Episode 118 – Meet cyber twins @noushinshbb @NegarShbb #womenincyber #malware #analysis #appsec

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Noushin Shabab and Negar Shabab

Meet twins, Noushin Shabab and Negar Shabab, perhaps, the only twins in Australia specialising in cybersecurity. Noushin is a malware researcher with Kaspersky Lab and Negar is an Application Security consultant with PS&C Group.

These twins grew up attending a special school for whiz kids and are now slowly making their mark in education and the industry to bridge the country’s cybersecurity talent shortage. From the age of 11 years when first using a computer, the two recall growing up, taking turns to make ‘escape room’ versions in their home to see who could find an escape at the fastest time. These early childhood memories developed a fascination with solving problems, especially with puzzles and board games. When they reached middle school, the two learnt computer programming which nurtured a deeper interest in programming.

In high school they frequently competed in a number of national programming contests and managed to sit on within the top 3 positions for a few. It was around this time, they realised they wanted to pursue a career in computing and did a degree in programming and computing in university.

These identical twins are perhaps just of a few Australians with a niche in reverse engineering. Based out of the Melbourne office at Kaspersky Lab, Noushin says, “In 2016 when I first started looking for a job in this field, I noticed how large the skill gap shortage of security researchers were in Australia. However, since the attack that caused Census (Australian Bureau Of Statistics) to shut down and Wanna Cry ransomware, the government and education ministries found it crucial to grow a new breed of students and professionals in the field of cybersecurity. Her older sister by a few minutes, Negar adds, “Our new projects and partnerships with these universities and are very exciting as both parties can truly make a difference for this industry.”

This interview was recorded in Sydney on 18 October, 2018.

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