Not all hackers want to hurt you. Brage Celius, 27 years old, is an Ethical Hacker at Orange Cyberdefense Norway. And he is your best ally in the fight against cybercriminals.
“Where malicious hackers choose to use their knowledge to launch cyber-attacks for their gain, ethical hackers work with companies to prevent malicious hackers from succeeding at such attacks,” Brage Celius explains.
In his role as an ethical hacker at Orange Cyberdefense, he helps customers test the security of their systems so that they can then make it more difficult for real attackers to achieve their goals. It is called “pentesting” for “penetration testing”. It is an authorized simulation of an attack by a threat actor against companies’ digital resources. Often, web applications, APIs, or networks of IT systems are the target of such tests. But it can also be mobile applications, Wi-Fi networks, or physical locations for example.
“It is a very special feeling to face a network, a system, or an application that will hopefully be completely secure… and to manage to get around the established security barriers. It gives both a personal kick and lots of added value for the customers in the sense that they can then close the security hole,” he says.
After studying Information Security as an undergraduate student at the NTNU in Gjøvik, Brage focused on various aspects of IT security. Then, he decided to immerse himself in penetration testing. Passionate about his craft, Brage had the ambitions of becoming one of the best; joining a worldwide company was the obvious choice to achieve that goal.
As Europe’s largest provider of security services, Orange Cyberdefense has over 100 dedicated penetration testers worldwide. They can perform all sorts of pentests, no matter the need of the customer. “I saw the opportunity to help build the pentesting capability in Norway. I was triggered by being able to shape an environment with great ambitions and a lot of resources. At Orange Cyberdefense, I have every opportunity to be amongst the best in my field, and due to the size of the company and its wide range of customers, there are also many exciting opportunities in the business in the long run.”
On a typical working day, Brage is either out on missions for customers, working to improve his skills , or helping to sell new assignments. A typical mission can last from one to several weeks and be very different from one to the next. Brage works from his office or at the customer’s, depending on the type of assignment he has.
And since pentesting is a team-spirited job, relations with colleagues matter a lot, as well as the work environment. “The work environment in the company is fun. We work in a very social environment. Orange Cyberdefense invests time and money on its employees for them to thrive. A good working environment is extremely important to me, and I think the best way to know if you’re happy or not at your job is whether you are looking forward to going to work. It has been the case for me ever since I started, and I still enjoy my days very much,” he says.
“At Orange Cyberdefense, you have the opportunity to develop yourself in a safe environment with many competent colleagues,” he adds.
To succeed as an ethical hacker, or in penetration tests, it is important to have a solid dose of curiosity and motivation, Brage believes. You will constantly encounter new technology or situations that you have not experienced before. It is then important to acquire knowledge quickly, and understand how things work. “Often the vulnerabilities we discover are very specific to the customer’s system. Good logical sense is the most important skill a penetration tester should have,” he says.
If you are an IT student and you are interested in penetration testing, Brage recommends investing time in practical exercises where you can gain real experience. For example, on the HackTheBox website, you can be assigned devices that you can try to hack. The more machines you hack, the higher your ranking.
This will demonstrate what you can do when applying for a job. And when that time comes, just get in touch with Brage! “Regardless of whether we have a job advertisement out or not, we are always looking for good people. Let’s meet!” Brage concludes.
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