Equifax leads the fight against cybercriminals

From ethical hacker to cybercrime cop, Sulata Bhattacharjee is dedicated to ensuring that our digital lives and data are safe and secure.

But his life could have been very different. Now head of security and risk consulting at Equifax, Sulata tells finance editor Gemma Acton in the new Game Changers series how she was able to build a life away from her family’s humble origins in rural India.

Sulata Bhattacharjee is a woman with an ambitious mission. It is a leader in the fight against sophisticated cybercriminals and implements best cybersecurity practices to keep our data safe.

Sulata’s career began over 20 years ago when she was dropped from her promotion to become an ethical hacker.

“I was the only graduate in my cohort when I joined one of the big four consulting firms. So they naturally pulled me into the ethical hacking team, which is a highly technical team that breaks into computer systems to identify vulnerabilities. I then moved into management consulting, eventually landing in the field of security consulting,” says Sulata.

Equifax Sulata
Sulata Bhattacharjee – Head of Security and Risk Consulting at Equifax

In 2021, cybercrime accounted for $33 billion in losses for Australian businesses, which translates to an attack every eight minutes. As head of security and risk consulting at Equifax, it’s Sulata’s job to help the company fortify itself against victims of cybercrime.

“We continuously monitor the cyber threat landscape and ensure that we are addressing and mitigating these threats. Today, cybercrime is a form of organized crime with project managers, KPIs and call centers. It’s not just a person with a hoodie in the bedroom anymore. There’s a lot of money in data, sometimes called the “new oil”, and tools and techniques readily available on the dark web that can allow people to access that data.

Sulata says education and awareness are key to winning the fight. The same goes for transparency and collaboration.

“Security is a team sport. It is very important that we share the learnings we have had over the years. As Head of Security and Risk Consulting, my team and I need to make sure people understand how they can secure their systems and make sure we proactively identify these cyber risks,” adds Sulata.

The Equifax team
Equifax Team

Equifax received the Highly Commended award for “Best Safe Workplace for Women” at last year’s Australian Women in Security Awards. It is Equifax’s commitment to diversity and financial inclusion that Sulata is particularly proud of.

“Financial inclusion is really important to me, and I want to make sure it’s not just accessible to the privileged but to everyone. Cybersecurity plays an important role in keeping people financially secure. If you are a victim of cybercrime, rebuilding your credit and identity profile can be a waste of time, money and sanity, and it could even prevent you from accessing the credit you need at important times of life.

“My mother was born in a small rural village in India, without running water or electricity. Therefore, I did not lose sight of the fact that I could very easily have been part of this community if she had not moved to Australia. I could have been part of the unbanked population without access to credit, educational opportunities or even the ability to buy property or travel.

“It’s one of the reasons I’m so invested in Equifax’s mission to make financial inclusion a possibility for all Australians,” says Sulata.

For more stories about inspiring women working in STEM, check out:

Data expert Zoe Condliffe wins Telstra award for making the world safer for women

Dr Pip Karoly receives Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

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