Women in Security: Building a Female InfoSec Community in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan

Conference:  BlackHat USA 2019



The presentation discusses the efforts of a women-only cybersecurity workshop and community in Taiwan, including their focus on teaching from the basics, providing CTF challenges, and facilitating networking. They also discuss their collaboration with the Ghost in the Shell franchise for a women-only CTF competition and their efforts to connect women in the InfoSec field to build a community.
  • Women-only cybersecurity workshop and community in Taiwan
  • Focus on teaching from the basics and providing CTF challenges
  • Collaboration with Ghost in the Shell franchise for women-only CTF competition
  • Efforts to connect women in the InfoSec field to build a community
The group started with a small study group and eventually grew to host a women-only CTF competition and a technical InfoSec conference with over 25 speakers from 10 different countries. They also emphasized the importance of sharing knowledge and encouraging teenagers to learn about cybersecurity.


The information security industry has historically been a male-dominated field, and today, unfortunately, this situation has not changed much. Indeed, the survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan in 2017 concluded that women represented only 11% of the current information security workforce. While more women are expected to join the information security industry to reach new levels of innovation, still, it is difficult to increase their number because women face many obstacles, such as stereotype bias. One way to bridge this gap is a female community, which can support and motivate women, and produce more role models. In this talk, we will introduce three representative Asian female communities, Power of XX, CTF for GIRLS, and HITCON GIRLS, which are established in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, respectively. We will first explain how we build and maintain each female community, and then go into the details of how we tackled various challenges, such as building a sustainable community and attracting and retaining new members. Moreover, a comparison of these three communities reveals some of the crucial factors in starting and continuing a female community. One of the examples is that each community started by a few tech-savvy women with the support of an existing local community, such as POC, SECCON, and HITCON. Another example is that all the community members are connected by their interests in technology, such as binary analysis, web exploitation, and playing CTF, and they teach the related topics to each other interactively. We believe that our insights could help start a new female community and encourage other existing female communities.