Author Maria Genova has a mission: to make as many people and organizations as possible resilient against hackers and data breaches. Because of her enthusiasm, knowledge and interactive approach, she has become one of the most sought-after speakers in the field of privacy and cybercrime.
speakers in the field of privacy and cybercrime. "Most hackers are not that smart at all," she says. "The problem is
that many employees don't know how they work, making them an easy target.
How do you make it clear to employees that even the best IT department in the world can’t protect them if they use weak passwords or click on wrong links? The damage of such a click or password can amount to millions. Municipality of Hof van Twente, for example, was hacked by the password Welkom2020. After that nothing worked anymore.
Restoring all systems will take years and the costs are estimated at three to four million euros. Many Dutch companies pay hundreds of thousands of euros to millions to the hackers in order not to go bankrupt. Cybercrime is growing explosively and now affects all sectors: municipalities, education, hospitals, SMEs, etc. Employees are the only ones who can prevent it, but often they don’t know how.
They have never received practical tips for remembering dozens of strong passwords, nor do they recognize the better phishing emails. With her interactive presentation ‚Komt een vrouw bij de h@cker‘ Maria Genova became the most requested female speaker in the Netherlands. Because she is not an IT-er herself, she explains everything in a simple and understandable way.
Because of the humor she uses in her lectures, her message sticks for a long time. After more than a hundred webinars, she now knows how to make them so interactive that the participants have an almost live experience.
„I always find it super fun to hear the reactions afterwards,“ Maria says. „People often say that they are shocked, but that they also learned an incredible amount in just an hour. Most people write that they found it an eye-opener, that it should be mandatory for all colleagues who have not participated, that they will also tell their parents or children the tips, etc. I really enjoy giving these lectures. With a little more knowledge you will be unhackable, simply because hackers, just like regular thieves, look for the easiest way to get in somewhere. Make it a little more difficult for them and they’ll move right on to the next one. A lot of organizations get hacked by accident.‘
Every few months, Maria creates a cyber quiz based on new trends, hacks and data breaches. Anyone who wants can request the quizzes through her website or social media. „It’s pretty good to test your knowledge, because this is kind of the problem with cybercrime: many people overestimate their knowledge. During my interactive lectures and webinars, 70 percent of the answers are wrong. And I don’t mind that at all, as long as they know it at the end.“
Source: ACADEMY Magazine 2021-2022 [Translated]