This episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast is the fifth installment in this first season of the Hacker Valley Blue series, and features guest Susan Peediyakkal, an expert in building threat intelligence programs. Susan is a cyber threat intelligence consultant, the founder of BSides Sacramento, and a member of the advisory boards for several cybersecurity companies. She joins hosts Ron and Chris to speak to her background, the future of threat intelligence, and much more.
Susan first details her background, running through the highlights of her approximately 16 years in cybersecurity, which have focused mostly on threat intelligence. Susan began her career in the air force, and is still a reservist. She worked with radar, and eventually decided to cross-train and branch into IT. The following years saw her in a number of roles with various organizations, and move decisively into the threat intelligence field. Eventually, Susa noticed that her career trajectory was moving her toward building threat intelligence programs for government entities. She built programs for such varied clients as the government of Abu Dhabi, USPS, US courts, and industry leaders. She recently paused her work to pursue further education, but has since returned to work as a threat intelligence practitioner..
As the conversation continues, Ron and Chris ask Susan to share insights on several topics. The group considers the importance of community and a human element within the threat intelligence field, ways Susan has faced misconceptions when starting threat intelligence programs, the concept of unhackability, and what stakeholders outside the field get wrong about it. Returning to a topic that has been forefront on Ron and Chris’s minds recently, Susan also shares about bias in her line of work and how threat intelligence analysts go wrong in dealing with it. Moving into more personal topics, the group discusses Susan’s podcast-worthy voice, clarity, and articulation. Susan explains how experts in threat intelligence can cultivate a new wave of speakers, and the conversation ends with a look at what the future holds for both Susan and the field of threat intelligence.
1:40 - Listeners are introduced to the episode and today’s guest, Susan Peediyakkal; Susan then shares her background.
5:41 - The group considers the importance of community, misconceptions Susan has noticed about her field, and the artistry and human element of threat intelligence.
16:02 - What kind of bias is Susan running into, and where do analysts go wrong with regard to bias?
21:38 - Susan addresses the term “unhackable.”
24:35 - Susan and her hosts turn to matters of podcasting, voice, and speaking.
31:40 - What do people outside the field get wrong about it?
33:48 - What’s the future look like for Susan, her field, and the workforce?