Women in Cyber: Speaking the secret language of cyber
While we associate cybersecurity with computers, it is the human members of the team that make the difference. The unique skills they bring to the table are what sets them apart.
Jeannette Dickens-Hale, Senior All Source Threat Intelligence Analyst, Threat Communications & Alliances, Global Threat Intelligence Center at NTT shares how her skill with foreign languages has helped her become a cyberintelligence expert. She discussses her contributions to the Global Threat Intelligence Report and how she would like her cybersecurity department to become more sustainable and charitable.
Tell us more about your role. How do you protect the digital realm and improve citizens’ lives?
I am a Senior All Source Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Threat Communications & Alliances Team in the Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC) at NTT Ltd. As a member of The Threat Communications & Alliances Team, I research, analyse and write intelligence reports on current, emerging, and critical threats targeting NTT clients.
Surveying the threat landscape in the digital realm, identifying cyber campaigns, and providing analyses and recommendations to mitigate threats allows clients to defend against threat actors whether the threat is ransomware, an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), a nation-state sponsored group, or a hacktivist.
Providing the knowledge and tools to combat cyber intrusion, data exfiltration and data exploitation improves citizens’ lives by giving them the tools to protect themselves against identity theft, intellectual property theft, and other more nefarious forms of cyber danger.
What sparked your interest in cybersecurity?
My training is in traditional intelligence analysis, with a background in foreign language acquisition, translation, and interpretation in French, Spanish and English. I became interested in cybersecurity when I realised that I could combine all three areas – traditional intelligence methods, foreign language, and cyber security – to create a hybrid intelligence product based on research and analysis in various languages and regions.
I find it intriguing to view intelligence from a broader perspective when identifying threats and analysing the threat landscape to produce myriad threat reports for multiple clients and industries, globally.
What has been the most impactful project of your career?
Contributing to the annual Global Threat Intelligence Report has been the most impactful project of my cybersecurity career. Each year, we collect, analyse, and report findings on global cybersecurity threats and trends, highlighting the top five targeted industries and the top threats for the year.
Writing for this project has allowed me to deep dive into cyber threats, to continually learn about cyber threat actors and their campaigns, to increase my knowledge on various forms of malware, and to augment my overall cyber knowledge, including global Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) policies.
What challenges would you like to take on in the next year?
There are two challenges that I would like to take on in the next year. I would like to partner with other departments within NTT to support charitable organisations, and I would like to partner with NTT’s sustainability department to create and launch projects using cybersecurity as part of a secure network to maintain the projects’ operability.
Who or what inspired you this year, and why?
The person who inspired me this year is my daughter. During a global pandemic, she launched a company, created opportunities for employment in the technical field. She trained, competed for, and won a state level competition, and is now preparing to compete at the national level.
Throughout the past year while navigating COVID -19 restrictions, she remained focused on her goals, achieved them, and is now preparing to travel and compete in a different country. This dedication and focus are a reminder that one must be undeterred when striving to achieve one’s goals, no matter what obstacles might be in one’s way.
What inspired me this year was volunteering at Racing For Kids, a charity event sponsored by NTT IndyCar Series. This charity raises funds to support treatment for children with cancer. It was inspiring hearing the stories of the children honored at the event. It was even more inspiring to participate in the event, knowing that NTT’s corporate responsibility extended into the charitable realm.
What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in cybersecurity?
I would advise women seeking a career in cybersecurity to do three things:
- Do not be afraid to enter the cybersecurity field. Research your area of interest and determine what skills you need to get the job you want.
- Value your current professional experience and seek training, certification in the cyber areas that interest you.
- Take action. Get the training, connect with people in the cybersecurity field, apply for the jobs. You can achieve your goal. Be undeterred.
If you could sum up your life motto in one sentence, what would it be?
My one sentence life motto would be: Always believe in yourself and never be afraid to go after your dreams.