Tracy Z. Maleeff is a Cyber Analyst in a Security Operations Center for a global company. Tracy holds a Master of Library & Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and holds undergraduate degrees from both Temple University (magna cum laude) and the Pennsylvania State University. She brought her skills from being a law firm librarian into the Information Security industry about two years ago. Tracy has presented at several Security BSides cons as well as at DEF CON’s Recon Village in 2017. She is active online as your guide up a mountain of information on Twitter as @InfoSecSherpa and through her Nuzzel newsletter.
Reciprocity: If you had to choose one event that led you to work in information security, what would it be and why?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: I read an article entitled, “Futureproofing Your Career.” It lead me to reignite a love of tech inside me that I never pursued and going down that path led me to information security. My overused joke is that I realized that my natural paranoia and distrust of things was a career path.
Reciprocity: Why do you like working in the information security environment?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: I like problem-solving and helping people — creating teachable moments to help them better understand security to better protect themselves or at least be a bit wiser online.
Reciprocity: If a n00b to the infosec world asked you for a piece of advice, what would it be?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: Be a sponge. Talk to people, read a lot, be curious, and take it all in. Attend every meetup and conference you are able. Immerse yourself in it in order to learn and make connections with people.
Reciprocity: What is the most important issue facing professionals in the information security landscape today? Why?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: Burnout and stress. Information Security is the Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire of professional industries. That underground fire began in 1962 and is still burning today. The fire and cybersecurity incidents, never stop. That constant barrage, coupled with unreasonable demands and expectations from executive and management can make Info Sec professionals feel overwhelmed and can easily become spirit and soul crushing. There are ways to manage those feelings so that it doesn’t have to descend into personal darkness.
Reciprocity: What is the most important issue facing consumers in the information security landscape today? Why?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: Paralysis by analysis, in a way. Consumers are overwhelmed by Information Security news and don’t know what to do. Info Sec is very fast moving and the average consumer who isn’t very tech savvy may be still trying to come to grips with what a phishing email is, when now they have to learn how to understand Multifactor Authentication. They have so many terms, concepts, and advice being thrown at them that they often just mentally shut down and wind up doing nothing, to their detriment.
Reciprocity: What are your three “guilty pleasures” that have nothing to do with information security?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: Knitting, cooking/baking, and cheering on my favorite sports teams.
Reciprocity: What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation and why?
Tracy Z. Maleeff: “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri. I thought the acting and cinematography really brought the story off the pages well. I like seeing images of India and film really cemented the culture clash between generations.