A Day in the life at MPG: Pen Tester
This month we’re interviewing Hank Faust, a penetration tester and MindPoint Group and an expert in all things ethical hacking. In this blog, you’ll learn how hank got started working in technology and what it’s like to hack for the greater good.
Walk us through your background. How did you get started working in technology/security?
I have always been interested in making beats on my computer and have a love for music. Through this hobby, I became interested in the computer programs that I use to create those beats and wanted to create my own program. Since I had no prior coding experience, I started off by learning java and c++. I was initially a business major in college but eventually made the switch to computer science after this piqued my interest. Once I was in this major, I was able to take a course on ethical hacking, which was awesome and something I greatly enjoyed. From there, I kept reading more and more about ethical hacking and started participating in hacking contests. When it came time for graduation, I knew I wanted to be a part of ethical hacking because it is something I found I was good at and had a passion for it.
Describe your current role, and walk us through the typical day?
I always start my day by eating breakfast while I read my RSS feed of cybersecurity articles. After catching up on the latest security news, I go through my email and read and respond to any outstanding messages. From there, I pick back up where I left off the customer engagement. This means I’m attempting to attack and get into whatever system or application we are in the process of penetrating. During these engagements, communication is super important, so our team messages back and forth a lot. If I’m close to finding something or need help, the team is always there to provide feedback and work together to figure it out.
What are the biggest challenges you face in a day?
My biggest challenge comes in when I’m encountering a new system or something that I have never seen before. You have to do your due diligence to figure out the actual goals of the system and what it is “supposed to be doing” before you can figure out if there are vulnerable areas to attack. Each day is different, so you constantly need to adapt.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is that I always need to learn new stuff. I love having a lot going on and thrive when I need to learn new skills and then put them to use. Because of this, I am never bored — which is very exciting to me.
Why do you love cybersecurity?
I love cybersecurity because my job is so rewarding. When you're able to help stop a potential breach and people's data from getting exposed, it's great to know that you had a hand in stopping and remediating that vulnerability.
What do you like to do outside of work?
In addition to making beats, I’m doing a lot of bot coding and eCommerce work as well. I grew up going to the beach, and I also love outdoor activities like surfing and riding dirt bikes.
Last book you read and/or podcast you listened to?
The last books I read were all work and penetration testing related. I think the last two were the Shell Coders Handbook and the Shell Scripting Bible, which were great!
What is your favorite part of MindPoint Group?
I love Mind Point Group because I feel like everyone is very approachable, and management is extremely helpful. If I have questions on my work, my team is always there to assist one another, but in a way that ensures I am learning how to do it on my own, vs. just feeding me the answers.
Check back next month, where we will highlight another MPG employee. In the meantime, check out our job openings to find the right fit for you.