#CybersecurityRoadtrip Day 23

Monday 12/19: Day 23




Goodbye sleeping bag, hello REAL bed! After only reaching past 1am into our airbnb, it was vital that we get into beds ASAP as our day needed to begin by 8:30am. After 22 days in the RV, it was odd and almost uncomfortable sleeping on a full sized bed. I related to Kakuzo Okakaura’s sentiment when he wrote his famous line, “The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Today was the last day of interviews – surreal.

Microsoft. Need I say more? My first introduction to them was when my mom helped me create my first email account back in 1999 – hotmail. After touring the Cyber Defense Operations Center, we had the opportunity to sit down with Kristina Laidler, the Principal Security Manager for the C+E Security group. Coming from a non-technical field, she helped qualm some of my worries of how to succeed in a technical field. With so much warmth and excitement, she highlighted the Importance of making career goals, of always having that next step at least in the back of your mind. “Being different is an advantage.” was Laidler’s key message through the conversation as security is not an one person job.

Alex Harmon, a senior security analyst with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), was kind enough to give us a forensics demo using honey pots! In his interview, he mentioned that the best way to get started with some practical experience was to set up some honey pots of your own and see what comes from them. His nontraditional path of obtaining a GED and gaining interest in digital forensics through a relative, was according to him a product of being at the right place at the right time. For tips for the “common man”, Harmon suggested to use products like KeyPass to ensure password strength. He also mentioned to not give out accurate information to those security questions such as “what’s your mother’s maiden name?” He echoed Laidler’s sentiment that unplugging every once in a while from technology was a needed activity in order to maintain freshness and energy for the field.

At the UMUC Launch Event on December 2nd, Nikki Sandoval had asked who are we most excited to interview. I immediately said Vikram Pathak & Zoe Krumm. Krumm is the epitome of the digital superhero(ine) as she works with big data to uncover and enforce against cybercrime. Working in the Cybercrime Center, she has experience with going after the criminals and helping bring justice. With her recent tan from Hawaii, and a contagious laugh she brought in warmth on that wet Seattle Monday. She highlighted sensitive topics such as gaining confidence and moving forward. Coming from a background of psychology & secondary education, she worked up the ladder to reach to where she is now. With all this experience, she shed light that understanding the data was a key skill to be successful and that there were multiple opportunities to learn on the job.

Overall, today was filled with wide-eyed excitement to be at Microsoft and that bittersweet taste of having it be the last Monday, last interview, last time of our “good luck group selfie.”

The full video of the Launch Event can be seen here:

For more updates, be sure to check Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with #CybersecurityRoadtrip.

Twitter: Antwan, Emily, Mansi.

Instagram: Mark, Craig, Emily, Mansi.

HERE is an overview of the team, the route, current updates from RoadtripNation

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