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Women Techmakers Belfast

in Security in Technology

eepica at the WTMBelfast

Women Techmaker is a Google initiative that intends to make women's participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) more visible. Yes, the problem is not just that our numbers in STEM fields are low; part of the problem is that women within them are not being noticed.

My story starts a couple of days after the Woman's International Day (my commemorative post here), when Claire Burn an ex-colleague, friend, master mind of Women Who Code Belfast and organiser of the Women Techmaker Belfast invited me to participate as speaker. 

The event had 20 people on the scene, 19 women and 1 male equality defender who spoke eloquently about inclusion. And no, 19 women were not talking about wine (we drank wine), nor dresses, shoes or make-up (we couldn't have looked better!). We were talking about technology... virtual reality, development, business, healthcare, cryptography, cybersecurity and obviously about how to get more women into technology and how to retain the ones we already have. The women I got to meet are researchers, scientists, coders, mothers and fighters! An overview of the schedule is embedded in the tweet below:

Regarding my talk, it was about Privacy and Cybersecurity; and how our incessant need to interact and share information through social networks on the Internet is causing us damage. This might be because of some data breach or we just shared the wrong information needlessly. The Internet is like real life, it is in fact an extension of it in which we have friends, attend events, share memories and sadly, every now and then become victims of some kind of scam/ trap. 

The Internet is full of risks. Thousands of websites appear to be something they are not, some others have been hacked and are now unwittingly delivering malicious software, and finally but no less importantly there are also people that use the Internet to gain our trust to then use it against us. 

Risk is defined as the likelihood of something bad happening, and just like in real life it depends on how much we are exposing ourselves to it.

Good news is, not everything is about risks and what not to do. The Internet can be a safe, enjoyable place in which meeting with friends and good memories can be revived. Simple tips to improve our Internet presence can be considered:

  • Share with care: Do not reveal personal information unnecessarily
  • Anonymise Internet use: Don't share your location, use VPNs and stop using third party software just because they have funny emoticons ;)
  • End to end encryption: HTTPS everywhere; VPNs; PGP; etc.
  • Classification of data: Work/ home; me/ partner/ children; health/ education; private/ public
  • Remove/ uninstall unnecessary services/ programs: Default software and extra add-ons may not just be consuming your precious disk space, but also collecting information anonymously while slowing down your devices too!
  • Security Awareness: Educate yourself and then everyone around you

If you'd like to see the official presentation you can find it on SlideShare.

If you have any questions or remarks, please don't think twice to get in touch through the Contact me page or by leaving me a comment below. :)

Finally, big thanks to the Women Techmaker organisation for making this possible and Deloitte Ireland for supporting me and helping me to share a little bit of my knowledge with the world. 

Big thanks, 


Image credit: Sarah Hannity - @Thatgirlcodes

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