This has been a project I have wanted to do for a long time. As a woman in the security industry, I have had the pleasure and the honor to have worked alongside some amazing female professionals from different parts of the world and security fields. Personally, I have been blessed with my networking contacts, developments, and public exposure. I feel like I owe a lot of my brand’s success to my relationship with my network and other colleagues.
That is why I have decided to “Give Back the Stage” to a different woman every month. Women don’t tend to be very public about their stories, their achievements, and their struggles. So every month, I will be using the power of my networking platforms and connections to promote and bring awareness to a specific female in the security sector. My goal is to help them grow their own brands, connections, and publicity by showing their stories and sharing them with my network and contacts. I learned a long time ago that success comes not only from hard work, dedication, and keeping my standards up, but also from having the right connections. And what these connections taught me is that sometimes by simply asking, you will be given an answer, some much-needed help, a tip, a new introduction, and sometimes, even a job offer.
Please join me in this effort and welcome these women, invite them to your professional network and reach out to them if their services align with what your organization or clients may need. If you know a woman who must be on this “Stage”, please reach out to me and send me a recommendation.
The woman to whom I am giving the Stage for this month is Christina Lekati. Now many are not aware that I am the child of first-generation immigrants who moved to Greece in 1991. So, with Christina, we don’t share only our psychology studies, but also we share the same language (Greek) and were raised in the same country. When I started my first steps in Executive Protection in Greece back in 2002, security was something new, not to mention females in the industry which were almost nonexistent. It is a pleasure and an honor to see more women from Greece doing so well and have expanding their careers in other countries as well.
Christina is a psychologist with a long history in the field of cybersecurity. Being raised by a cybersecurity expert, she came in contact with the bright and dark sides of the internet from a very young age. Growing up, she got involved in projects that were often beyond her age, giving her an edge in her own knowledge and understanding of cybercrime.
Before long, Christina had identified that social engineering security was a very intriguing field for her. Her calling was to help as many people as possible protect themselves from scammers, fraudsters, or more sophisticated social engineers. Her background and degree in psychology helped her understand the mechanisms of behavior, motivation, and decision-making, but also manipulation and deceit. It also helped her break down, analyze, and better understand the steps attackers use when they target humans and the psychological triggers they use. She found out that all of us have universal psychological tendencies and weaknesses that threat actors exploit on a regular basis. However, each of us has individual triggers that an attacker can identify and exploit in tailored attack scenarios. She applied all those learnings in her work with Cyber Risk GmbH where she serves as the main developer of the social engineering training programs. Those programs intertwine the lessons learned from real-life cases and previous experiences with the fields of cybersecurity, psychology, and counterintelligence.
However, there is another element that interplays in defending any individual or organization from cyber threat actors. That is Christina’s second passion: open-source intelligence (OSINT). She has been also running the Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) vulnerability assessments for organizations or high-value targets through Cyber Risk GmbH.
Being committed to sharing knowledge and helping others, Christina is an active Advisory Board Member at the OSINT Curious project, contributing to the international scene of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) with the latest news, updates, and techniques on collection and analysis. The OSINT Curious Project is a source of quality, actionable, open-source intelligence news, original blogs, instructional videos, and live streams. They try to keep people curious about exploring web applications for bits of information or trying out new techniques to access important OSINT data.
Due to her work and insights on social engineering attacks and open-source intelligence, Christina is frequently invited as a speaker to cyber security events and conferences. Among others, she has presented at the SANS OSINT Summit, SEVillage at DEF CON, and Hacktivity and keynoted several cybersecurity events around the globe. She has also been interviewed, featured, or provided articles in major German newspapers, including “Der Spiegel”, “Die Zeit”, “TAZ”, and the Heise magazines.
If you represent an organization and are interested in learning more about defending against social engineering and the psychological elements involved in human hacking, send her a message on LinkedIn. If you are organizing an event and would like to invite her as a speaker, reach out to Christina for a presentation or speech. For those of you in the security industry who want to learn more about the fascinating world of OSINT, social engineering, and Cybersecurity, you can follow Christina’s articles on Medium and Linkedin.
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