Women in Cyber: Protecting Indonesia's citizens
By Shirley Tay
Interview with Taruli, Sub-Coordinator for Agencies and Public Report on Negative Content, Ministry of Communications and Informatics, Indonesia.
Tell us more about your role. How do you protect the digital realm and improve citizens’ lives?
I work as Sub-Coordinator for Agencies and Public Report on Negative Content at the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Informatics. I receive daily reports from the public on internet content violating the laws which include phishing, fraud links, illegal lending providers, terrorism content, and other harmful materials. Our team’s work focuses on improving the citizens’ lives by ensuring that harmful materials are inaccessible for the public by preventing them from becoming victim of the cybercrime and cybersecurity threat.
What sparked your interest in cybersecurity?
Coming from a legal education background, I understand how cybersecurity is related to almost every aspect of our life nowadays, similar to how the law is involved in our daily activities. Such similarity sparks my interest to learn cybersecurity as I understand how important cybersecurity is, especially seeing how our world is becoming more connected at present. Additionally, I also found that the number of women representatives in this field is still limited, thus I intend to also encourage fellow women to be more involved in cybersecurity world. It ain’t easy, but it is worth it.
What has been the most impactful project of your career?
I found that all the projects and tasks assigned to me are impactful, as our team stands in the frontline of guarding the public from internet’s harmful effect. Cybersecurity has sparked my interest since the beginning of my career at the Ministry. In 2012, I was assigned at the information security division. At the time, my team and I were not responsible for handling negative content management yet. In 2016, we started to receive a bigger responsibility to filter negative internet content, especially those related to e-business. I think one of the notable events was in 2018, when our team was given an even wider responsibility in negative content handling as a sub-directorate.
What challenges would you like to take on in the next year?
For me and my team, every day is a new challenge, a new impact with the same purpose for the betterment of the nation and its people. Especially with the growth of internet that is very dynamic, we are faced with the necessity to maintain our work performance, while ensuring the governance of the system, education of the people, and cooperation with other stakeholders to support our effort in protecting the nation.
Who or what inspired you this year, and why?
I always see my mom as my inspiration. I always look up to her as someone who works so hard and diligently. She is my role model for every aspect of my life. Specifically on cybersecurity world, I admire most of the leaders in my ministry and department that I have had the chance to interact with. Especially those who are capable to bring prompt impact, in tactical way while remaining compliant to the rules and laws in a government setting. They have been inspirational to me on carrying out the duties and tasks assigned to me.
What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in cybersecurity?
Don’t think too much, just do it. The field cybersecurity is very dynamic so eventually we all will learn by doing. I myself have no technical background, but since cybersecurity touches every aspect of our life, at some point you will face cybersecurity issue, in positive way I hope, which may be your first entry point to the cybersecurity issue.
If you could sum up your life motto in one sentence, what would it be?
“Just do your best, don’t ever stop learning, and focus on how your work could contribute to improving the life of many people”.