My name is Ryan and I live in Sydney. My history is extremely boring and full of horror stories from racist countries so I’ll skip to 5 years ago in a hotel room in Perth, shortly after I moved to Australia. I liked to call myself an IT Professional but in all honesty I was a Windows Systems Administrator for 13 years who discovered that you can actually make a living breaking into peoples shit….ethically of course!
I met a guy in a downstairs bar of a hotel I was staying in and after shooting the shit and finding out we both worked in IT he told me why he was there. He was performing a Penetration Test of that hotel and he explained his life of planes, hotels and laptops and after showing me my first ever exploit, I realised I wanted…no…NEEDED to be him! I wanted his life and I wanted his sorcery! I can’t remember his name but if you are reading this, get in touch!
Long story short, I spent the next 5 years learning that there was actually more than one operating system in the world and that a few short clicks in a nix terminal were far more powerful than a thousand clicks on a desktop. I started with a list of URL’s written down the hotels napkin and low and behold everything I needed to know was right there in plain sight if you know what to look for. Googleing “how to be 1337 hax0r” does not return the results you want but searching for the correct building blocks yields some amazing content. I spent a lot of time learning the tools and the tricks and testing them out on friends and family and having some good times learning that a Penetration Tester is more than the sum of his…distro…and that to be effective in achieving something you need to “think” like an attacker would to see all the vulnerabilities.
Last year I decided that my job was interfering too much with my wanting to spend all day vulnerability hunting and that the continuous need for me to repeatedly show users how to print their emails was not going to bring me the fuzziness I so craved. I spoke to some of the “Legends” in the industry and asked for some advise on how I could go about becoming this destroyer of systems. Two answers frequently popped up mentioning certifications… the CISSP and the OSCP. I decided to do both.
I got in touch with Offensive Security and signed up right away. I managed to get all the Lab machines (including those annoying ones PAIN, SUFFERANCE and FC4) and passed the exam in 23 Red Bull fuelled hours! One week later I bit the bullet and again, while working full time and ignoring my family, I completed another “Security Certification.”
Not long after completing my certs, a man who I will always be in debt to, gave me the opportunity to take on a contract he had. I uprooted my life…wife, dogs, house and all, moved to Sydney and started the long slog into the InfoSec industry. For the first time in over three decades, I wake up, knowing that I’m about to go do something I’m passionate about and realise that I’m getting ever closer to achieving what I set out to do 5 years ago.
A famous quote by….somebody “If you’re doing something you’re passionate about for work, it’s no longer a job“