Network Security

Derrick Webber, penetration testing team lead, CGI Group Inc.

What was your first job?
Newspaper delivery boy, slogging a heavy bag of dead-tree newspapers around the neighborhood. And decades later I find I'm *still* running around delivering bad news to people. 

What does your grandmother think you do for a living?
I think the phrase would be “Nothing worthwhile”.

If you were to describe yourself as a household object, what would it be?
An oven thermometer… the kind you stick up the turkey's bum to figure out whether what you have is so raw it'll kill everyone, or is so overdone that it's completely useless. 

What would your last meal be?
Fettuccini Alfredo, which if I keep eating it probably WILL be my last meal. 

If the battle between IT security pros and cyber threats were to be embodied in comic book characters, what classic super hero/nemesis match-up do you think would be most fitting?
(Apologies in advance to comic nerds for any mis-characterization here): The obvious one is Batman vs. the Joker. Batman is the grim defender with all the cool gadgets, training, money and law enforcement on his side. Yet he gets beaten by a lower-tech adversary using cheap tricks and by exploiting human nature. Besides money, The Joker's also in it for “just for the lulz,” like certain hackivist groups we've seen lately.

If you had to have an occupation other than the one you're doing, what would you do?
Fly floatplanes in British Columbia.

Have you ever heard a good joke about IT security?
I still like the one about the Linux email virus: “This virus works on the honor system: If you're running Linux, forward this message to everyone you know and delete a bunch of your files at random.”

Funny stuff for Linux folk like me, especially those who were on the front lines in 2001 (“year of the worm”) when MS Outlook macros were being exploited by Anna, Love Letter and the rest.

What game (chess, roulette, whack-a-mole, etc.) would you use to describe your job and why?
Othello (Reversi). Just when you have most of the board in your color, some nasty surprise comes along and reverses everything to the other side. For example, the rise of BYOD and outsourcing to Cloud services has comes along to undermine a lot of traditional infosec approaches. But sometimes change is good: BYOD finally drove the last nail into the idea of the network perimeter, allowing us to finally start to progress to more effective models.

What is the most important personality trait for a successful cyber security professional?Simply the desire to make things better. 

What technology did you used to rely on, and are now happy is obsolete?
Back in the day, carrier pigeons were unspeakably messy to deal with, even after RFC 1149 was published. More recently: dial-up modems. Hated using them, and when I worked for an ISP with a bank of dial-up lines, keeping the things running.

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.