Maya Alieh- Episode 23- Security Vendor Series

Maya Alieh

By Maya Alieh

On this week's episode of the Security Vendor Series, the Head of Cybersecurity (USA) at Hamilton Barnes, Josh Snook, spoke with Maya Alieh, a Cyber Crime Unit Supervisor- Detective Sergeant with the Montreal Police. Maya specialises in developing and delivering innovative training programs to combat the latest cyber and social media threats, in this episode, they dive into her career journey so far.

 From patrol officer to cybercrime expert

Maya’s unconventional path led her from an interest in the police force to becoming a patrol officer to undercover work at a young age. She recognised early on in her life that she was passionate about investigative work and had a keen interest in getting to the root of things. She shares how her family emigrated from Lebanon to Canada when she was 10 and that joining the police force was not a commonly undertaken career path for her culture but that her family were always supportive of her aspirations. From her time as an undercover cop, she transitioned into the high-tech crime unit in 2011. Despite having little understanding of the tech side of the job, Maya threw herself into the role and began learning more and more.

Realizing quickly how little expertise and authority was out there on the topics of cybercrime Maya spearheaded innovative training programmes to tackle complex issues like social media investigations, cryptocurrency tracing and advanced open-source intelligence gathering. This training is now used to train new cybercrime professionals, leading the way for a new generation of cyber-crime investigators.

Overcoming challenges

Maya shares how she has faced her fair share of hurdles in such a demanding field however her ability for optimism, resilience and humour is evident in the way she faces and articulates those challenges. She points out that any job in any industry, public, private, or non-profit faces limitations, setbacks and problems but she aims to see the world with a glass-half-full mentality which helps her manage her work, role and the challenges that come along the way. Due to the nature of the work, which means often coming into contact with upsetting, harrowing and concerning stimuli, Maya and her team work closely with psychologists to keep an eye on their mental well-being.

Looking ahead

Continuing to expand on her expertise in cybercrime, Maya's future is primed for success as she plans to undertake a few new challenges in the coming months. In September, she will begin a Master's in Technology Management and will also share her knowledge by teaching a university course on building cybercrime units.