Making cybersecurity more accessible

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Making cybersecurity more accessible

Welcome to the new 138 cyber warriors who joined us last week. Each week, we'll be sharing insights from the Black Hat MEA community. Read exclusive interviews with industry experts and key findings from the #BHMEA stages.

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This week we’re focused on…

Startups and innovators who are making cybersecurity more accessible to people with disabilities, or those from groups that are digitally excluded


Because we wrote a blog post about developments in digital inclusion within the field of cybersecurity – and how there’s much more work to be done. 

So here, we want to highlight some of the people who are doing that work. And by extension, perhaps inspire more of the global cybersecurity community to invest in accessibility. 

Four startups that are doing the work

  1. Deque. An accessibility software company that’s advocating for integrating accessibility into cybersecurity products and services – with a clear understanding of how important it is to make security tooling usable for people with disabilities. On a podcast, Deque’s Director of Security Justin Merhoff explained that accessibility isn’t just good for users – it also provides a competitive advantage for cybersecurity firms.
  2. Speech Code. A Germany-based tech startup that’s taking QR codes and reimagining them from an accessibility slant. Through an app, users can scan QR codes to access digital information in different formats (for example, visual information becomes text or audio). As an idea, this has numerous potential use cases in cybersecurity – like providing critical security alerts in multiple formats.
  3. Mouse4all. A Spanish startup offering an app for users who are unable to interact with touch screens using their hands. Instead, the app enables a touchscreen to be controlled through alternative inputs – including joysticks, trackballs, or adapted mice. Again, it’s not specifically a cybersecurity company, but it opens up a world of possibilities for accessible tech development that cybersecurity product innovators could take note of.
  4. Neatebox. Not everyone is able to press a button. Neatebox created the Button app – which enables users to press physical buttons using their smartphones. Those buttons might be at pedestrian crossings, or elevator call buttons for example. It has obvious use cases for security (i.e. being able to digitally press a police panic button at home or at work); and it also highlights the potential of smart technology to help overcome barriers to entry across all working environments. 

Speaking of working environments – how accessible is a cybersecurity career? 

The cybersecurity sector faces a talent shortage, and people of diverse abilities could be an untapped pool to help overcome that. But that means the sector needs to be accessible to that diverse talent. 

Companies including Deloitte, EY, and Microsoft have been updating their HR policies to drive more recruitment of neurodiverse talent. But there’s more work to do to ensure that cybersecurity work is accessible and appealing to people who have conventionally been digitally excluded. 

Some sources highlight the challenges that disabled professionals face in cybersecurity; including discrimination, minimal accessibility in tools and training, and barriers to career advancement. 

Along with accessibility policies and relevant tools and training, we need to recognise the valuable skills and perspectives that people of all abilities and backgrounds can bring to cybersecurity – and create the conditions for everyone to be able to utilise their talent. 

What do you think?

We want to know how you think cybersecurity experts can contribute to improved accessibility, both for users of cybersecurity products, and for people with diverse abilities who want to work in cybersecurity. Open this newsletter on LinkedIn and tell us in the comment section – and we might get in touch about featuring your response in a future newsletter. 

Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 3 July 2024.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

Join us at Black Hat MEA 2024 to grow your network, expand your knowledge, and build your business.

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