Meet Twins Noushin and Negar Shabab who are Making their Mark in Cybersecurity

Women Love Tech
on 25 October 2018

Twin sisters Noushin and Negar Shabab are calling out for more women in cybersecurity. Here’s how they are making their mark in the world of technology.

Here Noushin and Negar share their amazing journey and what they are doing to make a difference:

We first started using computers when we were 11-years-old; by the time we got to middle school, we were learning computer programming, which led to us competing in numerous programming contests, finishing in the top three for a few of them. Studying for a degree in programming and computing at university was the natural follow-on. It developed a life of its own from there. We were both helping younger students with their work while still at university, and we both found our way into the IT industry after graduation, both as malware analysts at the same time, for the same company.

For us, it’s always been about problem-solving. With our current roles, the need to think creatively and differently becomes second nature. But the skill which lies behind that is persistence.

Problem-solving is, of course, one of the most vitally important skills in our field.

Problem-solving is, of course, one of the most vitally important skills in our field.

Working in different areas of cybersecurity has shown most of the challenges you face in your day-to-day tasks are truly original ones which nobody has ever had to confront before. They require a good problem solver to tackle them. Another very important skill is teamwork. Getting help from a broad range of viewpoints and deploying different perspectives, not only expedites the puzzle-solving process but can also lead you to an answer applicable in a broader range of cases.

The most enjoyable thing about working in cybersecurity is the ever-changing nature of the role. Malware is more sophisticated every time you encounter it, so it encompasses new challenges. The creativity of malicious attackers is increasing, and the diversity of the role keeps you interested and excited.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in this industry is that you can go as deep as you want into the technical challenges. Working in cybersecurity requires that you keep your skills sharp and try and learn new ones every day. The job is never routine, and you can wake up every day knowing that a new adventure awaits.

The threat from vicious malware and hackers is not something that is going away.

The threat from vicious malware and hackers is not something that is going away. To get people interested in the cybersecurity field, we need to get people interested in the problem-solving mindset from a very early age right at the time kids are discovering their abilities and talents. When parents are giving their children different toys to play with, it’s important to get them to play with puzzles and games which engage their minds. While playing with dolls and plastic toys bring other skills up in kids, letting kids improve their problem-solving skills from a young age is also very important.

We’ve been doing what we can to make a mark in education, training teachers to bridge what is an alarming cybersecurity shortage in Australia.

We’ve been doing what we can to make a mark in education, training teachers to bridge what is an alarming cybersecurity shortage in Australia.

This stems from a shortage of qualified trained professionals to help deal with cybersecurity issues. Our recent work includes identifying Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) as well as advocating for women in cybersecurity and speaking on these topics at major industry events.

We have also signed an MoU on behalf of Kaspersky Lab, with the University of Swinburne Technology.

Noushin and Negar Shabab advocate for women in cybersecurity

We’re members of the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN), which aims to support and inspire women in the Australian security industry. We provide technical workshops and mentorship for the AWSN female cadets program, which aims to bridge the skill gap between universities and the security industry.

Together we hosted a technical workshop for a group of RMIT university students, was providing basic knowledge of Reverse Engineering for the Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA) national competition.

The government is doing what it can to improve the skills pool, through national competitions like CySCA, to the events organised by industry vendors. There remains a problem in that companies and industry vendors are still looking for professionals and experts with proven industry work experience, and there is almost no opportunity for graduates and newcomers to our field who wish to pursue cybersecurity as their field of work. The opportunities that would stem from more internship positions and graduate roles, as well as more room for experienced people who are coming to our industry from other sectors would be of tremendous benefit to the entire industry.

We also want as many women as possible to pursue careers in cybersecurity. Women are getting more recognition and respect in this industry, even though this field is currently dominated by men. But there has been an increasing number of cybersecurity industry events which intend to engage more women; Kaspersky Lab holds this sort of event from time to time. It’s important to encourage women to show up and be more active in an industry like this, where you can grow as much as you want. There is no end to the learning process and the reward you get from your work.

We live in the age of technology. Follow a career in cybersecurity, and you will soon find your job becoming your lifestyle.

Noushin and Negar Shabab are twin sisters and cybersecurity experts. Noushin is a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab and Negar is in application security at PS&C Group. Recently, the pair also collaborated with RMIT’s involvement with Cyber Security Challenge Australia (CySCA). Launched in 2012, CySCA is Australia’s only national hacking competition, Run by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the competition targets students in higher education to unearth the next generation of cybersecurity talent.

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