Meet the #ATM19 Influencers: Zoë Rose

By Jamie Easley, Airheads Community Manager
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As one of the 50 most influential women in cybersecurity, Zoë Rose is focused on empowering people to protect themselves. We caught up with Zoë in London to find out why personal privacy is so important and what she’s anticipating about her first trip to Atmosphere. You can also read about her in Vogue.

Jamie: When you’re not hanging out at conferences like ATM, what’s your day job?
Zoë: It’s a bit hard to explain. My formal title is cybersecurity consultant. However, “cybersecurity” is such a broad subject, and my colleagues simply call me the resident Ethical Hacker.

Essentially what I do is look at the technical side of security, and align it with human behavior. Whilst cyber security is defined as people, process and technology – people are first for a reason. I design and implement controls that work for the team. I build processes around how the team can be most effective. I bring security closer to home, by talking about personal security and developing software that protects those whom are most vulnerable.

Security is my passion, and my focus is empowering people to protect themselves.

Jamie: What motivates you to do what you do?
Zoë: As a survivor of domestic abuse, I found technology easier to understand than humans. I found myself a self-taught IT manager at a young age, and realized it was a brilliant way to take back control of my environment.

When I was leaving that situation, I had to deal with an abuser that stalked and published things in a form of revenge. Attempting to remain in control, they gained unauthorized access to my accounts.

I have been hopeless, unable to protect myself, and with nowhere to turn and almost gave up hope. I never want anyone to feel that sense of shame, embarrassment, loneliness and pain. Therefore my goal in life is always to educate, spread my knowledge and help protect those whom cannot protect themselves.

Jamie: What’s an experience that you get at ATM that you don’t find anywhere else?
Zoë: I have never attended an ATM event, but from my experience with Aruba, I’m excited to hear how they embed security and privacy throughout the product life cycle, how they focus on user experience to maintain long term engagement with secure solutions, and see the passion they have for their solutions.

Jamie: What’s the best part about coming to Vegas to go to ATM? What’s the worst part?
Zoë: Personally, I’ve never been to Las Vegas, not that I actively avoid it – more my travels simply haven’t brought me here yet. I suspect it will be brilliant, being surrounded by passionate techs who are excited about how to create a more inclusive and secure world.

The worst case you can probably guess, if you even know me a little, I’ll be missing my ferrets back home! If there was a conference I could bring them with, that would be the ultimate.

Jamie: What’s the biggest thing we’ll see happening in networking this year?
Zoë: Obviously I can’t speak to the future, however, what I would love to see is more awareness. A greater understanding to the everyday person what is actually happening to their data once it’s left their device.

One issue with security is the constant FUD surrounding our industry, and honestly, the unknown is absolutely terrifying. By educating our consumers, by embedded security and privacy from the start – we not only allow them to continue safely, but empower them to choose a solution that is going to work for them.

I would love to see organizations take the initiative and not only build a great solution, but explain to the consumer, in plain language, why this solution is secure, how it works, and how they can continue to protect themselves.

Jamie: What’s the best technology purchase you’ve ever made?
Zoë: It depends really, if you mean in regard to my role in industry, it’s likely a USB rubber ducky, because it’s an easy to demonstrate example of how computers, whilst having all information at your fingertips, aren’t actually intelligent and are simply there to work for the human.

If you mean regarding my personal life, the best technology purchase would have to be my Oura Ring – I didn’t actually purchase it mind you. I won a competition at ØreDev, where you had to tweet pictures from the photobooth to enter. It’s helped me learn how to human almost. By tracking my sleeping habits, I can understand better when my body needs more rest, when days I can train at the gym more intensely (one passion outside of work is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu), and overall helps me find the best routine to healthy living.

Jamie: Do you collect any tech?
Zoë: Oh my goodness yes, it’s absolutely terrible! I love technology, and often I think of technical solutions before simple ones. It shows in my lack of dysconnectivity, such as when I leave my flat, I want to have a camera constantly showing me how my ferrets are. I have my Oura ring on always, and I can’t leave the house without at least one laptop – otherwise I feel almost naked!

I would love to have a bigger technology budget, having a brilliant home network including a lab to test out latest solutions, with the ability to teach and create training materials with it...that’s my dream. Maybe one day I’ll create a wearable for my ferrets, so I can feel their heartbeat anywhere I go through an implanted device in my arm or something.

Jamie: What’s the latest thing you’ve tested/tried on a Raspberry Pi?
Zoë: I haven’t made it yet, but my next project for my Pi is creating a live Twitter follower counter. My friend Scott Helme just published a guide on how he created his, and I’d like to try it out.

Jamie: Who is your biggest tech celebrity crush?
Zoë: Where to start?! Scott Morrish as how many Cisco certifications? Dr. Jessica Barker and FC have educated how many organizations, volunteered at how many schools, and broken into how many banks? Scott Helme and Troy Hunt have built and published how many solutions to protect others? Honestly I have more friends that I can list here, that are a constant source of excitement – I absolutely love celebrating their successes with them.