There are a few select names in information security that are brands unto themselves. You say their name – maybe even their first name only – and most people know who you mean.
Chloé Messdaghi is one of those people. It’s impressive, particularly when you consider she is relatively young to the space – roughly a decade in, having spent a number of those years doing consulting while serving as a loud voice for the hacker community. But Messdaghi, who now serves as chief impact officer at Cybrary, gets attention for the very simple fact that she knows what she’s talking about.
It's true that Messdaghi has the technical know how, still advising numerous security teams on incident response plans. But she has also focused a great deal of time on advocacy and the people problems of security – from perpetual burnout to diversity. Last year, she worked with fellow researchers to showcase the increase of mental health issues across security teams leading to a revolving door across the industry. She also partnered with well know research universities to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across vulnerability disclosure and bug bounty programs and platforms.
That DEI research was presented this year that showcased discrimination and harassment were the reasons why women are leaving bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure forums. For many across the community, the findings were eye-opening.
Messdaghi co-created and launched the Open Tech Pledge – working to increase the representation of marginalized identities from less than 20% to greater than 50% for all levels in cybersecurity and tech by focusing on having representation of marginalized persons in leadership positions. And she established We Open Tech, a 501c3 nonprofit that pushes for all marginalized genders to have equity and equality in tech and cybersecurity globally by providing technical workshops and job opportunities.
“We cannot have gender equity and equality unless all genders are equal,” Messdaghi said on her website. “It’s time to support one another by providing career support and access for all marginalized genders to obtain any position and title while working in cybersecurity and tech.”