Get to know this female Army commander who was nominated for ‘Cybersecurity Woman of the Year’ honors | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

A female battalion commander of the Philippine Army (PA) was adjudged as a finalist in one of the categories of the global “Cybersecurity Woman of the Year” Awards 2023. 

Lt. Col. Francel Margareth Padilla-Taborlupa (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army / Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards 2023 website)

Lt. Col. Francel Margareth Padilla-Taborlupa, commander of the Army’s 7th Signal Battalion, was included as among the three finalists for the “Cybersecurity Woman Leader of the Year 2023” category, making her the only Filipina to be nominated in the said competition that was participated by cybersecurity experts from 59 countries.

The Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards recognize women who lead the cybersecurity industry by “bringing innovation, inspiration, and talent development ideas into organizations around the world.” 

It is organized by the United Cybersecurity Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Roseville, California which recognizes outstanding women in the cybersecurity landscape. It “encourages a generation of female cyber defenders who are strong role models and contribute to protecting organizations and society.”

The Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards 2023 has nine categories namely: Cybersecurity Woman Leader of the Year, Cybersecurity Woman “Barrier Breaker” of the Year, Cybersecurity Woman Influencer of the Year, Cybersecurity Women Supporter of the Year, Cybersecurity Woman Hacker of the Year, Cybersecurity or Privacy Woman Law Professional, People’s Choice Award, Cybersecurity Woman Volunteer of the Year, and Cybersecurity Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.

Under the category Cybersecurity Woman Leader of the Year, finalists demonstrate “significant success in major cybersecurity initiatives.” Taborlupa is vying for the title against Americans Amy De Salvatore and Betsy Soehren Jones.

‘Cyber for Peace’ 

Taborlupa is the “driving force” behind the “Cyber for Peace”, an Army initiative which promotes the use of technology among communities for sustainable development through collaboration with different organizations and stakeholders. 

For such initiative and other undertakings in the military, Taborlupa bagged several recognitions for the Army. She was hailed as one of ASEAN’s Top 30 Women in Security in 2021, and included in the Top 10 Women in CyberSecurity Philippines in 2020.

An ‘ethical hacker’

According to Col. Xerxes Trinidad, PA spokesperson, the entire Army organization supports Taborlupa in her quest to bring home the award.

“Lt. Col. Taborlupa is an international lecturer, moderator, and panelist. She is a certified ethical hacker, certified secure computer user, and an experienced information technology professional with a demonstrated history of working in the Army Management Information Center catering to information system (IS) needs for the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Trinidad said on Friday, June 23.

Prior to being appointed as the commander of the Army’s 7th Signal Battalion, Taborlupa was assigned to the Presidential Communications Electronics Informations Systems Battalion where she underwent training to be an “ethical hacker.”

By being an ethical hacker, an individual uses his/her skills and knowledge to secure and improve the technology of different organizations.

“She used to work as the IS Officer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, wherein she spearheads the use of technology to mitigate the effects of COVID for the pandemic response of the Philippines,” Trinidad added.

Lt. Col. Taborlupa holds a degree in Bachelor of Science in Management, and became a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sanghaya” Class of 2000. She also holds three master’s degrees: Master in International Development Practice from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia; Masters in Information Systems from University of the Philippines; and Master in Public Management from the Development Academy of the Philippines. 

Trinidad encouraged the public to support Taborlupa by choosing her name in the online voting process until July 5.

The winners will be revealed at the gala night in Las Vegas, USA on August 8.


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