Christine Bejerasco started her career at Trend Micro working as an antivirus engineer. Fourteen years later, she is F-Secure’s senior manager and service lead for SAFE PC. Currently, she leads the team that is in charge of the client-facing components of F-Secure’s flagship SAFE PC. Planning with product owners and researchers from various departments, she helps design a product/feature that generates the best ROI for the company. Christine Bejerasco works to bridge the threat landscape knowledge between F-Secure Labs and the client teams to generate cross-functional engagements and build stronger protection features.
Reciprocity: If you had to choose one event that led you to work in information security, what would it be and why?
Christine Bejerasco: I started working in Infosec (with Trend Micro) right after University. I am a Computer Science graduate and was looking for jobs in my field. At that time, I had several offers already, ranging from technical support jobs to software development jobs. Then TrendLabs (under Trend Micro) had an opening for antivirus engineer trainee. If I passed that program, I would then be able to build solutions that protect users against malware. I thought that was quite cool. It was not the highest-paying offer then, but I definitely thought that it was the most meaningful. I was young and idealistic and had some illusions about saving the world, so I went for it. That was 2003, and I have not left the security industry since.
Reciprocity: Why do you like working in the information security environment?
Christine Bejerasco: What’s not to like? It has the element of complexity which gives exciting technical challenges, and it makes you feel that your work has meaning. The work is all about protecting people. In the early 2000’s, it was all about protecting the users’ machines. Nowadays, it’s hard to detach the person from the machine as more and more of our assets are getting digitalized. This, in turn, just makes me feel that the job is just becoming more and more important today.
Reciprocity: If a n00b to the infosec world asked you for a piece of advice, what would it be?
Christine Bejerasco: Think twice before opening that attachment or clicking that link. Always stop and think twice.
Reciprocity: What is the most important issue facing professionals in the information security landscape today? Why?
Christine Bejersasco: For me, this is the increasingly closed operating systems that security products can interface with legitimately. In order to protect from attacks that go deep in the OS, security products would need deep access to the OS. Since the OS is also increasingly trying to limit their attack surface, they are keeping even the security products away from hooking the OS too deeply. So we are now at a stage where protecting the customers is increasingly becoming challenging because of the limitations that the OS has set. But also, this makes the OS less prone to exploitation. It would be interesting to see down the road how the threats are going to evolve with these changes as well.
Reciprocity: What is the most important issue facing consumers in the information security landscape today? Why?
Christine Bejerasco: We have our life’s profile stored and available to different companies online. At the moment, the main effect that we can see from all this profiling is giving us targeted advertising. But beyond this, what then? What could be the next thing that can happen when all of this valuable information is just becoming more and more fine-grained and easily associated to the users? Privacy laws are also increasingly becoming more strict. When will they keep up? Will they be enough? There are just too many uncertainties in the area of privacy. As a user, the future looks a little uncertain. I feel like at the moment, the burden of protecting my privacy lies only with me. It becomes quite a challenge when a user has many devices with different methods of tracking.
Reciprocity: What are your three “guilty pleasures” that have nothing to do with information security?
Christine Bejerasco: Beer. Travel. Food.
Reciprocity: What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation and why?
Christine Bejerasco: Not a movie but series. At the moment, it’s probably the Game of Thrones. It’s not because of the story itself, but the evolution of the series. I liked the realization that an onscreen adaptation does not have to be exactly like the story in the book and to give the story a room to evolve on its own. That was interesting. During the time when the series was quite religiously following the book, it was dragging and quite boring. However, when changes were introduced to the story in order to make it more viable to the onscreen audience, it became more dynamic and exciting.