Harnessing women's instincts for better threat detection in cybersecurity

More cybersecurity professionals who are dedicated to safeguarding the country's cyber infrastructure are desperately needed in the Philippines in light of a concerning cyber hacking incident that affected both the public and private sectors.

Photo credit to Mel Migriño

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy brought attention to this problem in February, saying that there are about two million open positions in the government that are related to cybersecurity.



It is noteworthy that women have proven to be qualified in cybersecurity, especially in the cyber analytics and threat intelligence field.

Among them is Mel Migriño, a multi-awarded technology leader, international keynote speaker, and Southeast Asia Regional Director for Gogolook, a Trust-Tech company based in Taiwan.

"Cybersecurity will continue to be a very interesting career for some individuals as  technology continuously evolves and so are the vectors of attack espially with AI (artificial intelligence) now making malware and cyber attacks easy to launch.  However, for others, it may not be as appealing due to the stress it can induce when not properly managed, particularly to you (women in cybersecurity)," Migriño said in an interview with the Manila Bulletin.

"But such challenges shouldn’t serve as a hindrance," she pointed out.

Mel Migriño during the second phase of second phase of the "Online Bantay Lakbay" campaign on March 25, 2024 at the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) in Paranaque City. (Scam Watch Pilipinas/ Jocel De Guzman)

Migriño emphasized that for those aspiring to pursue a career in cybersecurity, thorough preparation is essential.

This preparation involves studying the norms, principles, and guidelines of the field, gaining access to laboratories to practice cyber knowledge and skills, and remaining open to change given the swift changes in technology.

Migriño wears many hats in the world of technology and security.

Apart from her role as Southeast Asia Regional Director and Country Representative for Gogolook where she oversees growth, markets  and compliance in the Philippines, she holds several other key positions.

She also serves as the Security Governance Director at the Global Anti Scam Alliance (GASA) in the Netherlands, supporting Asia.

Migriño is deeply committed to advancing women in security as the Chairperson and President of the Women in Security Alliance Philippines (WiSAP).

Moreover, she plays vital roles as an Executive Committee member of the ASEAN CIO Association for Women in Technology Chapter and as the Chairperson of the Board and President of the Philippines Chief Information Officer Association (PCIOA).

Migriño is also passionate about fostering inclusion in the technology industry, serving as a chapter leader for Women and Youth in Technology in the Philippines.

These mentioned responsibilities only scratch the surface of her extensive list of accomplishments.

"So aside from their technical skills, women should be catalysts, women should be influencers so that they can win the game in cybersecurity," she highlighted.


In recent years, the accolades for Migriño in the cybersecurity and information technology realms have been numerous and prestigious.

Notably, she was honored as the Cyber Woman of the Year and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of the Year by the Cybersecurity Awards in London in 2023, alongside being recognized as the Transformative Chief Information Officer (CIO) by ETCIO South East Asia (SEA) in both 2023 and 2022.

Mel 2024.jpg
Photo credit to Mel Migriño

Further highlighting her leadership, she was awarded as CIO 100 by the World CIO Series in 2023 and featured among the 100 Most Influential Women on LinkedIn in the same year.

Additionally, she was acclaimed as the CISO of the Year by Women in GRC in London in 2022 and included in the Top 100 Global Security Leaders by Corinium Global Intelligence, as well as the Top 1 CSO30 ASEAN Edition.

Migriño's influence extends beyond accolades, being recognized as the Top Woman in Security ASEAN in 2022 and a Global Influencer by the International Security Journal (ISJ), with mentions in Technology Magazine, Energy Digital and Cyber Magazine.

She was also ranked Top 2 in the CSO30 ASEAN Edition in 2021 and gained prominence as a top influencer in the Security Executives category in the IFSEC Global Influencer rankings in 2021 and 2020.

'Very strong intuition'

Migriño emphasized the natural inclinations of women that could prove to be highly beneficial for cybersecurity.

"Women have a very strong intuition and they are very good at analyzing the end-to-end modus operandi of these cyber attackers or cyber fraudsters," she said.

"Hence, women will become a valuable asset if they embark on a career in cybersecurity," she added.

On March 8, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) launched "Gawad Hiraya and Kursong Siber" (Hiraya Award and Cyber Course).

These courses are designed to equip women with skills in areas such as social media analytics, digital forensics, and data privacy.



"Women can do ethical hacking, but I guess that one thing that women bring so much value to the table is the cyberthreat intelligence specifically because of their inherent attributes of women - which are being intuitive, meticulous, analytical and hard working,"  Migriño said.

"Kudos to all women who aspire to be better in what they do, may you continue to empower more women and children towards a better world for all," she added.