U.S. federal officials and cybersecurity experts turned their Twitter accounts over to Black cybersecurity experts in an effort to combat systemic racism.
The event, #ShareTheMicInCyber, featured the social media accounts of more than 100 individuals and two dozen organizations, was used to promote racial diversity in cybersecurity Friday. As part of the event, Twitter hosted live conversations through Twitter Spaces.
Government officials participating in the event include Jen Easterly, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), who handed her account to Ayan Islam, the Critical Infrastructure portfolio lead at CISA’s Cybersecurity Division.
Islam told The Hill in a statement he was excited to participate in the event and hopes his story motivates other in the future to participate.
“Participating in #ShareTheMicInCyber is special to me since I have a chance to give back and share my unorthodox path into cybersecurity,” Islam told The Hill. “As I progress in the field, I notice it requires diverse technical and non-technical perspectives for a more secure and resilient critical infrastructure.
“There are many ways to serve and protect, and hopefully my story can encourage others that they can join the mission too and contribute with their unique perspectives and skills,” Islam added.
Easterly welcomed Islam to her Twitter account Friday prior to giving up her account to Islam adding she was “thrilled to spotlight this talented #cybersecurity star.”
“With over 3.5 million unfilled #cybersecurity #jobs, my goal is to bring awareness to opportunities in cyber and #informationsecurity to create a pipeline for organizations to find women of color.” Joyce tweeted.
The CISA and other government agencies have been promoting the need to diversify their cybersecurity workforce. As part of the effort, the CISA announced it will award two organizations, NPower and CyberWarrior, $2 million to develop cybersecurity training for underserved populations and people of color.
A recent report by the Aspen Institute described the cybersecurity workforce as “overwhelmingly” White and male, noting that 5% of cybersecurity workers are Hispanic, less than 10% are Black and less than 25% are women.