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Women inclusion in digital technology will increase cybersecurity awareness – Uloaku Philip

Uloaku Okechukwu Phillip is a trailblazing female cybersecurity expert from Nigeria, making significant impact, driving changes and advancing the burgeoning cybersecurity industry in the country.…

Uloaku Okechukwu Phillip is a trailblazing female cybersecurity expert from Nigeria, making significant impact, driving changes and advancing the burgeoning cybersecurity industry in the country. She is passionate about teaching and mentoring young people in digital technology and cybersecurity, and she is also a vocal advocate for women’s inclusion in this sector. Uloaku has worked as a cybersecurity specialist for CAD Consulting Limited since 2018, where she has led several significant technical projects and innovations in the digital technology sector. She is also an avid reader, volunteer and among the top one percent of female cybersecurity experts utilized by most businesses today for their digital and cybersecurity solutions.

Can you tell us what you think will be the biggest cybersecurity threat facing individuals and businesses in the future?
Stemming from past experiences, I believe that the biggest threat we will be facing in the future is undoubtedly ransomware. This is when hackers infiltrate a computer system, encrypt all the data and demand payment in exchange for the decryption key. It’s incredibly disruptive and can cost businesses and individuals a lot of money, time and reputation damage.
How long have you worked for CAD Consulting Limited as a cybersecurity specialist? What have you been doing?
As a cybersecurity specialist, I worked for CAD Consulting Limited from 2018 to the present day. During my time at the company, I led several significant technical projects and innovations in the digital technology sector. Some of these projects included developing various security tools and implementing robust security measures to protect the company’s and clients’ systems and user data. I also led the AGSMEIS project, which has had a significant impact on the Nigerian economy, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and promoting sustainable development goals many.
How does it feel to be one of the first female prominent cybersecurity expert in Nigeria?
Security has always been a thing of interest to me hence one of the reasons why I decided to study law in my first degree. Having a master’s degree in security from a prestigious university in the UK, multiple certifications as a cybersecurity expert, and worked as a cybersecurity specialist for years and making notable impact in this sector, I wouldn’t say I am entirely proud of my achievements until I am able to train and promote more women in this sector as I don’t want to be the one to close the door when I am retiring from this sector that is dominated by males.

What is your take on woman’s participation in cybersecurity?
I can say that having female cybersecurity experts is crucial for the industry’s growth and development, as diversity brings different perspectives, ideas, and approaches to solving problems. Hence one of the major reasons why I have taken it upon myself to volunteer at any given opportunity to participate, encourage and inspire young girls to join this profession, Provide training and education and also, address unconscious biases as it regards to women participation in cybersecurity.

What are some steps people and businesses can take to protect themselves against ransomware attacks?
There are a few things people can do. First and foremost, make sure you’re backing up all your data regularly, so that if you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, you can restore your data without having to pay the ransom. It’s also important to keep all your software up to date with the latest security patches and to use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. Finally, educate yourself and your employees on how to spot phishing emails and suspicious links or attachments hence one of the reasons why I always advocate that cybersecurity awareness is a topic that every employee should be conversant with in other to protect themselves and their organisation.

Covid has brought about the rise of remote working condition, how has the cybersecurity landscape changed?
covid 19 has without any doubt made remote work more popular and acceptable by many companies. However, remote work has certainly made things more challenging for cybersecurity professionals. With people accessing sensitive data and systems from home networks, there are more potential entry points for hackers. That’s why it’s important for businesses to invest in strong VPNs, multi-factor authentication and other tools that can help secure remote connections.

Are there any emerging cybersecurity threats that people should be aware of?
One thing that’s becoming more common is supply chain attacks. This is where hackers target the software or hardware that a company uses, rather than the company itself. For example, they might infiltrate a third-party software vendor that a business relies on, and use that as a way to gain access to the business’s systems. It’s a very sneaky tactic and can be hard to defend against, but there are steps businesses can take, such as vetting their vendors more carefully and conducting regular security audits.

How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the cybersecurity landscape?
The pandemic has certainly had an impact on cybersecurity. With more people working from home and using personal devices, there are more potential vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Additionally, there has been a rise in COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails, as hackers take advantage of people’s fears and concerns. It’s important for individuals and businesses to stay vigilant and take steps to protect themselves.

