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Some of our favorite interviews of 2020

Stories about data breaches can be unnerving. Want something a little bit more wholesome? Just sit back and enjoy some of our best interviews from last year.

2020 has been a year of disturbing news. CyberNews added to that pile with constant alerts about data breaches. Even though we did that to help you learn how to protect yourself, we understand that constant alerts about data leaks can be stressful.

Being bombarded with news from the COVID-19 vaccine to zombie minks, you might have missed some of the gems we had in 2020.

So, sit back and enjoy some wholesome reading. As the CyberNews team is growing, we’ll definitely have more gems for you in 2021.

Katie Shuck: there’s a lack of support for girls to enter cybersecurity

A headshot of a woman
Katie Shuck: there’s a lack of support for girls to enter cybersecurity

Katie Shuck was a language teacher when she decided to change careers and dive into cybersecurity. She wasn’t good at maths, but even a degree in arts or music shouldn’t stop anyone from entering the field, she told CyberNews.

“Whether you have an arts background, sports, maths, or science, the only thing you need is to be curious enough to ask the questions,” Katie Shuck told CyberNews.

How fictional is the Black Mirror dystopia?

How fictional is the Black Mirror dystopia? Credits: screenshot of Black Mirror from YouTube

“If technology is a drug – and it does feel like a drug – then what, precisely, are the side effects?” the creator of British dystopian TV Series Black Mirror Charlie Brooker once asked. Technology lawyer and scholar Paulius Astromskis goes further by asking if those side effects can be tolerated, and how to regulate technology without suppressing its progress.

Black Mirror is a dystopian science fiction TV series about our dependence on social media and technology. Is it really fiction, though, CyberNews asked technology lawyer and scholar Paulius Astromskis.

Cyberspace utopia is here: a fashion show in your living room

3D fashion show
Cyberspace utopia is here: a fashion show in your living room. Photo: DigitalVillage.io

Just imagine that you are sitting in your living room while holograms of models are walking the catwalk in front of you, and Alexander McQueen’s memorable garments are virtually sweeping your floor. Because of technology, fashion shows don’t have to be old school and boring anymore, Evelyn Mora, the founder of Digital Village, told CyberNews.

Evelyn Mora is building something that might look like a social network for designers and fashion lovers, where you can not only chat with other users but also buy digital clothes, garments, or filters. Due to the pandemic, Evelyn Mora, who is also the founder and the creative director of the Helsinki fashion week, decided to go entirely digital with the show this year.

Niamh Shaw: theatre makes science more accessible to people

Niamh Shaw
Niamh Shaw. Photo: https://niamhshaw.ie

What do you do with impossible dreams? Engineer and performer Niamh Shaw is confronting hers, and preparing for her journey to space. “Timeline-wise, I can’t tell you, but I have a lot of work to do before I go,” she told CyberNews.

Irish engineer, scientist, writer, and performer Niamh Shaw is on a mission to travel to space. She believes that it’s easier to get people interested in science and space through a personal story. Therefore, Niamh willingly shares her experiences of being a vulnerable human while on various space simulations.

Communicating science and space through theatre and performances also help fight misconceptions that a person can only be good at either science or arts.

“Don’t box me in. I’m neither a box of logic nor a box of creativity. I’m both, and we are all everything at the same time, but we let our thinking in our formative years tell us who we are, and we take ownership of that,” Niamh told CyberNews.

Former NSA official: We’re pretty lucky we haven’t seen more horrible things

Former NSA official Marianne Bailey: We’re pretty lucky we haven’t seen more horrible things

“If you would ask me if I am confident with all the apps, and all the tools we have, I would say absolutely not, it’s not protected adequately,” Marianne Bailey, head of cybersecurity practice at global management consulting firm Guidehouse, told CyberNews.

“I worry about this all the time. The average citizen is not a cyber person,” said Marianne Bailey, a former official at the National Security Agency (NSA) and three-decade government service veteran.

When she was still working at the NSA, she used to wonder why we didn’t see more horrible things happening.

