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So You Wanna Be a (Security) Superstar?

Written by Rick Deacon

Recently I've been faced with a very difficult type of question... and it isn't even technical. No, it's not the typical 'How do you find a buffer overflow?' or 'Can you write me code entirely in assembly... in 20 minutes?'... it's much more difficult to answer. It's answer, to many people, may be the 'key' they are looking for in this industry. The question is very often phrased as "So what did it take for you to get where you are?" or "How do I get into the security industry?" and even sometimes "How do I become a hacker?"

There are many different approaches to this subject, and I firmly believe there only a few ways to truly succeed in security or IT in general. A lot of people assume four years of school is going to land you your dream job, where you're a hacker in your own peaceful office behind a wall of 6 monitors watching packet captures fly by on one screen while simultaneously watching The Matrix on the other and texting your girlfriend(s) about which restaurant you're renting out tonight. That may work for some but that doesn't always happen. In fact, most of the time it doesn't. That same sort of mentality is what I see currently when people are picking their majors/careers, which mind you, is a decision which usually affects you the rest of your life. Many people tell me about how they know "a little" about computers but they're going to learn the rest of what they need no problem... that's what school is for, right? Wrong. From my experience, it takes a lot more than just four years of school to get ahead, especially in security. It takes a mindset that pushes and drives you to understand what's going on an intricate level. Taking a test and naming pieces of hardware off of a computer isn't going to get you very far. Certification courses and advanced networking courses are always going to help you learn and ARE necessary, but they're not going to teach you about the mental anguish you're going to endure when you to try apply the concepts, and for some reason unbeknownst to man, the darn thing just won't work. On that note... if you somehow think this won't ever happen to you, think again :). This applies even more so to information security because the knowledge that penetration testers, hackers, system administrators and developers have is far more than just what you learn in a book or from taking a quiz. It's a conglomeration of experimentation and research on your OWN time mixed with the drive to understand the inner workings of things that no normal human being should want to know. Falling into this sort of field very rarely happens and the security mindset and mentality isn't something that can always be taught.

The whole concept and topic of teaching and learning on this subject is a whole blog in and of itself... but essentially you can never stop learning in this field. If you're not "with it" on what's going around in your industry or community, you might as well forget it. You won't ever get anywhere having a mundane view of what's going on. The security industry is dynamic. Visit any Full Disclosure mailing list or website and see how much is updated on a daily basis... it's somewhat ridiculous.

In the defense of all certification and course instructors out there, there is always something to learn. Sometimes the best way to learn is behind a desk listening to someone, whether it be a teacher or just someone who knows something you don't.

So back on direct topic here... what should someone do when they want to be part of this industry? Always be learning, always be listening and always be aware. Be learning about what's new and out there and by that I don't mean just read an article. if it's a new application... setup a personal 'testing' network and try it out. If it's a new vulnerability, setup a virtual machine and go hack yourself. Be listening to what people of intelligence have to say when it comes to the manner. If they know more than you, don't try to act like a know it all. It won't get you anywhere. Be aware, most importantly. Be aware of what's going on in the industry. A great place to do this is Twitter. You'd be surprised what can be learned by following some influential and smart people on Twitter. (Like @hurricanelabs and @rickdeaconx for example. ;))

Obviously there is not going to be a magic silver bullet. It's always going to take work and no one is going to give you the answer to solve all questions. Do what you love, and if you don't love to do it... don't bother. Especially in IT.

Read the original blog entry...

About Hurricane Labs
Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

Presentation Slides
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build thei...
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CloudEXPO Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to advisory roles at startups. He has worked extensively on monetization, SAAS, IoT, ecosystems, partnerships and accelerating growth in new business initiatives.
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments that frequently get lost in the hype. The panel will discuss their perspective on what they see as they key challenges and/or impediments to adoption, and how they see those issues could be resolved or mitigated.
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University, and is an O'Reilly author.
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like "How is my application doing" but no idea how to get a proper answer.
Having been in the web hosting industry since 2002, dhosting has gained a great deal of experience while working on a wide range of projects. This experience has enabled the company to develop our amazing new product, which they are now excited to present! Among dHosting's greatest achievements, they can include the development of their own hosting panel, the building of their fully redundant server system, and the creation of dhHosting's unique product, Dynamic Edge.

