What got you into computers and tech?
The short answer is myself. As a child I enjoyed tinkering with things, writing on a typewriter, disemboweling electronics, listening to my father's friend talk about his programs, and reading things like The Wiz Biz, by Rick Cook, whose protagonist was a programmer transported into a Tolkien-like world. His knowledge of logic, mathematics, and programming were strengths used to create spells that saved the characters and world of the story. For all intents and purposes, this man was a wizard...and I wanted to become a wizard, too.
My first computer was a 386 Hewlett Packard, but I still recall learning LOGO on the Apple IIe's my small Jewish school provided by 2nd grade. Our class teacher always wore a beret and spoke with her hands when she taught.
While in middle school after moving to a new area, I heard a classmate speak about the "Internet" for the first time and became curious. I had no idea it existed, and as a rambunctious kid, did everything in my power to secure an AOL account, much to my mother's dismay.
As an avid science-fiction reader, I poured through a novel a night, so why not read more on the web? The days of the 56K modem and complaints of tying up the phone line had arrived.
A lot of people ask me this and the very simple answer is the cDc was one of the first websites I discovered on the Internet. I recollected Rick Cook's tale, searched some terms and discovered an entire CULT of Dead Cows. Wizards were officially real. Later on, I found most usernames were taken, so I jokingly used cow-based nicknames. This ended up sticking for life.
At this point I found full-blown tutorials on how to create web pages in HTML and started working on a personal page. I was eventually invited into some of the programming rooms where people made all sorts of nifty little tools (by today's standards it's pretty laughable).
My interest in computers continued to grow along with my love for all things technical. I ended up tearing down my computer while my mother was at work out of curiosity and almost giving her a heart attack in the process. Luckily, one of the building guards was an IT student who helped fix the misplaced cable I left out.
Tearing down my machine was just the beginning. A year or so later, my 386 died after a long arduous career, and I obtained an AMD K-6 machine and my first laptop. I discovered Linux and installing it for the first time prompted a four-day binge and exploration into the operating system out of curiosity.
I have always loved understanding how things work in intimate detail and that is definitely something that has never changed. I'm a curious person and love learning new things. After graduation, I pursued more education doing a few terms as a dual computer science and forensics major, and I plan on taking a few certifications this year.
What's with the tattoo on your wrist?
It's Clarus the dogcow who says m00f! It's an ode to the friends who helped me and a daily reminder to keep pushing until my dreams become realities.
What are some of your goals?
I have a degree in networking, but my skills span many areas, including defense, so feel free to ask me about my interests. My goal is to work in information security, and it's my dream to move into research and work on exploit and tool development. I'm familiar with Windows, Linux and Cisco IOS and have knowledge of light administration. I am currently working towards gaining Security+ and OSCP certifications.