What are your thoughts on the use of biometric authentication as a way to enhance cybersecurity?
Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or facial recognition technology, can be a very effective way to enhance cybersecurity. It’s much harder for hackers to replicate someone’s biometric data than it is for them to steal a password. However, it’s important to remember that biometric data is not foolproof – there have been cases of biometric data being stolen or manipulated. It’s important for businesses to use biometric authentication in conjunction with other security measures, such as multi-factor authentication which is one of the major personal projects I am working on and hope to lunch in the future to help improve the security of health care providers around the world and that of other businesses. Biometric is a very important security tool that I am vastly investing in.

What role do you think artificial intelligence (AI) will play in cybersecurity in the coming years?
AI is already playing a significant role in cybersecurity, and I think it will become even more important in the coming years. AI can help detect and respond to threats much faster than humans can, and can also help identify patterns and anomalies that might be missed by humans, which is something I have explore on several projects I have executed and the results were brilliant. However, AI is not a silver bullet – it’s important for businesses to remember that AI is only as effective as the data it’s trained on. If the data is biased or incomplete, the AI will be too.

How can individuals protect their personal information online?
There are a few steps individuals can take to protect their personal information online. First, be careful about what information you share online and who you share it with. Make sure you’re using strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, and consider using a password manager to help you keep track of them. Use two-factor authentication wherever possible. Finally, be cautious of phishing emails and other scams, and don’t click on links or download attachments unless you’re sure they’re safe.

What advice do you have for businesses that are just starting to think about cybersecurity?
My advice would be to start with the basics. Make sure all your software is up to date with the latest security patches, use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, and back up your data regularly. Educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices and conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities. Finally, consider hiring a cybersecurity professional or partnering with a cybersecurity firm to help you stay ahead of the latest threats.

Can you explain the concept of a firewall and how it works to protect computer systems?
A firewall is a network security tool that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of predetermined rules. It acts as a barrier between a computer system and the internet or another network, and can help prevent unauthorized access or data breaches. Firewalls can be hardware or software-based, and can be configured to block specific types of traffic or to allow traffic only from trusted sources.

How does encryption work to protect data?
Encryption is the process of converting data into a coded language that can only be read by authorized parties. This is typically done using a complex mathematical algorithm that scrambles the data, making it unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the key to unlock it. Encryption is used to protect sensitive data such as financial information, passwords, and personal information. There are various types of encryption algorithms, including symmetric key encryption and public key encryption.

What are some common types of cyber attacks and how can businesses defend against them?
Some common types of cyber attacks include phishing, malware, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and SQL injection attacks. To defend against these attacks, businesses can implement a multi-layered approach that includes firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, antivirus software, and regular security audits. It’s also important to educate employees on how to spot and avoid phishing emails, and to use strong, unique passwords for all accounts.

Can you explain the concept of a vulnerability assessment and how it helps to identify potential weaknesses in a computer system?
A vulnerability assessment is the process of identifying potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities in a computer system, network, or application. This is typically done using automated tools that scan the system for known vulnerabilities, or by conducting manual tests to identify weaknesses. The goal of a vulnerability assessment is to identify potential areas of weakness before they can be exploited by hackers. Once vulnerabilities are identified, businesses can take steps to patch or fix them, and to implement measures to prevent similar vulnerabilities from arising in the future.

What are some best practices for securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices?
Some best practices for securing IoT devices include changing default passwords, keeping software up to date with the latest security patches, and using strong encryption to protect data. It’s also important to limit the amount of personal information that is shared with IoT devices, and to carefully consider the risks and benefits of each device before integrating it into your network. Finally, businesses should consider implementing network segmentation to isolate IoT devices from other critical systems and to limit the potential impact of a security breach.

Finally, what do you think the future of cybersecurity looks like?
Unfortunately, I think we’ll continue to see more and more sophisticated cyber attacks in the future. Hackers are always finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in our systems, and as technology advances, so do the risks. However, I’m optimistic that we’ll also see more investment in cybersecurity and more collaboration between businesses, governments, and security experts. It’s a global problem that requires a global solution, and I think we’re starting to see more awareness of that.

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