Monthly Archives: augustus 2016

Stimulating Women To Study CS

These are some great tips to get women to study computer science. Would probably also have an effect on the amount of women specializing in cybersecurity, though a lot of our women in cybersecurity landed in the industry without a computer-science degree.

Read it HERE.

Dispelling The 3 Myths That Put Women Off The It Industry

Nominet’s head of IT security Cath Goulding dispels the idea that IT is boring, technical, hard or lonely by sharing her own experiences in the industry

“I encourage my fellow women in IT to stand up, be role models, and help us change the status quo once and for all”

Nominet research has found that the top three career choices for 11-18 year olds are IT related, however there’s still an imbalance between genders.

When discussing why they wouldn’t choose a career in IT, young women said they were put off as they believed IT to be either too boring, technical and hard, lonely, or overly male-dominated.
Altering these perceptions is key to attracting more talented females into IT roles in the future.
Here, I attempt to dispel some of the negative perceptions that prevent many women from entering the IT sector.

Young women perceive IT careers as being too boring (41%), too technical (35%) and too hard (28%)
While technical expertise is needed to work in IT, it certainly isn’t boring, and there’s bound to be a role to interest everybody. I chose security, but it could be developing apps, data science, and more.
I have experienced an incredible scope of work, a lot of which isn’t technical, and relies much more on soft skills than you might think.
I’ve also found IT to be very strategic, especially when it comes to understanding and evaluating potential risk – a key element to my role.

10% of girls say they’d imagine IT too solitary a career to consider.
In truth, it’s the opposite. Much of my time is spent inducting new employees face to face with cyber security policies and training, and always being on hand to answer employee’s queries.
I also work closely with other departments – namely the HR department – to develop a culture of security awareness, which include initiatives like clear desk competitions and social engineering exercises. Many IT roles involve close collaboration in large teams.

16% of young women cited IT as being too male dominated to consider as a career – this one is sadly true.
The gender gap is still far too wide – women make up only 17.5% of the UK’s ICT professionals
I am proud to be a woman in technology. Having been previously named Security Champion of the Year at the Women in IT Awards, I am now a judge and would love to encourage more young women to pursue a career in IT

If anything, I believe IT has less of a glass ceiling than other careers. If you have an aptitude for it, working in an IT role gives you great career progression opportunities – our own head of business systems, Barbara Bellis, comes from a developer background.

More needs to be done to challenge young women’s negative perceptions of IT careers. We need to dispel the idea that IT is boring, technical, hard or lonely, if we’re ever to change the reality that is the gender gap.

Bridging the gender gap could have huge economic benefits too. If we were to bring as many women into the IT industry as men, it could benefit the economy by £2.6bn
Better IT education, in-school career advisors and afterschool clubs could help us improve this, but I would also encourage my fellow women in IT to stand up, be role models, and help us change the status quo once and for all.

Source: InformationAge

Researchers crack facial security systems using 3D faces

Touted as a promising new solution to bolster digital security, biometric technology is rapidly growing and evolving as a reliable means of authentication that is already being widely used across various sectors. However, researchers have found that the technology may not be quite as secure as it seems.

At the Usenix security conference earlier this month, researchers from the University of North Carolina demonstrated a systemthat uses digital 3D facial models, based on photos taken from social networks such as Facebook, shown on a smartphone’s screen to successfully beat facial recognition software.
Collecting publicly available photos of 20 volunteer subjects from image engine searches and social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, much like any online stalker would do, the researchers said they could find between three to 27 photos of each volunteer online. Although most of the participants were security researchers keen on protecting their privacy online, the researchers said they were able to dig up at least three photos for each subject.

“We could leverage online pictures of the [participants], which I think is kind of terrifying,” study author True Price told Wired.“You can’t always control your online presence or your online image.”
The UNC researchers created 3D models of the subjects’ faces, added facial animations and adjusted the eyes to look directly at the camera. If the photo didn’t show the subject’s whole face, they improvised by recreating the missing parts and adding in textures and shadows.

They then tested the virtual reality face models on five authentication systems that are readily available via consumer software vendors such as the iTunes Store and Google Play Store, including Mobius, KeyLemon, TrueKey, BioID and 1D. Researchers found that they could trick four out of five of these systems used to lock smartphones and safeguard sensitive data with success rates between 55% and 85%.

After taking indoor headshots of each subject and rendering them for virtual reality to test them against the five systems, the researchers found they were able to dupe all five systems in every case tested.

“Our work outlines several important lessons for both the present and the future state of security, particularly as it relates to face recognition systems,” the researchers noted in an accompanying paper titled, ‘Virtual U: Defeating face liveness detection by building virtual models from your public photos.’

“First, our exploitation of social media photos to perform facial reconstruction underscores the notion that online privacy of one’s appearance is tantamount to online privacy of other personal information, such as age and location.

“The ability of an adversary to recover an individual’s facial characteristics through online photos is an immediate and very serious threat, albeit one that clearly cannot be completely neutralised in the age of social media. Therefore, it is prudent that face recognition tools become increasingly robust against such threats in order to remain a viable security option in the future.”

The researchers note that it is crucial for facial authentication systems to be able to reject synthetic faces with low-resolution textures, given the fast-paced developments being made in virtual reality and computer vision technologies that are quickly becoming more “commonplace, cheap and easy-to-use.” They recommend that several additional features be added to bolster these systems’ security including light projection patterns, detection of minor skin tone fluctuations related to pulse and the use of illuminated infrared sensors.

“VR visualisations are increasingly convincing, making it easier and easier to create realistic 3D environments that can be used to fool visual security systems,” the study notes. “As such, it is our belief that authentication mechanisms of the future must aggressively anticipate and adapt to the rapid developments in the virtual and online realms.”

Many institutions across the globe have taken to incorporate new biometric security solutions for authentication, including HSBC, Barclays and Citi that allow users to rely on unique data to confirm one’s identity that is much more difficult for hackers and digital identity thieves to fake.
A recent Visa study surveying consumers across seven European countries, including the UK, found that more than 68% of customers are keen on using biometric technology for payments.

Source: International Business Time

3rd Annual Women in Cyber Security event | 27 Sep, Baltimore

The CyberWire is pleased to present the 3rd Annual Women in Cyber Security Reception in cooperation with our partner the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland (CAMI) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, in Baltimore, MD.

This annual networking event highlights and celebrates the value and successes of women in the cyber security industry. Leaders from the private sector, academia, and government from across the region and at varying points on the career spectrum can connect with each other to strengthen relationships and build new ones. The Reception also provides a forum for women seeking cyber security careers to connect with the technical and business professionals who are shaping the future of the industry.

Learn more, request an invitation, and explore sponsorship opportunities HERE.


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WiCS team