I love my job. I never do the same thing twice. Every day is a new challenge, and one that forces me to expand my skill set.
Megan Kaczanowski
Threat Intelligence Lead, Americas, S&P Global
New York, NY, USA
Meet Megan, bad guy tracker and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

What motivated you to start a career in threat intelligence?
When I was 15 I read an article in Wired about disappearing in the digital age. Writer Evan Ratliff attempted to shed his identity and hide from a legion of internet searchers who were trying to hunt him down in exchange for $5,000. The hunters were using publicly available data - geotags from photos, social media accounts, past addresses and friends, etc. I was fascinated by the idea of being able to track someone down purely based on public data, as well as the idea of being able to successfully vanish in such a technologically inter-connected world. When I realized that this type of research was a full-time job, not just a side project, I knew I wasn’t interested in doing anything else.
How do you stay on top of what you need to know to think like an attacker and catch the bad guys?
I typically start my workday by reviewing a number of intelligence sources - open source intelligence (newspapers, blogs, Twitter, etc.), information sharing groups populated by other security folks, government-provided data, and security vendor alerts (often threat intelligence specific security vendors). This review helps me decide what to focus on first - has there been a breaking news story that will impact my organization? A new vulnerability that we need to assess? Geopolitical tensions which may cause cyber retaliation measures?
Threat intelligence is a fascinating field because it falls at the intersection of several disciplines - economics, public policy, computer science, networking.
Describe the contribution to the security community you are most proud of.
Last year, I founded, with the help of some incredible women, a Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Affiliate in New York. We aim to host high quality training that is open and welcoming for all, and create opportunities for folks to connect. It’s been one of the best things I’ve worked on in the past year, as I’ve been able to meet some incredible women (and men) across the industry. We’ve been able to help students find jobs, offer helpful training, and connect folks who otherwise wouldn’t have met – in a safe, supportive environment. I also enjoy creating security-related content for Free Code Camp, a non-profit which works to help make technology education accessible to all, volunteering with New York Cares, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Read Ahead Mentors.
What skills will help someone succeed in a threat intelligence career?
Curiosity and persistence are some of the most important qualities. Threat intelligence has some really interesting moments, but often to get to the ‘ah ha’ moment, there might be hours, days, or weeks of slogging through leads that are dead ends. You need to be curious in order to find new avenues to explore in order to solve a problem, and persistence to continue looking for new avenues as initial ideas don’t work out.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in this field?
Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. In order to keep up, you need to have a deep passion for the work that you do. Everyone has side projects they’re working on, books they’re reading, or content they’re creating. You should do the same - figure out what you are passionate about and get involved - create a GitHub repository, write a blog, join a Capture the Flag team, or go to tech meetups in your city. If you’re looking to get into Threat Intelligence and have questions, I’m always happy to chat. You can reach me on twitter @megansdoingfine
Fun Facts
Who are your heroes?
Brooklyn 99's Rosa Diaz, Hermione Granger, and Lisbeth Salander
Favorite hobby?
Anything that gets me active and outside
Any hidden talents?
I bake really great bread
Do you have a motto?
You can learn anything on the internet
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