What are you doing now that your internship program with Raytheon Emirates ended?
I’m a new graduate and recently landed a job working for the government. I’m thankful to Project Ares for giving me something interesting to talk about in my interview! I have relevant hands-on experience and I found a passion for forensics as a foundation to build on.
Today, as a Security Analyst, I focus on threat intelligence and I handle security for information systems. Our team does proactive security defense as well as forensic reviews after security incidents.
What programs were you in that used Project Ares labs?
My first experience with Project Ares was in Raytheon’s cybersecurity internship program. We did a Network Forensics course that featured Battle Room 9 (Digital Forensics (opens new window)) and Battle Room 8 (Network Traffic Analysis (opens new window)) to focus on incident response scenarios related to IoT and SCADA.
We acted as an incident response team and investigated a cyber-attack in a simulation: how did the breach happen? What are the vulnerabilities of this computer system? Then we worked to recover the computer system back to its normal state of operation.
Now I’m working towards an incident response management certification with the British University in Dubai (BUID) and the forensic section of the course uses Project Ares Battle Room 9. This time as I revisit the challenges, I am using different forensics tools. The course also has a penetration testing section using Battle Room 11 (System Security Analyst (opens new window)). It’s exciting and I’m learning a lot from the experience.
Do you feel that the internship helped you to get the job you’re in now?
Definitely. During my second year at university, we had on campus trainings to reinforce the theories in our software security classes. Most of the work related to software development and best practices for security.
The last part of the process was an internship where we learned what it’s like to work in the real world. My internship with Raytheon exposed me to the job market and helped me understand what’s in demand right now within cybersecurity.
What inspires you to learn about cybersecurity?
I’ve always been interested in computers. I remember that my first operating system was Windows 98 and even when young, I wanted to understand how computers work.
The world is becoming an increasingly digital place where everything we do is related to computers and devices that we program to do something for us. Computers are an essential part of our daily lives.
During the pandemic, many businesses moved to remote work and struggled through online cyberattacks. I understand that cybersecurity is the future and that we need to protect the technology we use every day.
How did you hear about the Raytheon and BUID?
I learned about Raytheon (opens new window) as I researched companies for internships and I was impressed with what they do. It was an amazing experience to be an intern there and learn from their team.
I received a recommendation for the BUID program from Raytheon. They were my sponsor because I did well during their internship and they thought that I deserved to be a part of the BUID program.
What’s your dream cybersecurity role?
There’s no specific role I’m aiming for because I love cybersecurity. I’m willing to work in different roles to learn as much as I can about all responsibilities.
Currently, I focus on threat intelligence, incident handling & response, and digital forensics. I also try to penetrate web applications and find vulnerabilities.
I’m drawn to threat detection, but I enjoy assignments related to other fields like penetration testing. Being drawn to one field doesn’t mean that a professional should make it their entire focus. We need to be current on all aspects of cybersecurity.
Do you have any advice for new students looking to study cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is exciting and you can see its applications everywhere. If you’re interested in cybersecurity, just go for it! Read books. Take online courses. There are lots of them that can help you. It doesn’t matter where you start; you just need to be serious about making the effort to learn.
I had no background in programming or cybersecurity but I managed to learn a lot and land a job! And, I’m still learning. Others can do it too.
Is there anything about Project Ares that sticks with you?
There’s clearly been a lot of effort made to make the user interface look attractive. I’m a gamer and I enjoy the presentation. It’s exciting when virtual machines load as I enter a Battle Room.
Also, I thought the hints were extremely helpful. At some point it can get frustrating when you don’t understand a specific problem and how to solve it. The hints helped me look at things in a different way that I hadn’t considered.
The Project Ares team appreciates all we learn from our students.
We’re excited by their passion, drive, and desire to be successful! Thank you MohamedAmmar, and best of success in your cybersecurity career journey.