Meet the woman powering the fight against Cybercrime

Having served previously as chief information security officer (CISO) of two giant US companies in Time Warner Cable and Home Depot, Tammy Moskites is exceptionally well-placed to take a leading role in the fight for cyber security.

It hasn’t always been easy in her journey, however: Moskites overcame the impact of receiving some astonishingly poor management treatment at the beginning of her career, turning it into a massive motivation to rise to these senior positions.

Now, as CISO of Venafi, Moskites oversees the development of systems that help organizations learn more about who they can and cannot trust in online environments.

“We like to look at it like providing an immune system for the internet,” Moskites tells me. “As we connect more devices – from IoT devices to drones or AI robots – the more critical trust becomes.”

Moskites explains that our internet-enabled world today has an identity tagging architecture similar in many ways to that used within the human body as part of our immune systems.

On the internet, these tags or markers are called “keys and certs” and they are “natively trusted by servers and other security applications”, which means everything from mobile devices to cloud platforms.

These keys and certs have worked well as part of basic internet security systems for 20 years or more, Moskites explains, but cybercriminals are now able to use them to their own advantage.

“In the wrong hands, keys and certs can enable bad guys to appear trusted, hide in encrypted traffic, exfiltrate data and even take control of your devices – it’s like giving them an invisibility cloak and magic key that opens all your doors,” she explains.

And it is that prospect that Venafi is fighting against and it’s a challenge that Moskites says she’s relishing in her role as the company’s CISO.

“I love what I do,” she tells me. “I have been blessed with an amazing career. I started from the bottom of the tech ladder and worked my way up.”

Things have sometimes been extremely challenging as a woman in a male-dominated profession. Moskites suggests that negative experiences early on in her career actually helped spur her on to greater successes and eventually to the position she’s in today.

“At times it was a difficult road, with having to deal with being a woman in IT and security for the last 25 plus years. I was the ‘second choice’ many times,” she says.

“Once my boss even told me that a man was getting a role because, he said, ‘women shouldn’t climb under desks to fix computers’.”

But what might have been a demoralizing incident only made Moskites more determined to succeed.

“ It really lit a fire in my belly and set the foundation of who I am ,” she says. “Over the years, I was able to partner and build security and compliance organizations for some of the top companies in the world.

“I have truly been blessed to have built and led amazing teams over the years and I love that I get to watch them grow.”