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HistoryJul 06, 2022 - 6:00 p.m.

[Security Nation] Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso on the Results of the UK Government’s Security Culture Challenge

2022-07-0618:00:00
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Security Nation Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso on the Results of the UK Government’s Security Culture Challenge

In this episode of Security Nation, Jen and Tod are joined again by Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso of the UK Cabinet Office for a follow-up on the cybersecurity culture challenge they launched in 2021. Pete and Irene run us through the results, what kinds of interventions participants came up with, and what has them excited about building a more resilient government security culture in the years to come.

Stick around for our Rapid Rundown, where Tod and Jen talk about a recent write-up that takes a deep dive into a curious form of phishing: pig-butchering scams. Spoiler: They have nothing to do with actual pigs but everything to do with highly specific text messages from numbers you don’t recognize.

Pete Cooper

Security Nation Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso on the Results of the UK Government’s Security Culture Challenge

Pete is Deputy Director Cyber Defence within the Government Security Group in the UK Cabinet Office where he looks over the whole of the Government sector and is responsible for the Government Cyber Security Strategy, standards, and policies, as well as responding to serious or cross-government cyber incidents. With a diverse military, private sector, and government background, he has worked on everything ranging from cyber operations, global cybersecurity strategies, advising on the nature of state-versus-state cyber conflict to leading cybersecurity change across industry, public sector and the global hacker community, including founding and leading the Aerospace Village at DEF CON. A fast jet pilot turned cyber operations advisor, who on leaving the military in 2016 founded the UK’s first multi-disciplinary cyber strategy competition, he is passionate about tackling national and international cybersecurity challenges through better collaboration, diversity, and innovative partnerships. He has a Post Grad in Cyberspace Operations from Cranfield University. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Scowcroft Centre for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Dept of War Studies, King’s College London.

Irene Pontisso

Security Nation Pete Cooper and Irene Pontisso on the Results of the UK Government’s Security Culture Challenge

Irene is Assistant Head of Engagement and Information within the Government Security Group in the UK Cabinet Office. Irene is responsible for the design and strategic oversight of cross-government security education, awareness, and culture-related initiatives. She is also responsible for leading cross-government engagement and press activities for Government Security and the Government Chief Security Officer. Irene started her career in policy and international relations through her roles at the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). Irene also has significant industry and third sector experience, and she partnered with the world’s leading law firms to provide free access to legal advice for NGOs on international development projects. She also has experience in leading large-scale exhibitions and policy research in corporate environments. She holds a MSc in International Relations from the University of Bristol and a BSc from the University of Turin.

Show notes

Interview links

Rapid Rundown links

  • Check out the article on so-called pig-butchering scams.

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