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#9 From Being Hacked to Ethically Hacking for Fortune 500 Companies

Summary of the Podcast

Alex Thomas is the CTO and co-founder of Red Sentry. He started his career as an ethical hacker exposing vulnerabilities in companies. His interest in hacking and cybersecurity started in middle school after watching movies that featured hacking scenes. He went to college for a cyber operations degree where he learned how to perform cyber attacks and defend against them.  

Alex then worked as a penetration tester for several years legally hacking into Fortune 500 companies. Eventually he left to start his own company, Red Sentry. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and advanced due to evolving technologies. Hackers are relentlessly probing companies like T-Mobile for vulnerabilities on a daily basis. Even though companies get hacked occasionally, the hackers only need to succeed once while companies have to defend every time.

There are ethical hackers like Alex who legally hack companies to identify vulnerabilities and improve security. They use the same techniques as malicious hackers but for good purposes. Automated patching, phishing training and detection software are some of the best security practices for startups. While open source security tools are free, commercial tools have dedicated security researchers developing exploits to identify more vulnerabilities. AI tools like ChatGPT are being used to generate phishing emails at scale, but standard phishing defenses still apply. 

For those wanting to become an ethical hacker, Alex recommends getting hands-on experience as early as possible through platforms like Hack the Box. Learning to program also helps since you have to understand different technologies. Certifications like OSCP are also useful training resources.

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Everything you need to know about compliance