“We all have a role to play in cyber security, and having different, complicated passwords is key”
CHARLIE TIMBLIN, 42, is the senior director of cyber and technology risk at royal bank of canada (rbc). she is also the co-founder of the women’s security society, a network for women working in the security sector. she lives in epsom, surrey, with her husband, matt, who also works in security, and their nine-year-old daughter anna.
My Job at the bank is to help safeguard the security of our systems and the confidentiality of our information. over the course of my career, as the world has become more digitally integrated, i’ve seen cyber criminals also become more sophisticated in their approach. i believe that in the next decade, so much more of our lives will be automated. for instance, everyone’s talking about the “connected home” – where you can activate lights remotely, the oven remotely, your fridge can even order food when it “knows”
you have run out of something. although technology is often developed with functionality in mind, it may not always have the necessary security safeguards included. so when consumers purchase items – such as a driverless car or even a smart cooker – they need to be aware that security is not always embedded within the product. I believe cyber security is a core component of a technology-immersive future. cyber security is a topic that is so dynamic that there is a need to learn almost minute by minute, so i find being in a role like mine both very stimulating and challenging. i am fortunate to work with very smart people, all specialising in different areas of cyber security, which certainly helps me stay current on the changes and the trends. ultimately, cyber security is everyone’s business within an organisation, so it’s a true team effort.
The disruption caused to the nhs in may might have been the first time many people had heard of a cyber attack – and certainly one that might have affected them. the type of malicious software that helped to perpetuate this attack is becoming more accessible to criminals and therefore more widely used. as a result, we all need to recognise cyber security as being an important aspect of everyday life.
There are some basic improvements you can make straight away to help protect your information. i understand how cumbersome it is to manage multiple, different and complex passwords, but it really is necessary. use a password manager such as lastpass or dashlane to remember them. writing them on post-it notes is not recommended! Also, understand – and change – all your default passwords. these are the passwords that you will initially receive from the manufacturer for your new home wi-fi for example, or any shiny, new technology products. changing them is easy and makes the device more secure, but unfortunately many people don’t do this.
There are not enough women in
cyber security. that’s one of the reasons i started the women’s security society – i wanted to give women an opportunity to network and help each other in a fun environment. the new technology-enabled world means working locations and hours are now far more flexible. returning-to-work mums are a wealth of untapped talent if given sufficient flexibility.
My hobby is something you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a techie: upcycling! doing something creative helps my brain switch off.