I was aware the company had launched an official line of business to advance our commercial cyber capabilities. Taking on a bigger challenge in a new engineering space was an opportunity I had to explore! —Alexandra Guenther
From a very young age I have had an innate curiosity to experience new environments and a relentless determination to overcome the adversity brought on by each adventure. I led numerous cybersecurity engagements and when told I was too young – I worked smarter. I’ve collaborated with customers from across the globe and when told something is not possible – I figured out a way. This journey has afforded me the privilege to work with some of the most brilliant cybersecurity minds, and in turn help the world’s largest organizations understand their unique environment and strengthen their security posture. —Chris Coryea
"I have always had an interest in cybersecurity, and it drew my attention from a young age when I watched TV crime shows. I was particularly drawn to how the characters would solve problems through their computer forensics and hacking skills. However, I thought being a hacker was one of those impossible to achieve careers and just Hollywood magic. It was not until I was studying at university that I realized that penetration testing was the career path I wanted." —Katelyn Dartnell
"Malware comes in all shapes and sizes, being able to pull the malware apart in a collection of different environments to explain the inner workings, allows us to better defend the organization. My defender DNA, keeps me going through the hardest of attacks. I’m not satisfied until the job is done, and we are defended. No matter the time of day – I’m ready to defend!" —Alex Kavanagh
"Too many organizations have taken a siloed technology approach to countering insider threats that is minimally effective. I am driven to improve these approaches, breaking down silos across an organization, and proactively counter insider threats that can have devastating impact on the business." —Ollie Luba
"Security technologies can provide protection only to a certain extent; therefore, it is critical to educate others on the risk the human element poses. I can rest easy knowing I made a direct impact by educating clients – changing a user’s potentially harmful decision. Effective training programs are key to securing data, and it is a privilege to make a difference one employee at a time." —Lynsey Caldwell
"After performing extensive research, I simplify my findings into clear and actionable solutions for the customer to address problems before they arise. Working with the CERT organization for many years refined my ability to identify problems and to use research and analysis which builds trust and provides a clear example of defender DNA to my customers." —Matt Collins
"I always try and have conversations with frontline engineers that have intimate knowledge of their processes and systems. These conversations usually turn into a fun mental exercise of 'If I were the bad guy, I would…'. Once that exercise has started, we are usually quick to come up with ways to mitigate any attack avenues or vulnerabilities, increasing the ability for the site to defend itself from an unknown adversary." —Andrew Tillotson
"When I first started my career in the field, Cybersecurity was a backroom conversation. Now, it is a “Top 5 Business Concern” of Senior Executives and Board Members. Developing a sound security strategy in alignment with business requirements is my passion, and I thrive on sharing that passion with others." — Richard Byrd
"To help identify malicious activity within the abundance of good, great defenders need to identify even the slightest variances and correlate disparate events to a common threat actor. Keen attention to detail will help defenders throughout all aspects of cybersecurity; identifying malicious activity, designing mitigations, identifying capability or visibility gaps, and improving an organizations overall security posture. Like the old saying, 'the devil is in the details,' I believe the dedication each defender has to use the smallest of details is vital to implement the best possible protection against future attacks." —Braden Anderson
"Think like an attacker. Out-of-the-box thinking is what makes attackers good at subverting defenses, and I have adopted that skill to always look at the problem in unconventional and new ways. I constantly challenge the security assumptions by taking an offensive approach to evaluate and demonstrate risk." —Wynard Viljoen
"Ensuring that I’m maximizing our human analyst resources as defenders, by automating work whenever possible to enable the most important activities we can perform as defenders – investigation, research, and intelligence generation and refinement. I am fascinated by the ongoing cycle, cat-and-mouse nature of cyber security. Sophisticated attackers get smarter every day, so it’s absolutely imperative that defenders do as well. It takes human defenders to stay ahead of advanced groups of human attackers." —Josh Sweetwood
"The only way I can prove I am altruistic in my attacks – through demonstrating and explaining how to defend against them in the future and being prepared to go that little bit further to achieve the objective. How many other technologists would rummage inside a dirty bin to get what they need?" —Lee Nichol
"I prove to have defender DNA by demonstrating the 'never-give-up' syndrome. Many times, we as defenders get into situations where it seems like there is no end in sight; whether it’s with analysis you’re performing or a project you’re working on. Being a defender requires you to be a fighter and willing to go the distance to get the job done. If that requires working on a deliverable for a client all night until its right, completed, and delivered – that’s what I do." —Tiffany Campbell
"I love the sense of “mission” that comes with being an active and committed Defender. When I’m engaged in any activity that puts me in a situation to battle an adversary, I want to think both tactically and strategically. This isn’t just a one-time event for me; I make it my mission to ensure that whatever I’m responding to today will not be a problem for me tomorrow." —Joe McMann
"I’m suspicious. When something seems off, I stop for that moment to take a second look and really consider what I’m about to do. If I’m still unsure or uncomfortable, I call on my teammates and ask for help. The “worst” that can happen is that I asked someone to evaluate something that turned out to be harmless."
"Like most martial arts, the focus starts on the fundamentals – like fighting stances and situational awareness. The goal is to turn active thought into muscle memory, so basic protections are applied without thinking.
That’s similar to what we advocate in cybersecurity by practicing good hygiene. Users are instructed to maintain their awareness for suspicious e-mails or inappropriate web links and to show a healthy level of skepticism. Another key lesson is one of accurately assessing threats and responding appropriately. We don’t want to turn an unexpected hug from our grandmother into a trip to the hospital for Nana."
"Thinking like a Defender is what I am training myself and the Product Management team to be. We all have diverse backgrounds that help in building better products. Not everyone has or needs to have been a Defender but for us to create smart Defender-approved products we have to play Defenders on TV. Reading Defender blogs, attending Defender sessions and interacting with this community are things we do to sharpen our Defender knives."
"Whether it was seeking prosecution for those harming others, or neutralizing actors who would damage our national security, I have always felt a sense of commitment to protect the things we value. Today, I apply this commitment and my years of experience safeguarding organizations in both the commercial and federal sectors to help our clients defend themselves and prosper."