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Cybersecurity Needs Skills, Experiences of Women

Computer hacking is becoming more widespread and damaging. Headlines highlight attacks on government agencies, political campaign offices, financial institutions and big corporations. But citizens and consumers are paying a heavy price. In 2016, 2 billion people had their personal details stolen, including the medical records of more than 100 million Americans. Hacks of U.S. retail outlets such as Target and global credit companies such as Equifax compromised the private data of hundreds of millions of customers. In the past 6 years, more than $107 billion was stolen from U.S. consumers through identity theft.

Cybercrime exacerbates inequalities. A million more U.S. women than men had their identities stolen in 2014. People of African American and Latino descent are, on average, two to three times more likely than white people to be victims of fraud related to debt or income. And women and girls are more likely than men to be targets of ‘remote sexual abuse’ — coerced into posing nude online or being stalked through the Internet. Security technologies also disadvantage women and other groups. For example, biometric facial recognition systems have trouble identifying the faces of women and people of color. Airport security systems and operators disproportionately flag black women for strip searches relative to other passengers.

Cybersecurity’s future depends on its ability to attract, retain and promote women, who represent a highly skilled and under-tapped resource. The discipline also needs to learn about women’s experiences as victims of cybercrime and the steps needed to address the imbalance of harm.

Read more in Nature

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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