January 31st, 2005, 05:12 PM
AntiViews - Tony Bradley
This is the first in a series of interviews conducted with Antionline members - and staff!
A Commodore 64, PC World Magazine, and a little bit of luck – is that all it takes to get a number of jobs in the IT world? Or is there more… let’s find out in our first Antiview in a series of a whole lot more!
Tony Bradley's Profile on Antionline
Name: Tony Bradley
Place and date of Birth (or age): Born in Michigan, USA. Age 35
Current place of residence: Detroit suburbs in Michigan, USA
Marital status: Married (with 6 kids)
AO: How did you get into computers?
Tony: I have been into computers ever since I got my Commodore 64 when I was 12 and taught myself to program in BASIC. After having computers be just a hobby for many, many years I sort of lucked into a computer support job and the rest is history.
AO: What, if any, is your area of specialty?
Tony: Security is my area of specialty. I am specifically focused on incident response and malware defense (antivirus, antispyware, antispam, etc.), but because of my role on About.com as well as my writing and freelance journalism I need to be a little "jack of all trades" and have a diverse range of knowledge.
AO: What do you do for a living?
Tony: My day job is as a security architect and antivirus engineer. I also write for and maintain the About.com site for Internet and Network Security. I have expanded into freelance writing for a variety of publications including Processor Magazine, Smart Computing Magazine and Information Security Magazine as well as contributions to the WindowsNetworking.com site. I am editing my first book right now which will be out in spring or early summer from No Starch Press.
AO: How did you get into your career?
Tony: I more or less decided to make my hobby my career in 1998 and applied for computer jobs even though I had no "formal" training or experience. Luckily one manager was willing to gamble on my home-grown knowledge. I did some job-hopping to snowball my income up and landed where I am now. Originally I was doing simple network and server administration, but in 2001 an opportunity came up for me to take on a security role and I jumped at the opportunity because it seemed like a field with a lot of job security. It was after that switch to security that I took on the About.com site and have managed to make many friends and contacts throughout the industry that have allowed me to expand even further to writing and contributing to a wide range of information security resources.
AO: Describe your education and/or training?
Tony: Originally- nothing. Just my own experience and whatever I could learn by reading PC World Magazine. Once I got into an IT career I managed to get my employer(s) to fund training and pay for certification exams so that I could earn my A+, CLP, MCP, MCSE, MCSA and CISSP certifications. I eventually got a bachelors degree, but it was primarily because my GI Bill funding from the US government was going to expire and not because I really wanted it or felt I needed it for my career. Primarily, I would say that my education has been self taught through lots of reading of books and magazines and lots of hands-on experimenting.
AO: Do you plan on staying where you are (career-wise) or are you still in school / working on certs to get into another area?
Tony: I am very happy and very comfortable where I am right now. For one thing, my career allows me to work from home 24/7. Both my "day job" and may various writing gigs allow me to be with my wife and my 6 kids and fully enjoy my family while earning an exceptionally good living. I could probably make a leap to doing executive management at some point, but it would mean actually going TO work and really change my lifestyle. It is something I am interested in for my future, but right now I like what I am doing.
AO: What one piece of advice would you offer to others who may be interested in following a career path or educational path similar to yours?
Tony: Read a lot. Experiment as much as you can. Get an entry-level certification (Security+ might be OK for some employers, but a CISSP will probably open more doors). The BIGGEST thing in my opinion though is not the certifications or degrees. You have to exude confidence in an interview. You don't have to convince the prospective employer that you *know* everything, but you do need them to feel that you are able and willing to learn what you don't know and that you can take on the challenges ahead.
AO: What skill do you think is invaluable in your area of specialty?
Tony: Flexibility. Working in IT often means wearing a variety of hats. As a network administrator I had to know servers, routing, email administration, telecommunications and security among other things. Even in security, you often have to be flexible enough to think outside of the box in order to analyze a situation and troubleshoot a problem.
AO: Describe one of your best / most effective security practices.
