As a member of the NKU Cyber Defense Team, Ally Frame has to think like a hacker. During simulation competitions, she has to protect and defend against “cybercriminals” trying to access a computer network in a variety of ways. From viruses to phishing attacks to hacking incidents, she’s trained to spot whatever can compromise network security.
Ally, a computer information technology student with minors in information security, computer forensics and information systems, is a fierce competitor. She’s also the only woman on her eight-person team. She came into the field later than most of her male peers, but that won’t stop her from pursuing her career.
“Hey, I can do this, too,” she says. “I can learn, and I can keep up with these guys.”
Ally’s experience on the Cyber Defense Team gives her real-world skills, which she uses both at home, in Greater Cincinnati for Great American Insurance Group’s security department and in St. Louis, where she’s interning with MasterCard’s computer forensics team for the third year in a row this summer. In the latter role, Ally receives security operations alerts and examines symptoms reported by the user. She pulls logs to prove there was (or wasn’t) an attack, show where it came from and explain how to contain it.
“I’m basically a crime scene investigator,” she says.