Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Act wherever you can.

I recently watched a video of Philip Seymore Hoffman giving his advice to aspiring actors. In it he says...

"Act wherever you can...if you get a chance to act in a room that somebody else has paid rent for, then you're given a free chance to practice your craft. And in that moment, you should act as well as you can....because if you leave that room having Acted as well as you can there's no way the people who have watched you will forget it"

I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Security, particularly to those just starting out in this field. If there is one thing that rings true in our business, it's that context is king. You can always glean some new piece of information or sharpen an existing skill by studying things that aren't exactly in your job description. No matter what the task assigned to you,  squeeze as much context and experience as you possibly can from that moment and use it to grow into a stronger professional.

This concept was not new to me when I started in infosec. I studied Pai Lum Kung Fu for a number of years and one of the first things you are taught is the straight punch. Over the course of your martial arts career, you'll throw a straight punch countless times. So many times, in fact, that you can begin to take the technique for granted, you can get 'bored' with it. You're already thinking 4 steps ahead without considering that the first punch might actually fail.

It's said that Gichin Funakoshi, the man who brought Karate to Japan, said on his death bed "I was finally beginning to understand the straight punch." Even if that's not exactly a true quote, it's an important metaphor for attention to detail and dedication to your craft. You should never stop trying to perfect your technique.

Study the code, study the theory. Build a lab, detonate malware, learn why it's doing what it's doing. Sniff your traffic, sniff your friends traffic (with permission of course) Be furiously curious about the why and the how then share what you've learned with everyone who wants to listen. Act wherever you can, as well as you can, and there's no way the people who have watched you will forget it.

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