tssci security

20 years old and [in] security (part 1)

A thread that has gotten some attention and even sparked some bloggers to tag each other with their own stories, I thought I'd post my own "how I got started." I'm twenty years old and my area of study since I graduated high school has been network security. I wasn't always into network security, in fact, up until later half of high school I didn't care for computers much if at all.

I loved to ride bikes -- especially bmx, hitting dirt jumps and grinding some rails, causing trouble for security guards, etc. I was pretty good at it and didn't know what I'd do if it wasn't for my bike riding. In ninth grade though, I broke my leg while fooling around doing some tricks; fibula, tibia, and ankle all in one shot. This put me on crutches for a good four months, and I had no idea what to do with myself... So I took up computer gaming.

Having just hooked up cable internet at my house, my friend Luke turned me onto Counter-Strike. We played for hours at a time -- gaming became an addiction. I wanted faster hardware, so I started doing research online for a new processor, motherboard, graphics card, etc. I started overclocking my system, wanting more and more from it. Instead of gaming, I started playing benchmarks like 3DMark2001 just for fun, to see how high I could get my score.

In tenth grade (2001), I tried out Linux for the first time. I think it was Red Hat 7.3 that I installed on my old IBM Aptiva 200MMX. What's funny about this machine when we first got it back in 1996, a couple weeks later my father came home from work and asked me if I wanted to try out some operating system called Red Hat Linux. I replied "nah dad, everyone runs Windows and we should stick with that." Heh, I kinda wish I went with it and tried it... who knows what I'd be doing today?? Anyways, I used to frequent car forums and one day a girl posted asking us to vote for her in some bikini competition. Well, Chad and I took a look at the code behind the poll and in five minutes we had a BASH script voting a hundred times a second for her. Within a half hour, the girl went from last place to first by a huge margin. The guys on the forum thought it was them that inflated her results, but we just kept it to ourselves. It was pretty cool and funny at the time.

By now I started my junior year of high school, and my first year of Cisco Networking Academy Program (the second year it was offered at my school). We had five Cisco 2501 routers and two Cisco Catalyst 1900 switches to play with, along a bunch of old 386's running Windows 98. What a drag, but we managed.

In my senior year, the classroom had a wall put up in the middle and we moved our lab across the hall in the tech ed teacher's old office. We had newer (486's) computers from the computer typing class and we installed Windows 2000 on them. Our school IT administrator had a shit fit when he found out it was a pirated copy, and made us uninstall it and put legal copies back on. We thought he was going to have a stroke right there, his vein in his forehead popping out and face all red and sweating. LOL, take it easy buddy!

Two weeks later, our teacher said he had some "bad news" for us, and our lab was being turned into an in-school suspension area. This meant all our hard work setting it up had to be torn down and moved back into the original but now cramped classroom. Once we settled back in, we had balsa wood houses from the architecture classes sitting on top of our routers and computers. Morale hit an all time low in the class, everyone was burnt out from the recent events. I didn't want to touch another computer again. The rest of my senior year in Cisco Academy wasted away while I did what I had to do to just "get by." I never did take the CCNA afterwards. I regret that a lot.

Part Two will detail college life and what I've currently been doing.

Posted by Marcin on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 in School, Security and Work.

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