Cheryl Torano | Abertay University

Cheryl Torano

Ethical Hacking student

Cheryl Torano

Cheryl is a fourth-year Ethical Hacking student and has carried out ground-breaking work showing how an innocent child’s toy can be open to a cyber attack. She transformed the ‘Cayla’ doll into an offensive ‘talking Chucky’ doll, using 'frighteningly easy’ hacking techniques.

Tell us about your career…

For the first 10 years of my career, I worked my way up from an office junior to office manager in a recycling company. I’d always had a passion for computers so I knew that was the way I wanted to go. I completed an HND in computer networking at Dundee College and I was the only girl in the class. I was getting used to it – I had been the only girl in the recycling firm and then moved into another field where women were a definite minority. Most guys have been okay with it but there can still be a general attitude.

It can be hard to juggle having two kids and studying, especially at assessment time but it’s all for the good of my children. Hopefully they have seen their mum do it and then they can go even further than me. They can see I am working hard at something I have a passion for.

Inspired by…

My lecturer, Natalie Coull has absolutely inspired me. She is brilliant and has given me the confidence and opportunity to try all these new things. She has made me realise how far I’ve come and how much I have learned. She is confident in herself and has instilled that in me.

Advice for young women…

Society is screaming out for ethical hackers. They need you. Girls should not be put off because of any stereotypes. Let’s be role models for other women.

International Women’s Day…

It promotes all the great things that women do. There are so many amazing women out there working in typically male fields. We’ve still got a long way to go but we need women to get out there and do it