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Last week, I spoke with Candy Alexander. An attack by the famous Kevin Mitnick started her cybersecurity career!

This time, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Wong. She recently started in a cybersecurity role in the UK’s financial services industry.

Kim Crawley: Tell me a bit about what you do.

Kim Wong: I’m a security analyst in the cyber operations team, in the financial sector. I just started this role, and I’m currently four months in.

We’re the defenders of the bank, the first line warriors. We’re the eyes and ears of monitoring, identifying and mitigating any malicious activity on the company’s estate, as well as looking at events in our SIEM that come from various other devices like IDS, email and web monitoring.

I obtained a diploma in computing before gaining a degree in digital forensics. That gave me a taste for security and I’ve been hooked ever since. I wanted to specialize, as I saw security as a niche.

My first job was as a security engineer, where I got hands-on with firewalls. I tried out different roles like pre-sales before trying my hand in analytics. I’ve been in the industry for about five years. Still a baby!

KC: What motivated you to choose computing when you started your studies?

KW: I guess it was my interest in taking things apart and finding out what they do, together with my interest in technology and video games.

My interest in computing started at a very young age when I built my first PC. My family, as always, asking me to help them – though I don’t understand why they think if you studied computing, you should end up as their technical support for life. Ha ha!

KC: Yeah, that’s a common problem. I’m called for tech support in my personal life, too, and I’m just a tech journalist now. Although I did work in helpdesk a decade ago.

Are there a lot of cybersecurity compliance standards in Britain’s financial sector?

KW: From the top of my head, although I don’t work in the compliance area, we have ISO27001, ITIL, COBIT, EU Data Protection Act, PCI DSS, and Basel Accords.

Various areas are policed by different bodies, such as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), which is the conduct regulator for 56,000 financial services firms and financial markets in the UK. There’s also the Information Commissioner’s Office and others.

KC: I know you haven’t been at your job for long, but what are some misconceptions people have about it?

KW: People think the security world is male-dominated, and being the only female, there’s this misconception you don’t know anything, which is BS. I believe with hard work, perseverance, and a sprinkle of patience, you can get to where you want to go. I was lucky to have good mentors at university, and I also look up to my colleagues in my role now. Every day is a school day. It’s like a fountain of knowledge!

KC: How do you think cybersecurity could attract more diversity?

KW: I think it starts with schools. Maybe they can have talks from people in the industry, workshops, and so on. When I was at school, we had zero stuff on cybersecurity. Google was my friend.

KC: What do you think the biggest problem in information security is now?

KW: I think it’s keeping on top of the types of the attacks out there and ways to prevent them. It’s ever-changing and evolving. Attackers are getting more sophisticated in their methods. You can’t 100% rely on technology. It can only get you so far. The users are the first line of defence. It makes me cringe that users still want to click on malicious links in an email they don’t know, but I guess we humans are hard-wired for curiosity.

KC: Is there anything you’d like to add before we go?

KW: Are there any people in the industry who train in parkour? It’s one of my passions, and I’d be interested if there are any security peeps out there who do. Maybe I will see you on a wall sometime.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.