I can't believe Im going into my last semester of senior year! time surely does pass by fast. I'll miss my friends for sure and the life on campus. Im going to miss the clubs Im part of on campus because they really helped shape my time on campus!
I actually came into college as a computer science major. Last semester of freshman year I took data structures and STRUGGLED with it. Luckily I got a C- and was able to pass! the professor understood my struggles and said it was one of the hardest courses in the major. After freshman year was over, I took the time to assess if computer science was really for me. As a computer science major, I would have to take math courses, which is something I'm not very good at! I also would have to take even harder computer science courses. I discussed changing my major to cybersecurity with my academic advisor and she said that I could switch into cybersecurity and continue on with computer science as my minor since I would only have 2 required courses left. So I switched my major into cybersecurity and made my minor and core concentration into computer science (Yes, I was able to do that!)
I was really anxious about the switch and worried cybersecurity wouldn't be for me, but turns out I was wrong! I really flourished as a student when I made the switch. Best of all, the two computer science courses I took freshman year were requirements for cybersecurity so I wasn't too behind. I was a little behind by a course or two, but I was able to take all my courses in time. I also will be graduating on time too so that's a plus! I took advantage of taking summer courses so that also aided in allowing me to graduate in time. Though I wish I could've had the summers without worrying about studying, but graduating on time was an important thing for me so I had to make that sacrifice.
I gained so much confidence in myself as a person in what I can do. I became really passionate about cybersecurity because it allowed me to combine my passions of helping others and technology together. It also opened me up to a large community of people who cheer me on and are likeminded. So while the switch was a hard decision to make, a lot of spectacular things came out of it!
I hope next semester goes by well, and I get straight A's!
This isn't anything DFIR related, but it's something near and dear to me that I would like to share! The cyber security industry is booming right now, and its needed more than ever with the rise of cyber attacks due to many people working remotely. Up until last August, I never thought I would find such a big supportive group of cyber security professionals who would cheer me on.
Many people in the industry use Twitter to connect with each other. This at first seemed odd because I thought they would use LinkedIn, and they do! But something about the cyber security community on Twitter is just extra special. Everyone has been really supportive of me, cheering me on even when I got denied to the internships I applied for. It was a level of support that I've never felt in my life before, and I'm forever grateful for the acts of kindness people have given me. I've even had people who offered to help me on my resume. I found this to be super helpful because they gave me suggestions that my school's career center hadn't even given me. Its the little things like this which make me grateful to be part of the cyber security community.
People are also open to conversations about what can be done to improve the cyber security industry, which is crucial because the industry is still young. One topic I have brought up in a tweet is the notion that being in cyber security must mean that it's the only thing you do 24/7. I find this to be unhealthy because it will burn you out eventually if that's the only thing you do. Physical activity is important for our well being, so its crucial that we get physical activity as it will improve your overall health. I believe this notion comes from the stereotype that people in the IT industry are nerds who spend time in front of the computer all day. Its unhealthy and most cyber security professionals I have met, do not like it.
I found many people who felt the same as me. Many people on Twitter's cyber security place have non-tech hobbies such as art, cooking, working out and music. As someone who has mostly non-tech hobbies, I feel less of an outsider in the industry. Many cyber security professionals suffer from impostor syndrome, which is something I go through myself. Being able to be open about my struggles has made me realize how many people go through the same thing I do along with their perspectives on how to combat it.
Its truly a beautiful thing when people come together to better the world we live in. I hope the cyber security community grows to become a welcoming space for all regardless of who we are!
Since I was a child, I've been immersed in the world of computers since my dad owns an IT business. I spent a lot of time online playing games such as Webkinz, Club Penguin and Stardoll. I was young and innocent, with no clue on how awful the Internet can be towards children. When I was a child, I scoffed at my parents for blocking social media sites, but now I understand why they did so and I'm forever glad they did.
