Image Credit: Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Metaverse Law recently interviewed Malia Mason, co-founder and president of the Southern California Chapter of Women in CyberSecurity, Navy veteran, and business owner. A transcript of the conversation is available below:
Lily Li: Women make up only 15% of today’s cyber security workforce. Today, I have brought my good friend, Malia Mason, who’s trying to get that number to 50%. Malia, thanks for joining me today and talking a little bit about women in the cyber security and tech community. To get started, can you let us know a little bit about how you got involved in cybersecurity?
Malia Mason: Yeah, so, my career in cybersecurity actually began in the military when I was in the Navy years ago. I served active duty for four years and worked to secure our nation’s secrets. When I got out of the military, that’s when I wanted to continue to help secure data and decided to get into the cybersecurity realm and I’ve worked as a consultant for a few years and actually, this year, just founded my own small cybersecurity consulting firm called Integrum. We’re working to help secure small businesses, especially in nonprofits.
Lily Li: Another thing that you’re very involved with is women in cybersecurity. So, tell us a little bit about what that organization does and what’s been happening lately in that space.
Malia Mason: Yes, so, Women in CyberSecurity is a national nonprofit that was founded in 2012 and I am actually the co-founder and president of the Women in CyberSecurity SoCal chapter. We boast over a hundred members so far and we have a chapter as well in San Diego and our launch event actually brought over 50 attendees, both women and allies, and it was great to see the community come together and we’re hosting a big Cyber Career Day on October 19th; which should be really, really fun and try to help more people get into this industry, especially women.
Lily Li: In addition to Women in CyberSecurity, there are a lot of other groups that are promoting women in cybersecurity and in tech. Can you let us know about a few of the other resources in the area?
Malia Mason: Yeah, so, one of my favorite organizations, and that I’m a member of, in addition to WiCyS, is Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu. It was founded by my good friend Lisa Jiggetts and they work to provide a lot of technical training and a lot of technical resources and, again, try to get that number of women in cybersecurity to at least 50%. Another awesome national nonprofit is WITI Women in Technology International. They do a lot of good getting women in technology and, just recently, I was named the Chair of the Technology Committee for AnitaB.org. They are the national nonprofit that runs Grace Hopper; which is the largest gathering of Women in Technology in the world.
Lily Li: One of the things I know that you’re passionate about is cyber defense and there’s a great project that you’re working on right now. So, can you tell everyone a little bit more about that?
Malia Mason: Yeah, so, I was actually inspired by my friend who works in social work and she brought up that, you know, she’s also passionate about technology and a lot of her victims of domestic violence, it’s no longer good enough to secure them physically. We also need to be worried about are they being tracked on Facebook or Instagram or how are they being tracked, even through Google, and so I’ve created a cyber defense course that anyone can utilize and it’s accessible to anyone and just showing them how to protect themselves, how to protect their data, and just really simple tips and I’m working on getting it translated into Spanish, as well, and I want to present this course so that anyone can teach anyone else how to protect themselves, how to protect their families, and how to be a better owner of your own private data.
Lily Li: Well, it sounds like you have a lot of projects going on and there are a lot of great resources in this area. So, if anyone wants to reach out to you and learn about how they can get involved and how they can help you, how should they reach you?
Malia Mason: Yes, so, you can actually find us through, if you Google WiCyS SoCal, that’s WiCyS SoCal, we are building our website right now that’ll be WiCyS-SoCal.org. We also have a good LinkedIn page and a lot of good discussions on there and I always reach out. Anyone can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I mentor quite a few folks and I am just always impassioned about getting more people involved in cybersecurity, especially women and minorities.
Lily Li: All right. Thanks for coming here today.
Malia Mason: Yeah, thank you for having me.