecurity

female leader, women leading the way

I am Anna Chung, Principal Researcher at Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks’ global threat intelligence team.

For International Women’s Day, I am sharing my thoughts on the importance of women leadership and employment within cybersecurity through personal anecdotes, as well as advice  for other women interested in joining  the technology and cyber industries.

My day-to-day role at Unit 42 requires me to evaluate the global cyberthreat landscape and provide intelligence assessments to enable customers to make strategic decisions. I spend a lot of time as a threat hunter and dark web expert researching new malicious tools, tactics, and procedures discovered by the international security community. My job not only involves tracking the latest threats and attacks, but also understanding cybercriminals’ motivations and methods to then assist      organisations to be better protected and prepared. This will allow business leaders to prioritise their actions, time, and resources. My cybersecurity career spans across fraud in financial technology fields and network security – there is some crossover, but they are fundamentally different, the solutions and strategies are quite diverse.

It might seem very scientific and technical at first, but there is so much more to a career in cybersecurity. Many people associate it with mathematics, coding, and engineering. However, this can lead to the assumption that there are high entry requirements. Now I, for one, was awful at maths during high school and had once received 50 out of 100 in a national entrance exam but I was still able to pursue a career in information security.

Do not be afraid to challenge yourself and stereotypes – pick your own obstacles to overcome.  By doing so, we can move one step forward in making workplaces and society as a whole more inclusive and diverse.  At the same time, it is also so important  to engage with others, ask questions, learn, and celebrate diversity. Stay openminded and take the first step in making yourself part of the changes you want to see in the world.

When I offer advice to women who want to enter this industry or further their cybersecurity career, I  share my experiences, insights, and professional networks with them, so they are well equipped in navigating  through their career progression. They will know how to handle situations better and what  to do next to realise their dreams, goals, and to reach their desired  destination. There is no ‘right way’ to achieving your dreams. I recommend picking the challenges that interest you, rather than those that are imposed on you – remember to always take time out to be kind to yourself.

As a mentor, I see one of my main coaching goals as empowering young women to respect all elements of the cybersecurity industry to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses, because we all have our own attributes as individuals – that is what makes us unique.

To me, a career in cybersecurity develops appreciation for a niche combination of technical abuse and malicious human behaviours. It is both an exciting and demanding role as a very wide range of skills and knowledge are required, which are then harnessed for good purposes.

Anna ChungAbout the author

Anna Chung is a Principal Researcher at Unit 42, the global threat intelligence team at Palo Alto Networks.



SheTalksTech Podcast - Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey' with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

SheTalksTech Podcast - Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

Today we hear from Dr Mary Haigh, the CISO for BAE plc.

In this episode of She Talks Tech, Mary shares her expertise of cyber security as she delves into the topic of Cyber Power.

Our trust in our digital infrastructure is vital, to our economy, to our way of life, to our core values as a society. Mary explains how Cyber Power has the ability to both strengthen our digital infrastructures and weaken it.

If you want to find out more about Mary – you can connect with her on LinkedIn.


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2021.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

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She Talks Tech podcast


Build your cyber security skills with Raytheon UK’s Cyber Academy

Raytheon UK Cyber Academy

Raytheon UK, in partnership with the University of Texas, is once again offering students the chance to increase their cyber security skills by participating in the Cyber Academy.

The Raytheon UK Cyber Academy consists of a series of educational workshops that will give students hands-on experience with cybersecurity techniques and methods to identify and address network vulnerabilities.

For two hours a week, over the course of five weeks, students will be taught by instructors from the Centre for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Workshop modules will cover a range of different topics, from intrusion detection and malware removal to incident response and securing web applications.  Students that complete the workshops will be invited to a “meet and greet” with recruiters from Raytheon UK to hear more about what it is like to work in the cyber security sector.

There are no costs associated for the participants and the modules will be taught remotely, so all you need is access to a laptop. Spaces at the Cyber Academy are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

To register your place, please contact us below with details of whether you’d like to attend the introduction, intermediate or advanced classes.

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Women and BAME individuals disproportionally affected by cybercrime

cybersecurity, cyber crime

Women and BAME individuals disproportionally affected by cybercrime, according to new research.

The ‘Demographics of Cybercrime’ report, conducted by Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyberprotection, and US-based non-profit partners, Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network, found that uncovered that certain demographic groups are disproportionally impacted by cybercrime.

The report, which polled more than 5,000 people across the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, details how consumers experience cybercrime worldwide, demonstrating cybercrime does not impact everyone equally. In fact, the report illustrates that demographics impact how often individuals are targeted, as well as their emotional response to becoming a victim.

Overall analysis of data suggests disadvantaged groups facing barriers in society feel less safe about their online experiences, are more likely to fall victim to an attack, and at times report experiencing a heavier emotional burden when responding to cyberattacks.

Depending on the type of cybercrime, certain groups report a higher likelihood of encountering threats online. For example, more women receive text messages from unknown numbers that include potentially malicious links than men – 79 per  cent compared to 73 per cent – and more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) respondents experienced hacked social media accounts – 45 per cent compared to 40 per cent – and instances of identity theft than White people – 21 per cent compared to 15 per cent. Additionally, the survey found that the likelihood of having one’s credit card data stolen increased in line with age, with those aged 65+ more impacted than any other age group.

Speaking of the findings, Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes said, “Understanding the impact that cybercrime has on vulnerable people (or populations), particularly women and minorities, across the world is critical as online access becomes essential to modern life.”

“The disparity between populations feeling safe online and the emotional impact of threats on already vulnerable communities is unacceptable.”

“The work Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network are doing to educate and empower communities cannot be understated.”

“As an industry, we need to work together to make safe internet access available to everyone, regardless of income or their ability to pay.”

Stephanie Daman featured

Cyber Security Challenge UK launches Foundation to boost diversity in security in memory of Stephanie Daman


Cyber Security Challenge UK has launched a charity, in memory of Cyber Security Challenge UK’s late chief executive, Stephanie Daman.
Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK
Stephanie Daman, late CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK

The Cyber Challenge Foundation, aims to support accessibility and diversity in cyber security, with an emphasis in supporting those from a disadvantaged background - fulfilling her vision of creating a support system for individuals across the UK who wish to learn about cyber security, but may not have the resource to do so.

The Foundation will provide grants towards the provision of education, training, mentoring and hardship relief across the UK. Through doing so the Foundation aims to promote better diversity within the cyber security profession.

According to industry association (ISC)2, only 11 per cent of the UK cyber security workforce is female (seven per cent global average) and only 12 per cent are from ethnic minorities.

Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive at Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “At the Challenge we are continually working to encourage diversity throughout the cyber security industry. It was Stephanie’s vision to expand this work and provide real help to those who struggle to find support in the usual places. Diversity increases creativity, productivity and culture, and at a time when the cyber security threat continues to grow, making this sector more accessible is a logical and much-needed step.”

Cyber Security Challenge UK will raise capital for the Foundation through corporate sponsorship, fundraising events and private donations with the first fundraising evening, in partnership with BT, taking place during the Challenge’s Masterclass competition on Monday 13 November.