After a 10-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Michael transitioned to a cybersecurity role supporting the military. He accepted an opportunity to join a vulnerability research and assessment team and never looked back. In his role as a Senior Network Security Engineer, Michael tests new technologies for vulnerabilities prior to their use by soldiers in the field. Even after leaving the military, Michael has continued to impact the safety of service members around the world.
“Being prior military, I take great pride in our work and the work we do for the troops.”
Bringing years of experience when the challenge is new. My team owns it.
We do red teaming for the government. We get the first look at any new research and development technology that is being considered for use in the military. Our job is to test them by simulating as real world near-peer offensive cyber activity to identify any vulnerabilities in the developing technology. It could be a mobile device, a drone, an IOT device, a smartwatch or AI software.
What we’re doing has a direct effect on the troops in the field. If we are not able to identify and mitigate the vulnerabilities in emerging technologies, they could fail during operational use. Before operators deploy with new technology to hostile and combat situations, we want to make sure that the technology is secure.
Real world simulation
Our team travels around the world to serve our government customers. We don’t want to only test technologies in the lab, we want to test them in the real world.
One of the technologies we assessed in the field was a facility using physical and wireless layers of security, with an autonomous robot at the center. We were attempting to bypass the physical boundary protection along with the wireless technology - and avoid the robot that was patrolling the grounds.
We were able to use red team tactics to disable the security on the fence and the ground sensors. We also hacked into the robot and the security forces were unaware we compromised and entered the facility.
Our team identified the insecurities in the physical spaces and the vulnerabilities in the robot so the developers of the technology could mitigate the issues. The next time we assessed them, we weren’t able to gain access to the facility or the robot.
The government customer was thrilled with what we found. We’re helping the good guys - mitigating risk and protecting their technology resources.
Understanding technology trends
As technology continues to get smarter and smarter, we have to continuously educate and train ourselves. We go to conferences where hackers are presenting and we attend other conferences where our team members talk about emerging technology and different protocols.
We have to stay on top of everything. Our troops depend on it.