Black Hat to Host Discussion on Diversity
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User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2017 | 8:27:03 AM
Re: Ridiculous article, ridiculous symposium
I agree with Kelly. The network defender community has known about this for almost a decade.


CSO Magazine said this year that worldwide, there are 1 Million unfilled jobs. When you consider women in the network defender community, we find that they are almost non-existent. Forbes said last year that women make up only 11% of the cybersecurity workforce. If you add a minority to that checklist, say a black or Hispanic woman, that number drops to under 1%.


Clearly, if we are to close the gap, women and minorities have to be a source.


And we just can't tell our HR departments to hire more. Facebook, Google and others have all tried and failed.


Part of problem is that many women and minorities lose interest in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) subjects before they get to college. There are many reasons for this that have been well documented: male dominated culture turns women off, popular culture pushes women into "traditional" women's roles, minorities do not have access to strong STEM education, and others.


Another part of the problem stems from the cybersecurity old guard (Old white guys). We are the ones doing the hiring. We are the ones that tolerate sexism in the workplace when what we should be doing is stamping it out at every opportunity. We are the ones that are not mentoring the few minorities that do work for us and knocking down the obstacles that prevent them from succeeding.


This is the message that the network defender community should be hearing; especially from the old guard. Presenting that information at one of the most well-attended network defender conferences on the planet is a good place to do it.


Very respectfully, 



Rick Howard


Palo Alto Networks

Full Disclosure: I am on Kelly's panel at Blackhat.
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2017 | 3:50:52 PM
You can not force the horse
This is the same problem in Electrical Engineering.  It's not what people want to do.  This has very little to do with minorities, but this has to do with society.  People want to do what is fun.  In Cyber Security everyone wants to do the cool jobs like research, pen testing, but the industry needs practitioners.  It's not fun, IT IS WORK!!!

So we have what people want which is the people who gravitate to Cyber Security are the people who want to do real Cyber Security WORK!!!

What we need is to make Cyber Security a YouTube channel and everyone would want to do it.  Well, until they have to actually be accountable for parsing the 10's of millions of logs, firewall rules, filters, scripts, and reports that they must do to be a real Cyber Security Engineer.  It takes time to learn to be good, which probably means you had to work real hard for a long time to obtain the skills needed to do the job.

Cyber Security, it's a hot high paying job, because no one wants to do it!  Essentially Cyber Security is the new Garbage collector job; they pay high to lure talented people to do a thankless job that is needed by everyone.

Agree or disagree, but this is not a diversity thing.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/18/2017 | 9:15:34 AM
Re: Ridiculous article, ridiculous symposium
I'm not sure what you mean by "ridiculous." It's a problem when an industry has such dire needs for talent and is missing entire sectors of society. 

And regarding your comment about "college majors that cater to identity politics instead of practical insdustrial demands," there are plenty of non-technical skills also needed in security.

User Rank: Apprentice
7/17/2017 | 12:18:44 PM
Ridiculous article, ridiculous symposium
So the newest and fastest moving growth industry in tech lacks proportional minority involvement, and this constitutes a crisis?

I'm impressed by how quickly someone found a profitable career raising "awareness" of the resultant trend of useless college majors that cater to identity politics instead of practical insdustrial demands
User Rank: Apprentice
7/14/2017 | 5:55:00 PM
Missing something
I am somehow missing how this is different from any other employee.  Every employee requires certain things beyond a pay envelope.  

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