The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has enlisted its first female hacker to play a key role in the growing battle against cyber crime.
It has appointed 20-year-old student Lisa Fiander to join fellow computer experts in providing crucial services to protect companies – including vulnerable small firms in particular – from e-criminals and scammers.
Fiander is the first female to join the SBRC’s growing team of ethical hackers in what is traditionally a male-dominated discipline and says she hopes to see a transformation in the gender balance of computing and technological industries.
Her post is part of an annual initiative in which students from the University of Abertay’s Ethical Hacking course join the SBRC, which works to create a secure Scotland for businesses to flourish, to clock up some paid practical experience within a business environment.
Fiander, who is in her third year of studies, said: “I am hugely excited to become part of the SBRC’s Ethical Hacking programme which is clearly growing in importance and influence year on year.
“Although my course has been practical, to be put in the situation of advising businesses will offer invaluable experience, as it is so important to be at ease communicating computing matters to non-IT people.
“I am also especially proud to be the first female hacker to join the SBRC. With just three fellow female students on my course, I’ve always had that extra motivation to succeed – there truly is no reason for the huge under-representation of women in this industry and it is something I’m certain can and will change.”
Fiander has drawn comparisons to Lisbeth Salander, of Stieg Larsson’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, both in name and technical ability; however is yet to read the bestselling book or watch the film adaptations.
She added: “As for the comparisons to Lisbeth Salander, it is purely by chance, although perhaps it is now time to see what all the fuss is about!”
The SBRC is the Scottish Government and Police Scotland’s business resilience delivery arm, and is tasked with delivering the cyber resilience strategy to help equip SMEs with the tools and knowledge to combat e-crime.
Director Mandy Haeburn-Little said: “Lisa is a star, personable and clearly intelligent – and I’m certain she will be a real asset in the fight against cyber crime, bringing new skills and talents to a wide team of graduated experts.
“It’s so important that we have diversity and individuals from a variety of backgrounds in computing industries. This is especially the case in ethical hacking, where a range of creative thinking is often required to counteract devious criminals.
“We have been working with ethical hacking students for some time now – it is another example of trying to find low cost, yet excellent quality solutions for small to medium sized businesses to keep them safe online.
“We are also working with other Scottish Universities and look forward to continually developing new services for business.
“I’d urge businesses to speak to us about how we can help them. This service could prevent a future data breach capable of putting them out of business or even put their safety of their staff at risk.”
Cyber crime takes many forms, including theft, fraud, selling sensitive company data and sabotaging equipment.
In the past year, notable cyber attacks have included the TalkTalk scandal and the crashing of the BBC website, however smaller firms are at an increased risk due to limited resources and a potential lack of security.
The assessment can vary from a cyber footprint review which assesses what information is available online about a business or an individual and how that can be better managed, to a full online security test which looks to identify the risk of unauthorised intrusion from an external or internal source.
Other cyber assessments can be done to test the robustness of a business’s supply chain, assessing how secure suppliers and sub-contractors are from e-crime.
For more information on the cyber assessment services, click here.