Person of Interest

On fortnightly I tend to follow work of interesting individuals, these can be cyber security professional or other professional e.g. motivation speakers, human genuine pigs, peak performance coaches etc. So below is my list of person of interest and the work they did / do.

Tim (othy) Ferriss – Author of Tool of Titans, Tribe of Mentors, The 4 hours work week, and many other books – http://www.tim.blog

Robin Sharma – 5 am Club, The Monk who sold his ferrari, the leader without title

Tony Robins

Josh Waitzkin – The Art of Learning, Peak Perfomance Coach

James Clear – Atomic Habits

Damon Zahariades

To be continued ….

Staying Productive

Being a cyber security consultant, requires high discipline of self motivation, and stay on top of the task that you need to delivery to the client. Why this is assumed that everyone should behave and play the part, most of the consultants they have trouble doing this. I have a few tips and tools to stay on the task.

Tracking time – Toggl

Planning and Scheduling – Calendar (Schedule everything and put this as calendar entry – things that are scheduled are the things that get done)

Pomodoro Technique – Set timer for 25 mins work, 5 minutes break. You can use an app (mobile / WebApp) — I use Mobile/desktop App Focus To-Do and Garmin Watch. I should add during the break apart from doing tea, do anything physical like 10 pushups, wall-sits, a quick sprint or go out for a fresh air walk.

PS: Make sure you spend your weekend wisely so to minimise burnout πŸ™‚

I will expand this post more…

I want to be a PCI QSA? How can I get started?

This a place holder, I will expand this post when I get time to write.

I have been a QSA since 2013, and before that I worked for a multi-national bank from 2007 to 2009, which had a programme to secure card payments, hence my early involvement of PCI World.

so what do PCI stands for ? Payment Card Industry, and maybe your next question will be what is PCI DSS and what is the security council SSC ( Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council )? and ofcourse what is PCI QSA? I will answer these questions in an expanded post. For now, a quick reference go to the PCI SSC website here

https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org

My Book Library

The say a typical CEO reads about 60 books per year. That is roughly around one book a week. I try to keep up with that pace, but sometimes I fall short. I tend to read one book every 2 weeks, and this covers different categories including self-help, autobio,business, cyber security among many other categories. What I would advise to new entrants to cyber security, to make sure to read different business books to complement your technical knowledge, because if you cannot translate your security knowledge to help the business, then it becomes useless.

So for the this year, I have been reading the following books:

Non-Security Books

  • The Effective Executive
  • Fast Focus – Damon Zahariades
  • 80/20 Your Life – Damon Zahariades
  • Tools of Titans – Timothy Ferris
  • 5 AM Club – Robin Sharma
  • The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin
  • Tribe of Mentors – Timothy Ferriss
  • Power – Jeffrey Pfeffer
  • The 4-hour Work Week (Audiobook) – Tim Ferriss
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith

Security Books:

  • Certified Cloud Security Profession – CCSP
  • CCSK

to be continued

How to get into InfoSec Career

I have been asked this question a few many times, on how can i get started or get into infosec / cyber security? My answer it depends πŸ™‚

It depends what path you want to travel through to your destionation – technical or non-technical.

Technical

I will start with technical path, there are couple of field for technical path including penetration tester, appplication security SME, and sec ops, just naming a few.

For example to be a pentester, you will need to have basics in Networking, Operating System (*nix, Windows, Mobile,) Database, Application, etc. This role need to have breath knowledge in order to understand how the technology is made, operate and then one can go deeper intp specific area of testing e.g. application testing or infrastructure testing. So my advice to start or to get into this field, one need to get understand of the technologies mentioned for started.

on the next post, I will speak on the other technical path.

The quick about me

This blog is a rebirth of a longtime blog once hosted at blog.kinyoka.com and mkombozi blogs (Google Blogs) which both blogs got deprecated (i stopped blogging as entered infosec and i had a period of 10 years immersing myself in deep learning of infosec).

This blog will cover some advice on how to start your career in infosec / cyber security, giving out what I learned and continue to learn and the best way to make it alive in this crazy world of defenders vs malicious attackers (best of lucky,because you will need it).

About Me.

I was born and raised in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. My childhood spent in area next to the Tanzania national stadium (Uwanja wa Taifa) in Temeke District and I went to Chang’ombe Primary School and I had a chance to meet some bright minds there, who managed to do well in later life. I think the most important thing of all, I was introduced to the world of basketball at the age of 10 years old, and I have never stopped playing ever since.

