Looking across the global cybersecurity industry, we identified 15 dynamic women who heed the call to combat breaches, economic and corporate crime, digital identity theft, and terrorism, and are paving the way for a safer future. Here are the standout women in cybersecurity, in alphabetical order:
As Deputy CSO at Mastercard, Abdullah leads the Emerging Corporate Security Solutions team. Her work helps shape the future of the company’s security policies and her team is responsible for protecting Mastercard’s information assets. Abdullah is also the host of the Mastering Cyber podcast. Prior to her role at Mastercard, Abdullah was the CISO of Xerox where she researched and reported on security practices, controls, and risks in order to comply with regulatory requirements. She also spent three years as deputy Chief Information Officer of the White House. Abdullah helped to modernize the Executive Office of President Barack Obama’s IT systems with cloud services and virtualization. She employed new cybersecurity strategies, and enhanced technology across the office of the President while serving as chair on multiple boards. Abdullah is also a board member of Girls in Tech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the gender gap in tech.
Au is CMO of Ordr, which works to secure connected devices, from traditional IT devices to newer and more vulnerable IoT, IoMT, and OT. Prior to Ordr, Au was CMO at Blue Hexagon, a Forbes AI-50 and CNBC Upstart 100 company, focused on malware protection using deep learning. Passionate about technology, specifically AI, cloud and security, Au’s writing about these topics is frequently featured in SecurityWeek, Dark Reading and RSA columns. She is also the co-founder of a high-speed networking chipset startup, co-author of an IP communications book and holder of two US patents. A recognized leader in the cybersecurity industry, the Software Report named her one of the “Top 25 Women in Cybersecurity 2021” and she was featured on a “Rise Above the Noise” panel at RSA 2020 on the topic of “How-To for Innovators and Entrepreneurs.”
Founder and CEO of Global Privacy & Security by Design, Cavoukian is recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy experts. Her organization helps businesses integrate privacy-enhancing tools into technology from the design and production stage, in order to develop leading-edge systems that protect both privacy and security and facilitate innovation and prosperity. Cavoukian served an unprecedented three terms as the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada. There she created Privacy by Design, a framework that seeks to proactively embed privacy into the design specifications of information technologies, networked infrastructure and business practices, thereby achieving the strongest protection possible. In 2010, International Privacy Regulators unanimously passed a Resolution recognizing Privacy by Design (PbD) as an international standard. Since then, PbD has been translated into 40 languages. Cavoukian has received numerous awards recognizing her leadership in privacy, with accolades including: “Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada,” “Top 10 Women in Data Security and Privacy,” “Power 50 by Canadian Business,” and “Top 100 Leaders in Identity.” Cavoukian was recently awarded the “Meritorious Service Medal” by the Governor General of Canada for her outstanding work on creating Privacy by Design and taking it global.
Chelly, S-CISO, CISSP, Cert SCI (General Insurance), is Co-Founder and Director of Responsible Cyber Pte.Ltd, a Singapore-based start-up with NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore, and Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of the Singtel Group, as its shareholders. A computer security consultant, researcher, public speaker, and cybersecurity entertainer, Chelly is also affiliated with Telecom SudParis, where she obtained a PhD in Telecommunication Engineering in 2011. She is a strong activist for women in cybersecurity. In 2016, she founded a nonprofit group called Women on Cyber, previously called WoSEC Singapore. This group is supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives in the cybersecurity industry. Her research topics have been focusing on cybersecurity, the future of localisation and positioning, education and more. Her work has been featured by IEEE, RSA Conference, Cybersec, World Congress on Internet Security (WorldCIS-2016), and Cyber Risk Leaders magazine.
Chen is CEO and Co-Founder of Trend Micro. Since its inception in 1988, Chen has spearheaded Trend Micro’s emergence as one of the world’s most innovative Internet content security companies. Under her direction, Trend Micro has produced many industry firsts, from unique products to security management approaches. She has been named one of the top Forbes Asia’s “50 Power Businesswomen,” one of the top five “Women of Vision” by Information Security, one of CRN’s “Top 100 Executives,” and one of Cyber Defense Magazine’s “Top 100 Women in Cybersecurity.”
Founder and CEO of Towerwall, Drolet is a highly experienced information security expert. She has leveraged over two decades of industry knowledge to transform Towerwall into a leading cybersecurity service and solution provider. A sought-after speaker and analyst, she is a regular contributor to leading online publications such as Forbes Technology Council, Wired.com and CSO Online. Recently, Drolet was named to the “Top 25 Women in Cybersecurity,” in 2021 by The Software Report, one the “Top CEO’s to Watch” in 2020 by CIO Views, and one of the “10 Most Powerful Women in the Channel” by VARBusiness Magazine.
