The IT Security Guru’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aims to shed a light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on just one of the many phenomenal women put forward for the 2021 awards. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability.
This year, the awards are sponsored by KPMG and Beazley.
I am an IT Administrator at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Qatar (MOEHE), Doha-Qatar. My responsibilities include ensuring the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of client computer systems, servers, and data security systems.
I started my career as a Computer Engineer in MOEHE Qatar. As I was working, I noticed the rise in cyber threats facing organizations, governments, and individuals alike. So, I decided I’d better upskill and seek the combination of both experience and education. I’ve since completed a master’s degree (MSc) in cybersecurity.
My Master’s thesis was one of the biggest challenges I faced during my time working in the industry. It was about creating a network protocol for location privacy and resilience in querying industrial IoT devices.
The most difficult part was when I was trying to code a secure protocol for IoT devices; as it is considered within the restricted devices interim of memory, power, and processing. In other words, I was constricted by the strict limitations of IoT devices.
I overcame this issue after writing a very efficient code that could run on real IoT devices to provide it with real-time location privacy, and secure the communication between it and the base station (BS).
I wrote a network protocol for location privacy and resilience in querying industrial IoT devices.
As we all know, the Internet of Things (IoT) has drawn much consideration nowadays, where it constitutes one of the most innovative developments of third-millennium technologies, that has improved the quality of our surrounding environment. They have also assisted and enhanced many different applications that have played an essential role in our daily lives, including smart homes, smart cities, smart grids, environmental monitoring, and many other applications.
The location privacy in some applications such as battlefield monitoring is more critical than the content of the carried data. Therefore, it is essential to preserve the location privacy of the network sensors in critical and strategic areas, that could be traced by a global eavesdropper. This dilemma is compounded by the extremely resource-restricted IoT devices, that call for effective and scalable solutions.
Generally, for a Base Station (BS) to monitor an environment, hundreds of sensors should be distributed across the region that needs to be tracked, by which the sensors will use their sensing capability to sense data and send it to the BS. Therefore, the communication between one IoT device and another, as well as the BS should be secure to defend against strong adversaries with break-in capabilities.
The contest seeks to reinforce and enhance Qatar’s leading role in understanding and strengthening cybersecurity through international and local networking and by drawing on relevant expertise.
By developing breakthrough ideas and encouraging inventive thinking, the event will help close the gap between academic research and industry applications.
I used to be the president of the Computing Club at Qatar University where I conducted and invited speakers to help students learn about ethical hacking and other different fields in computing.
Currently, during my work, I always share my story and my cyber knowledge with my female colleagues and encourage them to participate in any upcoming events that have to do with cybersecurity.
If you’re a woman looking to break into cybersecurity, start slow, read a lot, explore the different parts of cybersecurity, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
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