How do you become a cyber threat analyst at the Leonardo Global Security Operation Centre (SOC)? You don't always need a degree in computer engineering or even a past life as a hacker. In fact, the story of Giada, a cyber security analyst at the SOC in Chieti, illustrates how an education in humanities, a keen curiosity, flexibility, intuition and constant openness to new stimuli can make all the difference.
Born in 1991, Giada joined Leonardo's Cyber & Security in 2019, with an academic career in sociology and security policies behind her. This background has allowed her to make an innovative contribution to her team's cyber threat monitoring and prevention operations, successfully identifying and thwarting cyber-attacks with speed and effectiveness. For Giada, this high-level role in the constantly evolving world of cyber security, a field in which Leonardo is a technological leader, “was a dream come true”. “Working at Leonardo means improving and developing a closer understanding of the direction that technological development and the market are going in.”
The SOC in Chieti, where most of the Leonardo group’s cyber security activities are based, protects 7,000 networks and 100,000 users in a good 130 countries. A task that has become increasingly strategic in the digital age, which also requires significant passion and dedication: “You never switch off from this job because you’ve always got to be ready for an emergency”, explains Giada. Not least was the one unleashed in the early months of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, with the repeated attacks from cyber threat actors, presumably attributable to the Kremlin, and aimed at sabotaging Western websites, media and critical infrastructure. On that occasion Giada and her colleagues stood watch, in their daily mission to intercept every threat emanating from the dark web.
The work of a security analyst is certainly unlike any other job: “It is not like other areas of the company where the work is project based. In Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) every process, analysis and study is an interesting project that changes every time.” Spending the entire day in front of a screen, cross-referencing sensitive key words and surveying the internet for threats that need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis may sound dull and boring, but “a security analyst is constantly under pressure,” stresses Giada. “We’re hyper-connected and constantly dealing with streams of data that need to be interpreted”, in every single instant, whatever the time of day.
Fundamental aspects of Giada's personality are undoubtedly her flexibility and great curiosity about the world of cyber security, a world that completely engrosses her even in her spare time. “In one way or other, all of my personal hobbies and interests have contributed to my personal role within the Cyber Threat Intelligence group, not only in terms of knowledge but also in terms of the challenges, commitment and dedication.”