Girl Power

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Name: Noy Hassid
Age: 24
Job:  White Hat Hacker
Girl Power

What is a White Hat Hacker?
A white hat hacker usually exploits networks or systems with the goal of detecting weak points in the security of an organization and strengthening its security. White hat hackers are considered the “good guys”, whereas black hat hackers are considered the “bad guys”, who break into systems with a malicious goal. In our work, we use various technological skills and social engineering to access the enterprises’ network, aiming to enter the highest privileged account and gain access to sensitive data, critical systems and more.

How did you reach this point in your career?
In Israel, my country, service in the Israeli Defense Army (IDF) is mandatory for everyone, and I got the chance to serve in a Cyber-security related role. Beforehand, I had no background in cybersecurity.

What exciting projects have you handled?
My job is really creative and challenging. In one of our projects, in order to test and strengthen vulnerabilities in the security of one of our larger clients, my team set up a nonexistent association. We targeted a team member in the client’s organization and created a special bond with her. After weeks of communications, during which we almost became friends, we asked her to set up a tour for a group of our association members. Amazingly, although this was a highly classified organization. she immediately agreed.

What do you like about your job?
The thrill! The hacking process has a lot of ups and downs. You can scan and search for weeks on end, with no clue, and suddenly, one day you might reach a major breakthrough, and gain full control over the entire organization in a few hours. This generally happens during the night, which makes it even more exciting.

How does it feel to work in an industry that’s dominated by men?
Being a woman in this kind of industry has pros and cons. As a woman, you definitely stand out, and your achievements don’t just fade into the crowd, which can be a good thing. On the other hand, you might not resemble the picture some people have of a hacker, so at first, they could be skeptical of you professionally, which can be uncomfortable, and then it’s up to you to be assertive and give your best performance.

Do you know any other female hackers?
Actually, I have lots of female friends who served with me in the IDF, and today all of them are working in the cyber security industry, as hackers and analysts. It’s true that the industry is male-dominated, but as more and more women join the cybersecurity field, we become a larger community, and this creates role models and inspires young girls to dream of success in Cyber careers.

How do you think women can contribute to the cyber industry?
Women are well suited to Cyber professions, from social engineering to hacking an application or writing exploits. These tasks require a high level of scrutiny and sensitivity, focus, emotional intelligence and a drive for excellence, and many women have these capabilities. I also believe women contribute a healthy, balanced atmosphere to the dynamics of a Cyber team.

What can Cyber companies do to increase the number of women in the industry?
First, it’s important to acknowledge the gender gaps we still have in this industry and make a decision to try to resolve them. Company management needs to be sensitive and understand the insecurities a woman might have in an environment filled with dominant men, and with no female colleagues to identify with, or female managers to look up to. A woman can sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land in Cyber. Women can contribute a lot to this environment, but to make this happen, it’s up to managers and business owners to encourage them to feel comfortable.

Would you recommend a Cyber career to a teenager?
Definitely. The cybersecurity field is a very dynamic industry. As time goes by, corporate networks become better and better secured, and previous techniques and tools that used to be effective quickly become useless. This makes the job a constant challenge, and very exciting. You learn something new every day and are forced to constantly improve your capacities.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
love what I do, so I hope to rise to even more exciting heights in the Cyber industry.