It’s an unexpected career for someone who once thought she’d be a creative writer, so maybe it’s fitting that the Trustworthy Accountability Group used a vivid metaphor to announce that it had hired Danielle Raulli Meah ’10 as its first director of threat intelligence.
“In the eternal cat-and-mouse game between good guys and criminals, TAG just hired the Bengal tiger of threat intelligence,” CEO Mike Zaneis said in an August news release.
TAG is an industry initiative to fight criminal activity in digital advertising, and Meah has worked for a decade in cyber intelligence, moving to TAG from a position as global head of cyber threat intelligence at Citigroup, where she led a team of 50.
Her job at TAG, she explains, is to build a culture and platform to share information about cyber threats across the industry. Malvertising is one such threat. That’s when someone uses online advertising to spread malware to a computer or device as a scheme to make money.
“There's also ad fraud. Basically that encompasses entire enterprises of criminals, like botnets, operating across the digital ad supply chain, so that they're trying to defraud different key players in digital advertising,” she says.
The bad actors pose other cyber threats, too, and on the other side is Meah, working with major technology platforms in Fortune 50 companies, reviewing their differing cybersecurity practices. Each day she examines threat data to form a big picture of its meaning for the industry, and she figures out how to get that information to the right people across wide-ranging companies.
“People let us know what kind of malware they're seeing across the organization, and I am part of the group responsible for figuring out who’s behind that. What can we do to stop that? Is it connected to bigger activity? Who are the threat actors? And what do we do with this information? Do we take it to law enforcement? Do we have enough resources in-house to stop it?” Meah says.
She discovered her interest in cybersecurity after graduating from Hamilton with majors in Chinese and world politics and taking a job with the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in Washington, D.C., on the cyber threat desk. Before long she realized that to accomplish what she wanted to, she needed technical expertise, which led her to a master’s degree in digital forensics and incident response at George Washington University.
Never in a million years, says Meah, did she expect to end up in this line of work, but she thinks Hamilton’s emphasis on learning a language, on speaking, and on writing prepped her well. She’s had that discussion with her husband, Josh Meah ’10, who runs a marketing business.
“It's evident in the world, when I'm working with other people and [with] staff, it's evident that people were not trained that well to do those three things. And because I was, I feel like it's helped me tremendously in my career, but also just opening doors. I feel like very few people have the flexibility that I've had to pivot when I need to,” Meah says.