Q&A: Becky Pinkard

Becky Pinkard is a security transformation expert who has built and managed global information security teams, designed risk and compliance strategies, led security audits and assessments and developed security awareness training in small and large environments. She is an active advocate for promoting diversity and inclusion in business, and is a co-founder of the We Empower Diversity in Start-ups (WEDS) group. Becky has been a CyLon mentor since 2017, providing cybersecurity, operations and client success guidance to entrepreneurs. She also co-hosts a monthly podcast, Cyber Warrior Princess, focused on current cybersecurity-related commentary.

How did you get into the infosec industry?

I paid my customer service dues early and started out in the late 90s, answering phones for a telecoms company about configuring dial-up networking and setting up ISDN. After a couple of years, I managed to snag an overnight shift job on the NOC (a central location from which IT support technicians administer advice) and that’s where I saw my first exploit in action – WinNuke. I BSOD’ed everyone whose IP address I could get my hands on around the NOC and I was hooked!

What’s your favorite thing about information security?

Working in information security is a little bit like being a rugby player (says the person who played rugby rather badly for several years at university). I love working to refine my craft, helping to protect my company and its customers and lastly, working closely with, helping to grow and hopefully guide a great team.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I’d snap my fingers and our lack of diversity and inclusion would be a blip in our past that we’d use to only remind ourselves why it’s so important now. A lot of people are doing amazing things to help in this space, but we still have progress to make.

What’s your proudest achievement?

People I’ve hired or worked with in the past who reach out to work with me again when they’re looking for new opportunities. They inspire me to keep pushing to always do the right thing by our employees.

What’s the greatest challenge facing the infosec industry at the moment?

The speed of technical change means that security charlatans are getting slicker, but also more likely to ultimately cause greater losses to both their companies and its customers.

Quick-fire Q&A

What’s your favorite film?

Oh, this is always a tough one – a toss-up between the first Star Wars and The Matrix.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Does sitting on the sofa watching TV uninterrupted count?

Outside of security, what would be your dream job?

I’d love to give Ellen DeGeneres some competition – chat with people about their current challenges, give them freebies, make their dreams come true and play the occasional trick on them.

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