Hannah Rice

“In cyber security you have to put yourself in the hacker’s mind. … just thinking about how and where they might launch an attack is fascinating.”
Hannah Rice profile image
Hannah Rice profile image

Cyber Security Officer - Public Transport Authority, Western Australia

Background: Retail

“The more connected rail systems become the more important it is to have the right protocols and processes in place to secure data and protect against hackers.

In cyber security you have to put yourself in the hacker’s mind. How would they break in? What tools would they use? Just thinking about how and where they might launch an attack is fascinating.

The job varies from day to day but ultimately, we want to make sure the networks that connect people and places are secure from scammers, viruses, spyware. This means monitoring the systems and ensuring any potential threats are flagged and addressed as required.

Part of my job is looking for unknown vulnerabilities – these are sometimes called zero days – and are something hackers might use as an entry point. We want to discover them before they do.

I was working in retail after leaving school. But when I became a mum, I realised that I wanted to be a good role model for my son, and to show him that whatever you want to be, you can do it.

I had a degree in contemporary performance and theatre studies when I got a Women in STEM Defence scholarship and went back to study a Bachelor of Science (Cyber Security) at Edith Cowan University.

Cyber security is a very male-dominated sector. I had a bad experience during my first stint working in retail and was a little nervous coming into an office full of men. But the rail industry has been very different. I am still the only woman in the cyber security team, but everyone is so keen to help and answer any questions I might have.

Some women in cyber security don’t want their gender to be a focus. But I want to talk about it because I want to be able to bring more women in. It’s a great job for women whether you are a new graduate, or a mum looking to return to study and re-enter the workforce.

You don’t need to be a computer whizz to pick it up. There is training to learn what you need to know.

It’s quite a surprise to find myself working in rail. It wasn’t a place I considered when I thought about working in cyber security. But times have changed. Twenty years ago, the idea a business had to protect itself against cyber-attack was laughable for most industries. Now it's super important that every business is aware of the risk.

It will be interesting see what threats cyber criminals come up with in the next five to 10 years and how we have to adapt to stop them.

The underlying threat makes the job exciting. Having said that, it’s a very calm environment in the office. I enjoy coming to work, and I get free train travel.”


To find out more about how to start and progress a career in cyber security check out our training pathways pages.