24 June 2022

Artemis Red Team Empowers Women, Trans and Nonbinary People in Cybersecurity

Synack

By Kim Crawley

The Artemis Red Team, a new subgroup within the Synack Red Team, was formed to encourage women, trans and nonbinary people to excel in their pentesting careers. There are vast numbers of untapped and underrepresented hacking talent in the world, and the Artemis Red Team is actively seeking these individuals out, giving them a home for mentorship and helping them develop their professional skills.

Members of the Synack Red Team, a large group of carefully vetted security researchers who conduct vulnerability testing and bug hunting engagements through the Synack Platform, play an integral role in improving the security of organizations and businesses of many different sizes and across many different industries. 

Women and other gender minorities’ representation remains disproportionately low in tech, which has long consisted mostly of men. For an organization committed to helping solve the cybersecurity skills gap, developing a program to openly welcome women, trans and nonbinary people only made sense. 

“It started from the idea that the women researchers should have their own space, their own group to boost interactions and create a safe place for discussions and guidance among the women,” said ART member BattleAngel (her handle on the Platform). “My involvement in the ART as a researcher and a mentor is that I get to share my knowledge with other women on this team.”

Investing Back into the Community with the Diana Initiative

The Synack Red Team is proud to be a 2022 Rainbow sponsor of the Diana Initiative, one of the most important events and organizations supporting women, trans and nonbinary people in cybersecurity, which takes place in Las Vegas on Aug. 10 and 11, conveniently around Black Hat USA and DEF CON.

During the 2015 DEF CON, a group of nine women came together to talk about their struggles in a male-dominated field and ways they could support one another. From that discussion, the Diana Initiative was born. 

The Artemis Red Team had a similar origin story in that the SRT community managers knew they needed to create a space just for women and gender minorities if they wanted to help grow the number of security researchers. The energy and momentum behind Artemis is palpable. You’ll see some excited Synack, Synack Red Team and Artemis Red Team people at the Diana Initiative this year. 

The Path to Equity 

According to (ISC)²’s Women In Cybersecurity report, women are 25% of the cybersecurity workforce. For the Synack Red Team, creating equitable opportunities for members means ensuring that Artemis members have the ability to level up their skills and learn from each other. Taking on tougher missions means a higher payout or reward. 

Mentorship is a huge aspect of the Artemis Red Team. Member BattleAngel said her proudest moment was being selected by the larger ART community as its top mentor.

“I am glad that they are able to reach out to me in case of any doubts or queries and I can help guide them,” she said. “I’ve always advocated a lot about empowering women and helping them grow their skills, through ART I have been able to do that for all the women in our team.”

To be a part of the Artemis Red Team, all you need is to have a strong skill set and go through the vetting process. BattleAngel described the type of support and development you receive as a member of ART:

“Even if you’re fairly new to this field, I would suggest you just keep your focus on learning more. There are multiple incentives that Synack provides to women researchers—be it in providing special access to targets or hosting various CTF challenges particularly for women researchers—so they can join this amazing team.”