I began my career at Stroz Friedberg as a Cyber Summer Associate, spending 10 weeks working on exciting and intellectually stimulating case work. On completing the program, I was offered a position in the Cyber Associate Program, where I developed a strong technical foundation through three month rotations in Security Science, Incident Response, and Digital Forensics. Needless to say, I was hooked.
I joined Stroz Friedberg full time after graduating from Marshall University with a master’s in Digital Forensics. My first rotation in the Cyber Associate Program was in Security Science (i.e., proactive cybersecurity), which was completely new to me. While there, I developed a new way of thinking about technical problems to solve client needs. Never a dull moment, I worked on varied assignments, including application penetration testing, designing an insider threat framework, and assisting with a phishing campaign.
In my Incident Response rotation, I learned to quickly adapt and work more efficiently to keep up with the rapid pace of typical IR engagements. I participated as a key member of a team analyzing data for a high-profile class action lawsuit. I also increased my expertise in the analysis of network traffic and malware and reverse-engineering.
During my rotation in Digital Forensics, I evolved the company’s offering in physical forensics. One aspect of physical forensics is the extraction of data from emerging technologies, unsupported or legacy devices, or damaged devices, for example from being dropped in water, especially when traditional tools and methods fail. One such case required us to JTAG a legacy device, a company (and personal) first, and extract data for a client, when other tools could not.
What I enjoyed most about the Cyber Associate Program was learning new concepts, technologies, and techniques from subject matter experts in the field. The speed at which the industry is moving means the processes used are continually evolving. Learning from experts helped to jump start my career and put me in a position to immediately contribute to the firm in a meaningful way.
Ultimately, what motivated me to stay late and get into the lab early was the extremely varied and stimulating case work and the company’s mantra to always get it right. The types of cases that I worked on during the program, and have since, continue to drive me forward in solving complicated technical problems.
My advice to future Cyber Associates: take advantage of the knowledge of those around you and get involved with case work. This program provides a great opportunity to learn and develop skills in areas that interest you. Take full advantage of that and specialize in something you are passionate about.