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What Do Simone Biles and Cybersecurity Pros Have in Common?



No one’s immune from being hacked–especially not a high-profile Olympian like Simone Biles, who understands firsthand what it is wish to undergo not one, however two separate breaches. 

That helps clarify why Biles, 25, will likely be one of many new faces for the Controlling Complexity marketing campaign from Axonius, a New York-based cybersecurity asset administration agency that desires to highlight the human ingredient of cybersecurity. 

“I think we have a very one-dimensional view these days about what cybersecurity people are,” explains Dean Sysman, co-founder and CEO of Axonius. In Sysman’s view, frequent imagery related to cybersecurity usually attracts upon stereotypes of individuals clad in hoodies and glued to their keyboards, stationed in darkish rooms.

While working at a unique cybersecurity startup, Sysman and his group recognized a nation-state attacker lurking about on the corporate’s community. But reasonably than celebrating the discover, the corporate mentioned that it might “never be able to figure out what device that is,” main Sysman to understand the difficulties firms face with machine identification. 

Axonius, based in 2017, helps safety groups navigate danger by serving to them handle an array of gadgets and different cybersecurity belongings by its platform. Among the corporate’s clientele are the New York Times, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, and Schneider Electric.

Still, it invitations the query, what does a cybersecurity asset administration agency aiming to humanize the sector have in frequent with a gymnastics star, even when that star has been hacked?

Despite the bizarre pairing, the answer is fairly easy: resilience. 

“Throughout our lives, we’ll all share adversity and complexity over the course,” Biles tells Inc. “And the ability to persevere through that is what really makes a strong system.”

“We both share complexity,” Biles provides. “Even if it’s in our own different worlds, we both go through it.”

Those working in cybersecurity fend off inbound threats every day and function a frontline for his or her organizations. The variety of weekly cyberattacks in 2021 elevated by 50 p.c from 2020, in line with analysis from the San Carlos, California-based Checkpoint Research Technologies, a safety agency.

Cybersecurity professionals persevere towards new challenges every day, one thing that Biles can relate to all too effectively. She skilled her first breach as a 19-year-old, when Russian hackers leaked her medical records–along with different star athletes comparable to Serena and Venus Williams–during the 2016 Olympics. The hackers reportedly broke into the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) database that contained athletic medical information, which revealed that Biles had obtained a medical exemption to take banned substances. Biles has a prescription for methylphenidate–Ritalin–to deal with her ADHD.

At the time, she says she did not perceive why individuals have been so preoccupied together with her medical information. But wanting again, she displays on how invasive it was to be hacked within the first place. “How can people do that?” she asks.

The second hack occurred round 2019, when Biles was at apply. She knew one thing was amiss when she acquired locked out of all her social media accounts. The breach of private privateness alone makes getting hacked a nightmare. Then add in different issues, comparable to identification theft, fraud, and, in Biles’s case, being within the public eye. As a public determine, her social media can be a part of her job. 

“If I’m supposed to post something for one of my partnerships–that’s really important to me,” she explains. “But if somebody hacked my account, how can I do that?” 

Through the marketing campaign, Sysman hopes to convey understanding to the resilient nature of cybersecurity professionals by Axonius’s distinctive twist of partnering with public figures who’ve overcome complicated challenges. Chief advertising and marketing officer Nathan Burke factors to a quote that is too accustomed to the group: “Cybersecurity professionals are mental athletes who have no off-season.”

Biles is not the one athlete to connect with Axonius’s marketing campaign. The CrossFit champion Amy Bream, who was born with no proper leg, can be concerned. Along with Biles, the 2 will talk about how they every tackle complexity of their lives in a video collection that is housed on an Axonius video platform. They can even make appearances on podcasts and in-person occasions.

And Axonius teases that there could also be extra star energy to come back because it appears to broaden the marketing campaign. 

“We want to highlight the fact that–like professional athletes–cybersecurity professionals are human beings doing complex work and face incredible challenges,” Burke says. “As both Simone’s and Amy’s stories demonstrate, everyone will face adversity at some point in their lives, but it’s how we respond to that complexity that defines us.”



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