Laura Galante: Cyber Crime Fighter
Expert in cyber intelligence and 4-H clubs she’s looking to build a future for rural Virginia.
There are some undeniable threats to safety, such as an assailant with a gun, a natural disaster, or a burning building, but what about the threats that are more mysterious? Like those that lay in the dark webs of cyberspace. Just because the naked eye can’t see them doesn’t make these threats any less dangerous. In fact, because of this they are even more dangerous, according to Laura Galante, a world-renowned cybersecurity expert. She deals with these types of crises every day. From security breaches that hold entire governments hostage, viruses that seek to steal your personal information, or teams of cyber spies attempting to sway public opinion, these are obstacles that Galante conquers.
She’s spoken to the United Nations about hackers and malware, and documented Chinese interference with American trade secrets. Her skillset has allowed her to regularly appear on CNN, BBC, and other networks and in publications on matters of cybersecurity and adapting to digital threats. Fighting cyber crime is a taxing day job, and Galante is glad to do it. But when she’s not in the lairs of the digital underworld, she’s known around town as a farm-loving, family woman with a small-town heart and global ambitions.
Government and Green Pastures
Galante was born in Chicago, but grew up in Fairfax County, Virginia, a suburban area near Washington D.C. Being not too far from the bustle of the nation’s capital and the recluse landscapes of Virginia, she grew to love government and green pastures. Her passion for animals and agriculture started in her childhood years at Frying Pan Farm Park at age 9. Here she learned the skills to become a reputable poultry, livestock, and meat judge as part of her local 4-H program. Her work was Grade-A, landing her the top spot at the National Livestock Skillathon in 2000, where she competed in activities like meat and carcass evaluation and quality assurance. Agriculture seemed like a natural career choice for Galante, until one day changed everything.
“September 11th happened, and I just felt like I had to do my part to make the world safer,” she says. Pushed by her courage and patriotism, she studied Foreign Affairs and Italian at the University of Virginia, and received her law degree from the Catholic University of America. Her career began at the U.S. Department of Defense where she analyzed strategies and developed cyber intelligence initiatives. As part of her job, she supported high-profile government and financial operations, including bilateral security talks between Russia and the United States in 2010.
“It’s important that governments and corporations around the world know the ins and outs of protecting themselves in a cyber world,” she says. “Digital threats pose the same amount of risk, if not greater than physical threats.”
Galante is a trusted voice in cybersecurity circles known for her stance on “information warfare.” Her research and experience show that military agencies, governments, individuals, and criminal organizations are all vying for power in the cyberverse. In this information space, critical information can be made available through deception and malware. This information is placed in the wrong hands has the ability to change our cities, states, and countries as we know it, she says. “While there is little risk associated with committing cyber attacks, there is much to gain by accessing military secrets and sensitive public information.”
As a trusted leader in the field, she was invited to the UN Security Council meeting in 2016, where she discussed international peace and cybersecurity. She was also invited to speak at the State Department on cybersecurity in Serbia and Kosovo, and in 2017, appeared on a TED Talk where she discussed Russia and election hacking. Take a moment and listen to her shocking TED Talk on how and why Russia hacked the U.S. election…
She has also co-authored publications that detail the cyber threats of nations across the globe. Some of the publications include, APT28: A Window into Russia’s State Cyber Espionage, Red Line Drawn: China Recalculates its Use of Cyber Espionage and Hacking the Street, and FIN4 Likely Playing the Market.
Behind the Screens
Like many people, Galante’s real life is much different than her cyber one. Instead of a cyber crime fighting aficionado, she’s a woman that’s all about small town charm. She is currently the new leader of Piedmont 4-H Cloverbuds. She believes that 4-H and agriculture can teach children character development, leadership, and confidence. That’s why she continues to advocate for these programs in Fairfax County. She currently lives in Marshall, Virginia with her husband and son.
Galante for Congress
Galante is vying for the 18th District Seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Her campaign slogan is “The Future is Rural.” She believes that small towns can be hubs of innovation. If elected, she wants to help farmers get their food to the public more effectively through regional distribution centers and increase on-the-job training for agriculture jobs. She also wants to help families manage social media relations, protect themselves online, and expand access to broadband internet.