After my primary school years, I went on and studied secondary school education at Forodhani Sec. School and High school at Mzumbe Secondary School (where I did HGL – which is History, Geography and English – well I didn’t do science subjects :)).

I had a thingy for computers since I was at Forodhani Sec (1997-2000), and a good friend of mine Ajelandro Sindano (who at the time had PC at home – Pentium 1, I think), which I manage to befriend him and had opportunity to use the computer at least 3 times a week. I met Ajelandro at Zanaki – Vijana Basketball Club’s courts, and this place is where I met most of my role models (Mkuki Bgoya, Martin Warioba, Bahati Mgunda, Abdullatif and a lot of long term friends).

Ajelandro had a friend called Mikah, at the time he was studying computer science at IFM, and I think they were taught programming class and he taught me the basics of HTML (in Windows Notepad) and that was the start of my passion for web development. I called on that passion, and follow the good steps of Martin W. at the time studying at LSU and got a few books, e.g. Dreamweaver from Mkuki, which helped me alot in terms of learning.

Around the same time my Forodhani friends Taty Emmanuel and Barnabas “Kizi57” Lukumai, were into the computers, designing, and web development. The only different is these guys at Computers and 24/7 internet connection. At some point we formed a company to try to monetise our passion and make a few Tshs, so the Visual Lab as you know it was born. It was Adam Juma XXL, Kizi, Taty and myself, we tried our best with very little knowledge about business and it wasn’t a great success, so I decided to go to Mzumbe University (so did Taty), joined the same program (BSc Information and Communication Technology Management) which we graduated in 2007.

How did I endup in InfoSec?

After graduating Uni, I joined Barclays Bank Tanzania as Application Support Analyst, which is the user support, server support and deployment etc. Which was a good opportunity given that I have never worked in a corporate environment, so I learned alot in terms of the working culture and how to behave as wage-earning adult. This is a huge change given that my working experience, as all been a developer (working on my own or a group of friends with no boss, and clear defined job roles – funny times, late nights and no social responsibility), the only times I had a boss prior to joining Barclays was when I worked at University of Dar es salaam computing centre (during high school summer break), and university last semester, where I was supposed to intern at a corporate company, instead I chose to go work for a startup CESAI as a web developer (I got paid too, which was funny).

So after working for 3 months as application support (July – October 2007), by-then country information security manager (Irene Rwelamira) was to be promoted to be the country head of information risk), so there were a vacancy, which I took the opportunity and I was mentored by Irene for another six months, before I was official Country Security Manager. So roughly that how my InfoSec (there is a difference between Cyber Security and InfoSecurity, the latter being the big brother of the former) career started and now I have been in the field for about 12 years, filling in different roles as Security Manager and Security consultants working for prestige companies such as Barclays Bank, National Microfinance Bank – NMB (part of Rabobank – Netherlands), InfoAssurax (my own startup), NCC Group (UK) and NTT Security UK (part of NTT Group).

It has been a thrilling and ever-learning journey. I have managed to learn alot during the past few years, moved to a new country, traveled the world, see nice countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, U.A.E, Scotland, Wales, England, Germany and learn new cultures.

Over the years I have managed to get a few security certification (only way to prove you know something at least 10% as a basic) The following are current and expired certificates (it doesn’t matter if the certificate expired, so long as your knowledge stays current)


Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor (PCI QSA) – 2013 – Present
SABSA Security Architect (SCF) -2016
CREST Technical Security Architect (TSA) -2017
CREST Registered Penetration Tester – 2014 (Expired)
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – 2011
ISO 27001 Lead Auditor – 2018
ISO 27001 Implementation – 2011
PCI-DSS Implementation – 2011
Prince2 Foundation – 2012
Ethical Ninja I & II – April 2012
Microsoft Azure Cloud – Networking and Infrastructure- 2017
AWS Cloud Platform – Auditing AWS Environments for Security and Best Practices – 2017

** I had to retake the exam either twice / thrice sometimes to passed one of these exams. Nobody said it would be easy!

Formal Education

M.Sc. Information Security Management – 2009 – 2010 (University of Salford, UK)
B.Sc. Information and Communication Technology Management – 2003 – 2007 (Mzumbe University, Tanzania)