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Bsquare

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Vector

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BOSTOCK
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SINGH
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HAZARD
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SUBRA
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Emcien

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Windstream

IVANOV
StorPool

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TOLL
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Akana

PILUSO
SIASMSP

HOLT
IBM Cloudant

SHAN
CTS

PICCININNI
EMC

BRON-
GERSMA

Modulus

PAIGE
CenturyLink

SABHIKHI
Cognitive Scale

MILLS
Green House Data

KATZEN
CenturyLink

SLOPER
CenturyLink

SRINIVAS
EMC

TALREJA
Cisco

GORBACHEV
Systems Services Inc.

COLLISON
Apcera

PRABHU
OpenCrowd

LYNN
CodeFutures

SWARTZ
Ericsson

MOSHENKO
CoreOS

BERMINGHAM
SIOS

WILLIS
Stateless Networks

MURPHY
Gridstore

KHABE
Vicom

NIKOLOV
GetClouder

DIETZE
Windstream

DALRYMPLE
EnterpriseDB

MAZZUCCO
TierPoint

RIVERA
WHOA.com

HERITAGE
Akana

SEYMOUR
6fusion

GIANNETTO
Author

CARTER
IBM

ROGERS
Virtustream
Cloud Expo Silicon Valley All-Star Speakers

TESAR
Microsoft

MICKOS
HP

BHARGAVA
Intel

RILEY
Riverbed

DEVINE
IBM

ISAACSON
CodeFutures

LYNN
HP

HINKLE
Citrix

KHAN
Solgenia

SINGH
Bigdata

BEACH
SendGrid

BOSTOCK
IndependenceIT

DE SOUZA
Cisco

PATTATHIL
Harbinger

O'BRIEN
Aria Systems

BONIFAZI
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BIANCO
Solgenia

PROCTOR
NuoDB

DUGGAL
EnterpriseWeb

TEGETHOFF
Appcore

BRUNOZZI
VMware

HICKENS
Parasoft

KLEBANOV
Cisco

PETERS
Esri

GOLDBERG
Vormetric

CUMBER-
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Dimension

ROSENDAHL
Quantum

LOOMIS
Cloudant

BRUNO
StackIQ

HANNON
SoftLayer

JACKSON
SoftLayer

HOCH
Virtustream

KAPADIA
Seagate

PAQUIN
OnLive

TSAI
Innodisk

BARRALL
Connected Data

SHIAH
AgilePoint

SEGIL
Verizon

PODURI
Citrix

COWIE
Dyn

RITTEN-
HOUSE

Cisco

FALLOWS
Kaazing

THYKATTIL
TimeWarner

LEIDUCK
SAP

LYNN
HP

WAGSTAFF
BSQUARE

POLLACK
AOL

KAMARAJU
Vormetric

BARRY
Catbird

MENDEN-
HALL

SUPERNAP

SHAN
KEANE

PLESE
Verizon

BARNUM
Voxox

TURNER
Cloudian

CALDERON
Advanced Systems

AGARWAL
SOA Software

LEE
Quantum

OBEROI
Concurrent, Inc.

HATEM
Verizon

GALEY
Autodesk

CAUTHRON
NIMBOXX

BARSOUM
IBM

GORDON
1Plug

LEWIS
Verizon

YEO
OrionVM

NAKAGAWA
Transparent Cloud Computing

SHIBATA
Transparent Cloud Computing

NATH
GE

GOKCEN
GE

STOICA
Databricks

TANKEL
Pivotal Software


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@Peak_Ten


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Digital Transformation Blogs
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to advisory roles at startups. He has worked extensively on monetization, SAAS, IoT, ecosystems, partne...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments that frequently get lost in the hype. The panel will discuss their perspective on what they see as th...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app security and encryption-related solutions. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from th...