Women and Cybersecurity in 2022

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women - Faith Kajotoni
Faith Medu

Digital assets hacking is becoming alarming and damaging, a menace that has been predicted to be on the increase in 2022. Global companies, small businesses, and individuals are all daily targets. Women are more susceptible to identity theft than men, often involving the fraudulent use of bank accounts, ATMs, or POS transactions. A study released in 2009 by the fraud-tracking firm Javelin Research showed that “women are 26% more likely than men to be the victims of identity theft. While 3.8% of men had their banking details stolen and used for fraud in the last year, 4.8% of women were victimized. And women took far longer on average to discover their financial identities had been compromised, leading to far greater risk of repeat fraud: Women took 83 days to detect they’d been targeted, compared with 45 days for men”. Women and girls are also more likely than men to experience online sexual abuse through illegal publication of sex tapes, extortions and blackmail.

Women are underrepresented as statistics of women’s involvement in cyber security is as little as 14 percent of the cyber security workforce. This shows that women’s interest in security matters is low compared to their male counterparts. This has placed women at a disadvantaged position, that is, less informed and of course less equipped. Attackers have leveraged on this, making women prime targets for exploitation. The effects are usually devastating and have resulted to the loss of lives of many victims. It is only with strength and courage that some women survive in cybersecurity workforce and others in their personal digital security. It is time we change this narrative by repositioning women with cybersecurity awareness training as well as carving a place for women in cyber security.

No system is perfect. Be it a backdoor, loophole or design flaw. There is always something that would leave a system vulnerable to attacks. It is the responsibility of everyone to get involved. The effort of the men in cybersecurity is of little benefit if women are underrepresented and are daily targets. To change this narrative, therefore, is to be open to learning and developing interest in areas that concern cybersecurity. Women’s involvement will therefore bridge a lot of knowledge gaps as well as be of huge economic importance.

The future of cybersecurity depends on the ability of women to have the necessary toolkits to protect themselves online and pass on the knowledge to the next generation. Since everyone is a target, women should also be active players in the information security world. Groups notorious for cyber fraud, with footprints in various countries of the world target women for lack of active participation in their personal and business security. A society determine to surmount its overwhelming ethical challenges must focus on equipping women with the knowledge to help combat them. Focus should be placed on those that want to take up careers in cybersecurity and other information technology domains. Cybersecurity is for everyone, it affects us all.

I will like to add that the greatest asset an attacker has is people’s ignorance, seeking cyber awareness from the right source, aspiring and pursuing a career in cybersecurity for women should be encouraged by the public and private sectors. Ensure you report any case that encroaches on your privacy to the authorities. Have countermeasures in place to protect your personal information and also implement full security measures available on all your social media and accounts. The growing participation of women in cybersecurity is good for women, good for men, good for business, and good for our common goal.

About the Author

Faith Medu is a Business Consultant, an avid learner and a writer. She is helping Presence Secure to provide value to our customers. Presence Secure is a cybersecurity company that is helping businesses and individuals secure their digital presence. Connect with Faith via LinkedIn 

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