When I was 13, I made a YouTube account with my parents' permission. This would then embark my journey on being exposed to the dangers of the Internet. At 14, I began to watch a YouTuber named Damon Fizzy (AKA, deefizzy) who inspired me to get into the alternative music scene more. I always have loved Damon and still follow him on his social medias to this day. As I got into the alternative music scene, I was exposed to other YouTubers and began watching them. Little did I know that the people who made me laugh after a bad day had a dark side to them.
I was a fan of a YouTuber named VeeOneEye (AKA Jason) who was known for his big cotton candy like hair. At 15, I thought he was the coolest thing ever and even had a crush on him. However, things took a bad turn when he was exposed of intoxicating underaged females and asking underaged females for nudes. As a young girl, I could not fully comprehend to what was happening, and I brushed it off because I couldn't believe that someone who I looked up to so much could do such a thing. I watched videos of survivors who bravely came out and shared their stories to the world and still did not know what to think. This was because I was young and naïve.
Then, I started watching another youtuber named Onision (AKA Gregory Jackson) , who has been in the center of controversy and many legal issues. Onision has operated many forums in which there would be threads where people would post pictures of themselves, even half naked ones. You may ask why such photos were posted on a forum site. Well, this was because Onision would make videos rating people who posted their pictures on his forum based on their looks. He would even make videos where he would show photos posted from his forums and judge if the person was fat or not. There was even one case where a 13 year old girl, who was in a sports bra and leggings was featured in one of these videos. In fact, many of the people in these videos were minors. A reasonable person would look at this with disgust, but many were quick to defend Onision. Believe me, I was proudly defending Onision until I started to open my mind on the dangers of online predators.
We live in a very connected world. Our communication with our favorite influencers, YouTubers, etc.. are more intimate than ever. Gone are the days where you would send fan mail to Britney Spears back in the early 2000s. Now you can send a message on social media to your favorite Internet celebrity in an instant. Many young kids don't come from backgrounds where they receive love, so many resort to finding love from YouTubers who will later expose them for their own personal gain. This makes them very vulnerable to online predators.
Online celebrities who display predatory behavior seem like charismatic people themselves, and can make you feel loved at first. This is where the manipulation begins. They use their online fame to manipulate their young fans into sending nude pictures, attack people who attempt to expose the person's predatory behavior, and other things that no child should be made to do. An example of this would be the YouTuber named Austin Jones, a YouTube cover artist. Jones was convicted in early 2019 for the possession of child pornography received from his underaged fans. Jones would often convince fans to send nude pictures to him, and if they didn't send him nudes, then they weren't a true fan of his. This would make any young fan want to send such pictures to him because they want to feel appreciated by their idol. We all want to feel validated, especially if its from the people who we look up to the most. This is exactly what online celebrities who are predators exploit the most out of their young fans, the feeling of wanting to be validated and loved.
I'm 21 now in my senior year majoring in cyber security. Seeing online predators with large platforms being exposed has made me wonder what I can do to help victims of such computer related crimes. I'm glad these conversations are commonplace because we can better educate minors online who to stay away from. That way, it will prevent minors from dealing with the harsh aftermath of being predated online. No one's childhood or teen years should be spent suffering because an online celebrity exploited them for their own benefit. It is not fair and can cause life-long consequences such as mental illness, shame, and low self esteem. It can take years to fully overcome what has happened to them.
Seeing all of this has sparked my interest in wanting to help people who have been victims of these computer crimes because not enough is being done for them and they often face stigma. Though we are having conversations about this issue, in my opinion we are not doing enough because online predators continue to operate and victims still face stigma. The stigma that victims often face is blame for what has happened to them. No victim of child pornography, grooming or enticement should be blamed because children generally don't have the mental capacity to understand fully what is happening to them. Not only that, children are often afraid to tell a trusted adult what has happened in fear of their devices being taken away or facing other forms of punishment from their parent or guardian.