“I used to think that there was this line in the sand where even nation-states knew – if they cross that line, that would be considered an act of war to a nation, and loss of life is part of that. If there’s a loss of life, you are going to expect massive retaliation, and so I think a lot of times they dance right below that,” she told CyberNews.

We interviewed her about the current state of cybersecurity and looked together for a silver lining amid the global rise in cybercrime.

Hacker Katie Moussouris: frankly, today’s toys are not very secure

Hacker Katie Moussouris: frankly, today’s toys are not very secure

Technology is changing much faster than our ability to secure it,” Katie Moussouris, a hacker and a pioneer in vulnerability disclosure, told CyberNews.

“The rule that we have with our customers is no bug bounty botox. We don’t want people doing bug bounty programs if they are not ready,” Katie Moussouris, American computer security researcher, entrepreneur, a pioneer in vulnerability disclosure, and the founder of Luta Security told CyberNews.

Katie has been programming computers since she was 8, she helped Microsoft develop its bug bounty program, and worked with the US Department of Defense on the government’s first bug bounty program ‘Hack the Pentagon’.

Katie is also fighting the misconception that ‘hacker’ means ‘criminal’.

“We, hackers, really love showing off our tricks to other people. So it’s hard to be a criminal if you actually want to tell other people how you did it,” she told CyberNews.

She helps people break into cybersecurity: an interview with ‘super-recruiter’ Renee Small

Renee Brown Small
Renee Brown Small. Personal archive

The cybersecurity skills shortage is growing exponentially, and companies need another 3+ million trained workers to fill the gaps. Renee Brown Small, who has been recruiting technology professionals since 2001, comes to the rescue.

During the interview, I called Renee Small, the founder and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, a ‘fixer’, and she liked it. Companies hire her so that she would bring cybersecurity talent to them.

“These are the rock stars of security, and so you have to hire them like rock stars,” Renee once said.

Vandana Verma: why do we need psychologists in infosecurity?

Vandana Verma, an IBM security architect, believes in diversity in the infosecurity field. By diversity, she means including not only more women but also people of different races, ages, or educational backgrounds, as well as people with disabilities.

“Growing up, I didn’t know that cybersecurity was a career,” Vandana Verma once said. Now, she is an IBM security engineer, founder of InfosecGirls, the only woman on The OWASP Foundation Global Board, and a keynote speaker at various conferences.

“Diversity means people who are unique, who are different. So this means not only women. It can be minorities, people with disabilities, people from different backgrounds, people from different cultures,” Vandana Verma told CyberNews.

Glacier Kwong from Hong Kong: speaking up when you’re being monitored takes a lot of creativity

A girl with a facemask speaking into a microphone
Glacier Kwong from Hong Kong: speaking up when you’re being monitored takes a lot of creativity

Hong Kong is nothing more than a Chinese city now, says Glacier Kwong from Keyboard Frontline. She welcomes Google’s decision to reject direct data requests from the Hong Kong government as Beijing is trying to control the public discourse in the city.

“Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past” has become a living nightmare for Hongkongers, believes Glacier Kwong. While studying in Germany, she is a spokesperson for Keyboard Frontline, a group that campaigns for an open internet environment in Kong Kong.

In an interview with CyberNews, Glacier Kwong expressed her view that people haven’t stopped speaking up out of fear of surveillance. They just became more cautious and are using more secure ways to communicate.

Security evangelist: you probably spend more money on coffee than data protection

Security evangelist Ondrej Kubovič
Security evangelist Ondrej Kubovič

Ondrej Kubovič has been working as a cybersecurity awareness specialist for 5 years. His career path did not lead him straight to the IT sector, however. For many years, Ondrej used to work as a journalist. And money was not the reason he left journalism.

Ondrej Kubovič believes that there is no doubt that the salary in IT is higher while journalists are being underpaid. But money was not the decisive reason for him to dive into cybersecurity. 

“If you don’t like sick people, you can’t become a doctor. If you don’t like programming, technology, then don’t go into IT, it is not going to work,” told Ondrej. He has been working for ESET as a cybersecurity awareness specialist for 5 years. During an interview with CyberNews, he not only explained his career choices, but also reflected on the cybersecurity situation as a whole and gave some advice on how to protect ourselves online.

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