Hetherington Group President Awarded Security Leader of the Year

Posted on December 23rd, 2022

The recently held Women in IT Summit and Awards series bestowed the esteemed 2022 Security Leader of the Year Award on Wanaque-based Hetherington Group (Hg) Founder and President Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII at its first in-person ceremony since 2019. Now in its fifth year, the prestigious awards have recognized and celebrated over 1,000 women, allies and organizations across the US for their outstanding contributions to the technology industry.

Presented by DiversityQ in association with Information Age, the award recognizes a female CSO, CISO or any other senior IT security function within a USA organization who has delivered outstanding work, innovative approaches to security, and the impact of their policies, procedures, and projects. Cynthia Hetherington was recognized for her role as a principal partner in convening and coordinating Operation Vax (OPVAX), a global collaboration that ensured the safe and secure movement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations to millions of Americans and foreign nations.

“It is an honor to receive the Women in IT Security Leader of the Year Award this year,” stated Hetherington, whose company is based in Wanaque. “I have been very fortunate to work with and be supported by inspiring security leaders during my nearly three decades of online intelligence and investigations. In accepting this award, I am honoring their mentorship. To all women working in IT security— including my fellow distinguished nominees—I applaud you for your contributions to making the world a safer place. I would also like to thank DiversityQ and Information Age for their commitment to elevate the work of women in information technology and to expand the diversity of the IT workforce.”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Hetherington served as the principal partner with Chuck Forsaith of Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) to convene and coordinate Operation Vax (OPVAX), a global collaboration that ensured the safe and secure movement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations to millions of Americans and foreign nations.

As vaccine researchers and scientists across continents and oceans burned the midnight oil to develop an efficacious vaccine, Hetherington and Forsaith identified the need for a global coalition to ensure the safe and secure transportation, storage, and distribution of the future vaccine. Out of one telephone call among two life-long colleagues—one a cyber intelligence investigations expert, the other a healthcare distribution expert—grew a public-private collaborative effort that aided in safely and securely distributing COVID-19 vaccines to millions of Americans and to foreign nations in late 2020 and beyond. For her role in this unique partnership, Ms. Hetherington established three target actions: 1) Secure buy-in from government and private sector leaders; 2) Obtain the support of cybersecurity vendors; and 3) Provide Hg pro bono intelligence services.

Hg’s OSINT analysts and investigators were on the frontlines battling misinformation campaigns waged across the internet. Their position required a methodical and often time-consuming approach, under Ms. Hetherington’s leadership, to counter the misinformation, such as tracing content sourcing, establishing site credibility through its authors and sources, interrogating site domain registrations, and developing link analysis of those involved—all for the good of the global community—not profit.

Over the course of OPVAX, analysts collected over 105,000 open and dark web sources reporting on potential threats to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. From there, analysts triaged 45,000 of those reports for further analysis—resulting in perpetual risk and vulnerability notifications to the OPVAX team. In April 2022, the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC) recognized Ms. Hetherington and three other security leaders who have exhibited remarkable standards of honesty and integrity while working tirelessly to protect and serve their communities.

The Women in IT Summit & Awards series supports the tech industry in its mission to move the dial on diversity & inclusion. By providing a global platform to showcase advocates, role models, and allies this growing series works alongside industry champions to share knowledge, break digital boundaries, and promote the importance of an inclusive tech sector. Ms. Hetherington was recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Original article: Hetherington Group President Awarded Security Leader of the Year

Get in Touch

Send a Message

If you have any questions, let us know. We will get back to you as soon as possible.