Rebekah started out in traditional military intelligence work, focused on Chinese cryptologic linguistics. She was then selected to cross-train as a network warfare analyst, which provided the opportunity to fuse her understanding of language and culture with network defense. "I loved the ability to combine different aspects of intelligence and apply it in ways that many people in the intelligence community were just beginning to understand," she says.
Rebekah has since provided threat intelligence for all types of security programs ranging from national security operations to state and local governments and Fortune 500 companies. She currently works for Apple focusing on Security Engineering and Architecture. She is also a course instructor and student mentor at SANS, where she teaches FOR578: Cyber Threat Intelligence, a course she co-authored. She is also co-author along with SANS Instructor Scott Roberts of the book Intelligence Driven Incident Response.
In her day-to-day work, Rebekah spends a lot of time focused on understanding intelligence sources, conducting multiple levels of analysis, and explaining what intelligence means and how it can be used to a variety of audiences.
"Regardless of their specific role, all three of these actions are things my students will have to do, most likely on a daily basis," says Rebekah. "Understanding intelligence and its implications and being able to convey that knowledge at different levels are skills that will help make any cyber threat intelligence analyst successful."
A highlight of Rebekah's career was providing a briefing at the White House on the future of cyber warfare and coordinated defensive and offensive cyber operations. "This coordination was something I strongly advocated during my time in DoD cyber operations with the Marine Corps," says Rebekah. "I'm happy to report that the idea has been widely adopted."
A dedicated mentor, Rebekah is most proud of the success achieved by the co-workers she supported throughout her career.
"Intelligence work requires a team with diverse backgrounds to be successful, but I found that those without a strong background in computer science often felt that they did not have the experience needed to contribute to the team," she explains. "I love helping co-workers and students understand how their previous experience ties into what they are learning, and providing them with tools and resources that they can go back and use at their jobs on day one."
Rebekah has an associate's degree in Chinese Mandarin and a bachelor's degree in international relations, and she is finishing her master's degree in homeland security with a cybersecurity focus as well as a graduate certificate in intelligence analysis.
In her free time, Rebekah enjoys hiking, camping and snowboarding. She also plays the baritone ukulele and is an outfielder for her kickball league in Portland, Oregon. However, Rebekah is never too far from the work she loves. Hailing from a family of engineers, she notes that a common family discussion over Thanksgiving dinner might include implementation of PLCs in waste water treatment labs and the security needed for it!
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY REBEKAH BROWN: