Fighting cyber-crime and training for success: Q&A with ABN AMRO's Rini Icent Gopinath

November 14, 2018 | D Cody

Rini Icent GopinathAt this year's European Women in Tech conference, we're thrilled to feature the amazing Rini Icent Gopinath, Information Security Expert at ABN AMRO.

She will be delivering a talk titled 'Defeating Diabolical Adversaries with Advanced Cyber Security Tactics'. 

We sat down with her to discuss her fascinating career, and the lessons she'll be giving to attendees at European Women in Tech 2018.


Why did you get involved with European Women in Technology?

This conference connects various networks where women hold successful positions in technology, so I would like to explore their success stories and cool technologies they've mastered.

Secondly, I want to contribute something by being there and to bring an unique insight about Cyber Security and inspire many women to embrace this wonderful technology.

What are you speaking about at European Women in Technology?

Being passionate about Cyber Security, I would like to share a story on how Cyber criminals have developed their skills over the past few years to attack big organisations, and show how to fight back and defend by embracing the latest emerging technologies.

What will people learn from listening to your talk?

The message want my listeners to carry with them is: security is everyone’s responsibility. Each employee can help to secure an organisation from Cyber-attacks. I’d also like to share how we blend and work together with such employee support, security teams and advanced Cyber defence technologies to protect our organisation from advanced Cyber-attacks.

How did you get into information security?

Long story short – I was inspired by seeing one of the famous hackers breaking into a system during a live demo at my university. The more it looked cool, it also made me think of the other challenging side, which is to fight back against an attacker, so I trained myself to play the defending role, and Information Security scope led me to explore and use my skills dynamically.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Energetic. We never know what is going to happen, and we should always be prepared for the worst. I start my day by listening to security podcasts to know what the latest emerging threats are, and I discuss them with my team when I get to work. We have a team start, where we discuss and set an action list for the day.

Monitoring the network, working on ongoing security incidents, hunting for abnormal behaviour in the network and aligning with multiple teams outside the CISO department and helping them do business securely is what I enjoy day-to-day.

This is a typical day – when there is an attack, it is called a high security incident, and we team-up again to prioritise our tasks based on the impact that the attack might cause on the bank. We work dynamically, and as an Incident manager I have to lead the team during the incident by setting a plan on containing the attack and getting the business back up and running. We close the day with an end call where we shortly update the whole team on what happened over the day, and set up pending actions for the next day.

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Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you’d like to share with our readers?

One of the hottest topics today is Cloud technology. Working on security in cloud is something that is interesting and challenging for firms that embrace and move to this wonderful technology. Cloud made the lives of users very simple, but at the same time building security for hybrid cloud, keeping business and productivity in mind is quite a challenge. For me, as well as for most of the security folks today, building a rule that gives high percentage of true alerts is a strong urge and I am working on increasing the efficiency of such rules. This will spare lot of time for a security analyst who does an investigation.

Additionally, I love sharing my knowledge, so I visit universities and schools to give lectures, educate students on what is happening within the Cyber world and how one should protect themselves from becoming a victim of Cyber crime.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in tech? Is there anything you wish you knew when you started out?

Having a clear plan is an important phase to achieve anything. You choose your goal, plan on how you are going to proceed, train yourself for the essential and focus on what you want to specialise, always go deep into a technology. Success is blended with hard work.

When I started my first job, I wished to learn various scopes within Cyber Security, but I was not given an opportunity, so I did not wait for it but I went chasing for what I wanted and got it in the end. So do not wait for something to come to you, just go find it.

Why are women so crucial to the continued growth of the tech sector?

Woman are known to be multi-taskers, and that does not fail when it comes to multiple thought strategy. So I believe this skill could add more value and besides all that, all woman I meet who are in technology have a passion for their work, and the way they talk about it always gives me so much energy.