This story is a part of “We Are Argo,” an ongoing series featuring unique stories and diverse experiences from Argo AI employees. Read more about “We Are Argo” and meet additional members of the Argo team here.
Do not be fooled by Bryanna’s easy going personality, love of dogs, or the fact that her hobbies include baking and knitting. In reality, she is an enforcer. Trained in self-defense, she practices jiu jitsu in her spare time. But her real enemies lurk in cyberspace: black hats, Trojans, zombie computers, botnets, and other assorted dregs of the dark web.
Crime-fighting is in Bryanna’s DNA. With close family in law enforcement, she was always interested in security growing up. “But I didn’t know what shape that would take. Police officer? FBI agent?” Her interest in digital security developed after she got a graduate degree in international relations and studied the link between geopolitical conditions and cybercrime. “Now we take it for granted that these things are related, but in 2011 that idea was pretty revolutionary.”
After graduating, she cut her teeth at a cyber security non-profit. Then a major bank hired her to help root out online financial fraud. After that, she moved to a social media company’s “e-crime division,” where she helped expose an underground market in fake user accounts.
Bryanna landed at Argo last year. The company’s mission immediately captivated her. “I thought it was very exciting to help build something that would potentially revolutionize society,” she says. She also was proud to work for a company committed to empowering women in an industry where they are typically underrepresented. Four of the nine people in her division are women, including the company’s Chief Information Officer, Summer Craze Fowler. “We can definitely do better as an industry, but I know that Argo is making a conscious effort to improve the numbers,” she says.
Bryanna’s team often operates by thinking like an adversary to anticipate and thwart threats before the bad guys do. She partners with Argo’s engineering teams to put security measures in place, not just in the software, but also on the hardware level, to make sure the security system is airtight.
Her efforts also extend to defending Argo’s network from cyberattacks. And one of the best ways to train and educate employees about cyber threats is to actually simulate a phishing attack. Bryanna says Argo’s staff understand the purpose of these exercises. “In that moment we seem like adversaries, but when they step back they realize that we’re here to protect them and the company. And without that security, we can’t accomplish any of the important things we’re trying to do.”