Respect in Security: New Initiative to Eradicate Abuse and Harassment

Respect in Security: New Initiative to Eradicate Abuse and Harassment

More than a third of Information Security professionals have experienced harassment or abuse from their peers, according to a new study produced by Sapio Research.

Approximately 300 male, female, and non-binary industry professionals were polled across various age groups, levels of seniority, and organisation sizes. It found that 32% of respondents had experienced online harassment, with the majority of these taking place over Twitter (44%) and e-mail (37%).

And a similar number have experienced harassment in-person, with 36% occurring at industry events, 48% during work social events, and 47% in the office.

But a brand new initiative that launches today aims to eradicate this.

Respect in Security, founded by Lisa Forte from Red Goat Cyber Security and Rik Ferguson from Trend Micro, aims to tackle abuse and harassment, both online and in-person, in the security industry.

The RIS initiative allows organisations to formally pledge their commitment to ensuring their workplaces are professional and free from harassment. It also offers victims and potential victims knowledge and support from the community.

The initiative stemmed from a Cyber House Party panel, which highlighted the extent of the issue in the industry and the impact it has on the victims. During a recent event, they discussed the recent #infosecbikini story, in which an InfoSec professional received backlash from a Twitter troll for sharing a bikini photo.

“After the event, one of the founders of Cyber House Party, Mark Avery, and I had a conversation where we were both saying to each other ‘What can we do?’ What can we do as people who do not suffer abuse really within this industry? How can we make a concrete difference to this and how can we do our bit to stop this from happening in the future?”

RIS aims to empower people to voice their cases of abuse and harassment without “fear of retaliation,” and through their work, to expect an “immediate and respectful response” to their concerns, free of prejudice.

Lisa Forte added: “One thing we decided was that we do not want to create a situation where we are asking people to report on other people and create that kind of culture because that is not really consistent with what we want from the industry.

“However, the one thing that every single person can control is their own behaviour, and so that is why we thought that [the initiative] would be a nice spin-off for the individuals.”

Copyright Lyonsdown Limited 2021

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