Cyber espionage—"cyber-spying”—sounds like something out of a movie.
But it’s a very real, growing threat in today’s digital world, and it’s my job to help the world’s leading companies defend themselves against it.
As part of the Cyber Espionage team, I am a malware analyst or reverse engineer for iDefense, a threat intelligence provider under Accenture Security.
The Cyber Espionage team specializes in advanced threats, namely the advanced, persistent threat of nation-state-sponsored malicious cyber-activities. My team creates alerts, events and other written articles or indicator pieces for our clients to use to protect themselves.
My path to cybersecurity
I studied computer science in college but was initially not sure of my intended career path. I attended James Madison University, one of the original seven National Security Agency (NSA)-designated centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. I took advantage of a program they offered, where your electives were information security-based and you received an NSA certificate at the end.
I chose this path during the completion of my bachelor’s and was hooked. I went on to get my Master of Science in Information Security from James Madison, before ultimately joining Accenture as a reverse engineer for the Cyber Espionage team.
Accenture iDefense work allows for clients to protect themselves through threat intelligence including indicators of compromise, trends by attacker groups and things like vulnerability data. This allows the analyst checking alerts as well as upper-level management to provide our clients with the right resources and prioritization based off the threat they are seeing.
One of my favorite projects is an intelligence opportunity where we put together a timeline and mapping of one of our threat groups and their current operations and malware. This project was fun because it involved the use of several of our resources and things working together.
We released intelligence that other groups had not put out that assisted in setting Accenture Security apart. We also presented this information at two conferences, Anomali Detect and the annual Accenture iDefense Trusted Partner Summit, and it was discussed in an iDefense Cyber Threat Intelligence Blog posting.
Diversity in security
This is a field where people of many walks of life converge.
I’ve worked with coworkers who obtained degrees in completely different fields, as well as members of our military, who all ended up doing amazing jobs in cybersecurity. I’ve also worked with others who followed a similar path as mine, working with computers and cybersecurity from college to professional career.
One of the things I love about Accenture is the value placed on diversity. As a female in a male-dominated field, this is important to me.
I believe in achieving diversity where possible, without compromising quality. I believe Accenture’s promotion of diversity assists with empowering the right women for the job to become part of the team. Accenture’s sponsoring of women in information security is very evident and allows for women in the field, or any field, to feel included and represented.
Multitude of job functions
Be prepared to never stop learning if you’re pursuing a career in the cybersecurity space. This field is ever-evolving and as soon as you learn something, something new comes along. It is what makes this field sometimes exhausting—but amazing.
If you have passion for this field, you’ll go far. If you love what you do and it excites you, the rest comes with time. One of the best things about this field, beyond its growth, is the multitude of job functions available.
Try new things and then once you find your niche, go as far as you can with it. I started in information assurance and it wasn’t for me; however, it got me to where I am. Once I found malware analysis, I latched onto it, as I enjoyed it so much.
Do work that’s transforming the way the world works and lives. Find your fit with Accenture.
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