Ever accidentally clicked on a phishing scam email and ended up with a computer virus, or been notified by your bank that someone in Utah is using your credit card (when the furthest you’ve traveled that week is downtown Bloomington)? In the wake of health-company information breaches that have led to millions of customers seeing their information compromised, do you wonder if your own medical records are truly private?
These are just a few of the problems endemic in an increasingly interconnected world and are among the many topics researched at Indiana University’s globally known Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research and in the new comprehensive cybersecurity certificate program. While the field of cybersecurity has exploded in recent years to keep pace with a growing tech reliance in nearly all fields, the percentage of women in this profession still hovers low, at about 11 percent, according to a recent study.
In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Office of the Provost asked some of IU’s women in information technology to share their experiences in the field — from the roadblocks and challenges they may have faced to the triumphs and breakthroughs that have kept them passionate about their careers. For years, IU has addressed the gender gap in IT, opening the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology in October 2013 to support IU students — and girls and women of all ages — who are interested in technology. Since its inception, CEWiT has launched an annual conference, hosted lectures and films, inspired student groups and even started a video game design summer camp for girls.
- Sarah Jane Hughes, University Scholar and Fellow in Commercial Law at the Maurer School of Law, writes about her 40-plus years in the field, starting with a position at the Federal Trade Commission and leading up to her work today, some of which focuses on virtual payment and privacy.
- Kim Milford, executive director of Indiana University’s Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC), describes what it was like to be the only woman in the room in a tech field in the mid-90s, and how she carved out a place for herself.
- Susan Sons, senior systems analyst for IU’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, shares her self-taught path to her current position, which included a stint with the U.S. Army., several start-ups and writing two tech books.
Each came to the field in a different way, and each interacts with technology uniquely from one another, but they all share a common trait: as they go about their work every day, each is inspiring a new generation of women in IT.