Bug Report: Hackers Protect Your Work from Home Systems | Bangalore News
Vandana is a Security Architect, GSI Labs, IBM India Software Labs, and a member of an inspired community of ethical female hackers and cybersecurity researchers who, like women in most industries, challenge stereotypes. âWhen I started, cybersecurity was not seen as a career option, especially for women. When I told my mom that I was working as an information security professional, for a while she thought I was a security guard, âsays Vandana.
(Vandana Verma is Security Architect, GSI Labs, IBM India Software Labs)
Globally, there is a growing awareness that the contributions and achievements of women in STEM, short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, have been overlooked. Almost 200 years ago, the first person to be what we now technically call a coder was a woman – English mathematician Ada Lovelace. The second Tuesday of each October is celebrated as Ada Lovelace Day.
Vandana began her career 14 years ago, developing skills to understand sophisticated attack vectors and build defenses. âThe job requires you to find vulnerabilities in the system and perform exploits before a malicious actor can find them,â she says. Vandana followed the 2017 breach at Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency. The data of 148 million customers was exposed through a web server vulnerability. Shortly after the breach, she spotted a similar flaw in the Apache server that cyber crooks could have used to trigger a remote code execution attack and take control. âI tested the weak links in my lab, then prepared a proof of concept for securing the systems using virtualization software and virtual machines,â she says.
Vandana is part of several cybersecurity-focused platforms: IBM WISE (Women in Security Excellence), OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), where she sits on the global board of directors, InfosecGirls, WoSec (Women of Security), and nul . Recognition did not come easily. âI had to prove myself every step of the way,â she says. âBut there is a cultural shift and a lot of misconceptions have been shattered. We need more models.
Her favorite hacker is Katie Moussouris, the pink-haired founder of Luta Security. Katie is a bug hunter and vulnerability disclosure expert that Vandana encountered during the Blackhat event in the US about two years ago.
Divya John, white hat hacker at Flipkart)
Divya John, a white hat hacker at Flipkart, says it’s difficult to maintain security guardrails around emerging products and features. âNot all aspects of safety can be covered by automation and tooling. A certain level of human intervention and analysis is required for every design and architecture. Innovating and executing custom designs on a large scale is a challenge. But that’s what motivates me to push the boundaries, âshe says. She describes ethical hackers as detectives. âMy job is to protect Flipkart’s customers and assets from hacks and privacy breaches. The key is to incorporate safety barriers into every phase of the product lifecycle, âshe says.
Anjana Sathyan, security analyst for digital risk monitoring platform Cloudsek, says the threat landscape has become dangerous with the evolution of the Dark Web, where operators thrive using stolen identities, products and services . She participates in flag-catching security competitions and closely follows how smartphones are attacked. The shortcomings of facial recognition software are a new focal point.
Anjana Sathyan, Security Analyst at Cloudsek)
âIn some cases, facial recognition has been deceived by infrared light; even the most efficient algorithms are fooled, âshe says. With artificial intelligence becoming more prevalent, attackers attempt to inject bad data to alter the accuracy of the system. They can even teach AI models to behave differently.
Arunima Saha, ethical hacker at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, searches for security vulnerabilities in on-board automotive systems. With growing interest in electric vehicles, charging stations are vulnerable to cyber attacks. âIt’s like asking for money in exchange for energy,â she says. Charging stations generate data about vehicles, such as location, and hackers can misuse them.
(Arunima Saha, ethical hacker at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions)
Although women are not sufficiently represented in STEM, things are changing. Divya says the percentage of women in India’s IT sector has increased over the past decade, as has the percentage of women in cybersecurity. âCybersecurity is more and more aware, and it is now part of the curriculum of engineering institutions; this was not the case when I was studying. It’s a huge step forward, âshe said. âThese factors will allow for a greater balance in the gender ratio of cybersecurity professionals. ”
So what is the advice for women entering the field? âBe heard, be seen and network as much as you can,â says Vandana.