How To Think Like Your Enemy
Here's Laura Mather's own answer to an interview question she poses to job applicants at her website security firm (which works with ING Direct and StubHub, among others). Silver Tail Systems uniquely maps all users' behavior at a site--then spots the crooks.
To do that, Mather needs a team that can think like the bad guys. "Before I meet a prospective new client, I essentially do what criminals would do," she says. When she unveils how she and her team could unhinge a prospect's site, "people usually say, ‘Wow, yeah, we need what you have.' "
Earns PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado
Joins National Security Agency as a research mathematician
Joins eBay to work on phishing and fraud defense; designs and sponsors the world's first online real-time fraud-fighting tools
eBay/PayPal moves down from #1 to #2 on phishers’ list of most desirable targets
Becomes the Managing Director of Operational Policy for the AntiPhishing Working Group
Comes up with the idea that would become Silver Tail Systems
Silver Tail begins winning a number of awards as an up-and-coming tech company
Secures $20 million Series B funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz
Gives birth to son Alex Eynon; Silver Tail grows from 15 to 70 employees during the pregnancy
A version of this article appears in the June 2012 issue of Fast Company.