Parents/guardians should also take an active interest in their child's life online. They should be aware of the platforms the child uses, and the people who their child follows. Parents should also become aware of the online celebrities who are known predators so they can better educate their children on how to stay safe online.
My hope is that one day, these predators will be fully de-platformed and social media companies will take a stronger stand in defending their user base from these predators.
12/3/2020 0 Comments
This semester is finally coming to an end, and this has been my favorite semester so far class wise because of the classes I took. Most of my classes were forensics related and were requirements for my major. I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to take these classes because it gave me experience on what its like to be in DFIR.
My favorite forensics course was Mobile Device Forensics. There, I got a lot of hands on experience working with Magnet AXIOM. I learned how to extract data from my iPhone and process images to later analyze them. This class utilized both AXIOM Process and AXIOM Examine. AXIOM Process is used to process images and to extract data from the devices. AXIOM Examine is used to examine the images you created with AXIOM Process.
Having this knowledge has made me more confident in my cybersecurity skills. I have faced impostor syndrome but I found that learning new things and achieving new skills has helped me overcome impostor syndrome. I think its pretty cool I can extract data from an iPhone! I also realize that my skills can be used to help those who are in vulnerable situations, which in crucial in a society where we are connected more than ever.
Not only has my passion for DFIR has gotten bigger, but it also made me think deeply about how we approach computer crimes. My goal is to help people who have been victims of computer crimes because these crimes are not always understood and victims often face blame for what happened to them. I want to be that person that tells them that it's not their fault and helps them receive the justice they deserve.
I hope with this blog I can inspire others to do the same while I document my journey into DFIR. Thank you all for reading! See you soon!
This week I want to talk about how we can use Wireshark for forensic purposes. I'm currently taking a class called Network Analysis that talks about this very subject! In this blog post, I will share what I learned in this class so it will be very basic information, but important to know!
In Wireshark, you can filter packets by port numbers. When doing so, you have to specify if its either UDP or TCP. Here is are examples of what the commands may look like:
udp.srcport == 2000 - Find UDP source with a port number of 2000
udp.dstport == 2000 - Find UDP destination with a port number of 200
tcp.srcport == 2000 - Find TCP source with a port number of 2000
tcp.dstport == 200 - Find TCP destination with a port number of 2000
You can also apply these filters without the port numbers, I use the number 2000 as just an example.
Another great feature of Wireshark is that you can filter by IP addresses, which is important in network forensics since it will make the job easier. Here are some examples:
ip.addr == 192.168.70.1 - Find packet with specified IP address
ip.host == 192.168.80.1 - Find host with specified IP
ip.src == 192.168.90.1 - Find packets with specified IP as the source
ip.dst == 192.168.100.1 - Find packets with specified IP as the destination
ip.src_host == 192.168.110.1 - Find packets from host with specified source IP
ip.dst_host == 192.168.120.1 - Find packets from host with specified destination IP
This is just a very basic overview on the sorts of things you can do on Wireshark. I will definitely be sharing more of what you can do in the future! Thank you so much for reading!
I want to first thank you for visiting my site, that means a lot to me! I'm a cybersecurity student who is interested in a career in digital forensics. I have always loved technology and helping others, and the field of digital forensics allows me to combine those passions. I want to help others who have been victims of computer crimes know that they're not alone and that there are people who do care for what they are going through. Unfortunately, many victims are met with hostility and being hostile does not solve what they are going through.
I took a class in digital forensics my junior year. This year I'm taking forensic courses in computer hardware, mobile devices and networks. It wasn't until recently that I've became interested in digital forensics. There have been things that I've witnessed and personally been through myself that became the catalyst for my interest in digital forensics.
Right now, I got experience using programs like Magnet Acquire, AXIOM Examine, AXIOM Process, FTK Imager and Autopsy. The thing I like about digital forensics that it is very mission driven and I'm someone who is very driven and wants to have a purpose in life.
I can't wait to show you all my journey in this field!