Tony: I have two simple ones. Use a router firewall for home networks and use strong passwords. Half of the computers on my internal network are not patched and run no personal firewall or antivirus software. Yet, they remain safe because they sit beghind my network router firewall. That firewall and an ounce of common sense- to not open file attachments called "Britney Fuc*king.exe" on an email supposedly from Bill Gates written in broken English- will protect you from 90% plus of problems. As for passwords, try to use different usernames and passwords on different sites and use numbers and special characters to substitute for letters so that you can still remember the "word" but an attacker will have a much harder time guessing it. For instance, even if I wanted to use my name, an attacker may guess "bradley", but it will take a lot longer for them to happen upon "Br@dl3y".
AO: Do you have a little-known fact about yourself (personal, hobbies, tech-related) that you would be willing to share?
Tony: I love my wife and kids very much. I suppose that should not be a "little-known" fact, but I am grateful every day for having them in my life and for the opportunity life has given me to do work that I love while working from home with the family I love. As for hobbies, I love golfing and I love skiing.
AO: How did you find Antionline?
Tony: Honestly, I do not recall. When I first started working in security I did some Internet searches to learn more about the field and AO was one of the top sites that came up. I signed on, but didn't really use AO for many months. It wasn't until I got my About.com site and needed information and resources on a more regular basis that I really started spending some serious time at AO.
AO: Anything else you'd like to share?
Tony: Not really. I would like to say that I am very thankful for the community that AO provides. There are some "bad apples" who come in just to be negative or to abuse AO and try to learn how to hack their ex-girlfriends Hotmail account, but overall I find AO to be very helpful and an invaluable resource. Thanks to everyone who has helped me out over the years and I hope that I can continue contributing in a way that can help others. Lets all try to remember that we were all "newbies" at one point and try not to haze them so much when they want to join our fraternity (or sorority as the case may be).
Tony Bradley, your guide to Internet / Network security on About.com
Tony Bradley’s Computer Security for non-geeks will be available around June 2005 – you can pre-order it at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/1593270534/ – can’t go wrong for $29.95! – that’s only 11 cents per page
January 31st, 2005, 06:01 PM
Wow, another dewd in my state heh. This is an awesome idea,when do I get to play with one of you? Better hurry before I'm famouse. Well besides in my state and on the net. Hard to believe I know, but I'm fairly well known. And of course, having met Krztoff from Bile multiple times, me and him get a long well, he likes the Misfits. And Mortician, the cool horror gore band, I got to talk to the singer / bass player and we got a long great.
And it still is nothing compared to what Neggy has as a coat. Maybe when I break that World Record for bass guitar, heh. I'm up to 7 notes a second, and I think the World Record is like 11.
January 31st, 2005, 06:14 PM
Neg, Like the interview. I know it may seem kinda lame or whatever, but I am currently pursuing my A+. Goin to school for a bachelors of network security. I'll take your advice. I need to start reading more anyways. good interview man
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool - Good Ole Bill Shakespeare
January 31st, 2005, 06:16 PM
My respecto-meter just went up a notch.
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
January 31st, 2005, 07:15 PM
January 31st, 2005, 07:22 PM
Hmm, sounds like anotherlamesite.com interviews.
January 31st, 2005, 07:30 PM
I am a huge fan of Hacking Exposed. The whole series is good, but just the original book is my favorite. I also like the Hacker's Challenge books.
Any "recommended reading"?
For virus support I think that Ed Skoudis' Malware: Fighting Malicious Code is very good.
There are really WAY too many excellent books to name. You can always go to my About.com site or my personal site and check out the book reviews there for more of what I think about the different books.
January 31st, 2005, 07:31 PM
Oh, congrats on your book and your success
January 31st, 2005, 07:39 PM
congrats on your 15 minutes of fame
I've had your about.com site in my rss for months now, allong sides with AO /. TheRegister LWN etc....
Good stuff.. Keep it up !
I really need to get my boss to order himself a copy of Tony Bradley’s Computer Security for non-geeks
ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI.
When in Russia, pet a PETSCII.
Get your ass over to SLAYRadio
the best station for C64 Remixes !
January 31st, 2005, 08:07 PM
Dammit. That's what I need to do; write a book on security. Hmmmm, working title: 3 dayz and 3 nightz of crax0ring. A guide to the hidden riches on every computer system by TheHorse13.
Congrats Tony. I have often given the book idea serious thought too. Who knows, maybe one day when I can actually find 5 minutes I'll have to shop for a publisher.
Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. -- John Wooden