Phisphphreek’s profile on Antionline

Name: Phishphreek

Place and date of Birth (or age): I was born in Connecticut, lived in Florida, Washington State, and now, near Philly.
My parents were in the Navy so I moved around a lot.
I was born in 1980, hence the 80 at the end of my nick.

Current place of residence: East Coast, USA near Philly

Marital status: I am “single” but I’ve been in a relationship for last 4+ years to a wonderful woman.

AO: How did you get into computers?

Phish: My Dad was a radioman in the US Navy. He had a lot of toys. Among them were computers. I was really good at messing them up. I messed them up so much, that he got me my own so he didn’t have to fix it. Then I had to fix my own screw-ups.

AO: What is your area of specialty?

Phish: Networking, Network Security, Vulnerability Assessment

AO: What do you do for a living?

Phish: “IT Specialist”, network admin, system admin, telecom admin, jack of all trades.

AO: How did you get into your career?

Phish: I started in a bank as a teller who always helped out with computer problems. I applied for a job in the mail room because I couldn’t work with those whiney women all day any longer.
I was offered a job in helpdesk instead. I now wear several hats. I had no prior experience other than messing around on my own.

AO: Describe your education and/or training?

Phish: I’ll soon have an associate’s degree in Computer Networking Engineering. I will be going back for BS in MIS. I have 5+ years of experience in IT at the bank. For the most part, I’m self taught. School has taught me little that I didn’t already learn on my own. I learn whatever I can. I play with anything I can get my hands on.

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?

Phish: No, as soon as I graduate with my associate’s degree, I’m going to grab some certificates and hopefully work in computer security. I just want the certs for more "paper". Certs don't prove a thing... except that you can read a book and take a test. Then I’ll go back for MIS so I can work my way up to management. I’m tired of doing it all. I just want to work with computer security.

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?

Phish: Get as much hands on experience as you can. The books are never correct. The concepts are right, but when you go to set something up and it doesn’t work… the book won’t help you. You have to troubleshoot and figure it out. The only way to develop troubleshooting skills is by getting a lot of hands on experience. Put together as many computers as you can get your hands on and setup a network. Add new services and secure them. Learn how to use the services on multiple operating systems. The more you know about multiple operating systems, the more valuable you are. If you only know Microsoft and the company you are interviewing for uses both *nix and M$ (very common) then they may pass you up for the person next in line who knows both.

AO: What skill do you think is invaluable in your area of specialty?

Phish: All of them. You need a lot of skills and you can’t depend on just one.

AO: Describe one of your best / most effective security practices.

Phish: Strict ACLs, patching as soon as possible, continuous review of logs, frequent review of network layout and vulnerability assessment of the network.

AO: Do you have a little-known fact about yourself (personal, hobbies, tech-related) that you would be willing to share?

Phish: I’ve got several… none that I really care to share.

AO: How did you find Antionline?

Phish: I found it in some book. I don’t recall which book it was. I read a lot of books.