Ehrensvard is CEO and Co-Founder of Yubico, a leader in setting global standards for secure access to computers, mobile devices, servers, browsers, and internet accounts. She is the co-inventor of the YubiKey strong authentication key, and a leading driver behind FIDO/WebAuthn open authentication standards. Ehrensvard is an accomplished speaker on internet identity, security, and entrepreneurship, having addressed audiences at the Oslo Freedom Forum, CES, RSA, SXSW, Wired Security, and Stanford University, among others. She has been awarded many international accolades during her career, including named as the “Most Powerful Swedish Woman Entrepreneur” by the Swedish Business Press, the SC Media “Reboot Leadership Award,” “Woman Executive of The Year” by the Woman World Awards, and the “EY Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Jackson Higgins is Editor-in-Chief at Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise Magazine, Virginia Business magazine, and other major media properties. Jackson Higgins was selected three consecutive times as one of the “Top 10 Cybersecurity Journalists in the U.S., ” and named one of Folio’s “2019 Top Women in Media.” She began her career as a sports writer in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Johnson is Corporate Vice President of Security, Compliance & Identity at Microsoft. She oversees the team responsible for helping organizations become operationally resilient on their digital transformation journey, while unlocking the security, compliance and identity capabilities of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and next generation AI. Johnson is a member of the board of advisors for FS-ISAC (Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center), an Advisory Board Member for EWF (Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy), and an Advisory Board Member for HYPR Corp. She recently joined the board of advisors for Cybersecurity Ventures.
Moskites is the CEO and Founder, CISO of CyAlliance®. She has over 30 years of experience envisioning and leading IT Security and Technology organizations. Moskites has traveled the globe working with CISO’s/CIO’s and government entities on strategy and foundational security. She is a member of the ISACA Cyber Security taskforce, a member of the ISSA and a Distinguished Fellow with the Ponemon Institute. Her security and leadership expertise has been featured in media publications around the world, including Forbes “Meet the Woman Powering the Fight Against Cybercrime” and the cover of CSO Magazine. Moskites was named one of the “Top IFSEC Global CyberSecurity Thought Leaders,” and one of the “Top 25 Breakaway Leaders,” by Evanta Global.
Payton is one of the nation’s leading experts in cybersecurity and IT strategy. As CEO of Fortalice Solutions, an industry-leading security consulting company, and Co-Founder of Dark Cubed, a cybersecurity product company, Payton is a proven leader and influencer who uncovers strategic opportunities and identifies new and emerging threats. She began her career in financial services, where she coupled her deep understanding of technology systems with visionary leadership, executing complex IT strategies and winning new business. Following executive roles at Bank of America and Wachovia, Payton served as the first female Chief Information Officer at the White House, overseeing IT operations for President George W. Bush and his staff. In 2015 Theresa was named a William J. Clinton distinguished lecturer by the Clinton School of Public Service. She is the author of several publications on IT strategy and cybersecurity and a frequent speaker on IT risk. In 2014, she co-authored, with Ted Claypoole, “Privacy in the Age of Big Data: Recognizing Threats, Defending Your Rights, and Protecting Your Family,” which was subsequently featured on the “Daily Show” with John Stewart. Among her numerous accolades and recognitions, she was named one of the top “25 Most Influential People in Security” by Security Magazine and one of Infosec’s “Rising Stars” and “Hidden Gems” by Tripwire. In 2005 she was honored as Charlotte, NC’s “Woman of the Year.”
Snyder is Founder and CEO of Thistle Technologies, a startup helping IoT manufacturers reliably and securely deliver software updates to their devices. A security industry veteran and former Chief Security Officer at Square, Fastly and Mozilla, she previously spent five years at Apple where she was responsible for security and privacy strategy and features for OS X and iOS. Other roles include Chief Software Security Officer at Intel, CSO at Mozilla and a Founder at Matasano, a security services and product company based in New York City. As a senior security strategist at Microsoft in the Security Engineering and Communications organization, Snyder managed the relationships between security consulting companies and the Microsoft product teams and the outreach strategy for security vendors and security researchers. She was also Director of Security Architecture at @stake and developed application security analysis methodologies and led the Application Security Center of Excellence. Synder is co-author of “Threat Modeling,” a manual for security architecture analysis in software.
Stewart is Global Head, Product Security Strategy at Google. She is an attorney and executive whose crosscutting perspective on complex technology, cyber, national security, and foreign policy issues has landed her in significant roles at leading government entities and private sector companies like the Department of Homeland Security, Deloitte, and Google. Her work extends beyond the corporate environment to leading change for the public good through a series of initiatives she has championed, including #ShareTheMicInCyber, co-founding the #NextGenNatSec, and co-founding the Silicon Valley chapter of “Women in Cybersecurity.” Stewart is on the Board of Directors for GirlSecurity and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and on the Advisory Board for Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, & Conflict Transformation (WCAPS). She is the winner of several accolades, including the “2019 Cyber Security Women of the Year” in the “Barrier Breaker” category, the “2018 New America Black American National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader,” the “2018 National Urban League Cyber Connoisseur Honoree,” and many others. Stewart is a Cyber Fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center, a New America Cyber Policy Fellow, a Truman National Security Fellow, and a former Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Homeland Security focusing on cyber, infrastructure, and foreign policy.
Xu is CEO of Nopsec, which provides automated cybersecurity attack simulation and risk remediation solutions to help businesses protect their IT environments from security breaches. Over the past two decades, she has advised Fortune500 enterprises on data security, privacy and technology risk management, leveraging technology to solve business problems and regulatory compliance challenges. Xu began her career as a management consultant at Accenture and led many diverse teams at Ally Financial, KPMG and Blue Cross Blue Shield. She is frequently quoted in industry publications such as BankInfoSecurity and ITSP Magazine and was named one of Cyber Defense Magazine’s “Top Women in Security.”
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