Published in Podcast

The MiBiz Podcast: You Are the Target

BY Friday, July 08, 2022 01:49pm

Talking with Angela Hill can be a little unsettling. The Navy vet and government intelligence expert is founder and owner of Navajar LLC, a LatinX-, veteran- and woman-led consulting firm focused on building virtual workspaces. During this episode, Hill told us how individuals and businesses — big or small — become potential targets for spies, hackers, foreign intelligence agencies and rogue nation-states. Suffice to say: It happens much more often than you would think.

Hill joined us at an undisclosed location (OK, really it was the MiBiz office) to record the latest episode of The MiBiz Podcast and talk about her own journey from aspiring art student to intelligence officer working on overt and covert operations inside the Beltway and, eventually, overseas. She also shared stories about her more recent exploits as a family business owner and solo-preneur advising companies on cybersecurity. Here are a few highlights of the conversation.

On working inside the Beltway:

“I was working on classified missions, however, my title was overt. I was a contractor for some of the defense industry stakeholders out in D.C. I initially worked on strategic intelligence, so a lot of it was writing policy and papers (to meet) requirements that Congress or the President needed to have answers on. I was involved in operations from that perspective — very high level, not tactical. I wasn’t on the ground, I wasn’t supporting operators. I did this for a while and then I ended up getting mobilized to the Horn of Africa.”

On why small businesses should absolutely be paying attention to cybersecurity:

“They are the target, I would say, and especially if they’re being targeted by a foreign intelligence service, and you’re not going to know, especially if (you’re) supporting the federal space or the defense-industrial base. Small businesses could have relationships with Fortune 500 companies that are targets to these nation-states. Obviously, there are hackers and threats out there from a financial standpoint where they’re just trying to gain information. However, I still think there are things that a small business could do.”

On entering the civilian job market after a career in the military:

“There are a lot of resources for veterans today, and the veteran community is strong, especially here in Grand Rapids. I did struggle a lot with transitioning (from government) just because the world of espionage that I belonged to was not something that people can really relate to. … Honestly, the military is why I did all this cool stuff. I never would have had this career without it. I went from wanting to be an animator to doing cool spy shit.”

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