Aaron Fenwick, a Partner in PwC's Cyber and Forensics team, helps facilitate ‘SecTalks' - a not-for-profit meetup for technical security talks and hands-on security challenges.
As the Ethical Hack Lead for one of our largest Energy, Utilities and Mining clients, Aaron’s day-to-day job is to lead a team of hackers. His team find and report on vulnerabilities that could be used by a malicious hacker to gain some type of financial or physical control over information or operational technology.
"It’s a way to give back to, and foster technical skills in the security community."
But in his spare time, Aaron helps run, grow and facilitate ‘SecTalks’, a not-for-profit meetup for technical security talks and hands on security challenges.
‘It’s a forum to learn and discuss technical security subjects. PwC hosts this event every month, in almost every state in Australia. It’s a way to give back to, and foster technical skills in the security community,’ Aaron explains.
But Aaron stresses the importance that PwC’s setting up SecTalks is not a branding opportunity. In fact, they’re a silent sponsor.
SecTalks is a volunteer run, grassroots, community effort. At last count, in Melbourne alone, there were nearly 400 members, aka ‘hackers’, of which only a dozen or so were PwC staff. The rest were made up of industry professionals, students and other individuals simply with a keen interest in cyber security.
"I'm no accountant nor did I study accounting, I compromise computer networks for a living."
The level of support and enthusiasm that has been received since the inception of SecTalks has been incredible, which has helped PwC communicate its value for deep technical skills within a business environment and how PwC envisages the workplace of the future to be driven - through technology, technical skills and data.
So how did Aaron land his position at PwC, commonly mistaken to be ‘an accounting firm’? When asked how he would describe his role at PwC he says, ‘I'm no accountant nor did I study accounting, I compromise computer networks for a living. I have my dream job and I couldn't do this if we were 'only' an accountancy firm’.
In fact, Aaron did not go to University at all. He was just 13 years old when he joined the Army cadets and at 17 years old he left school to be with the Army full time.
But it was Aaron’s genuine passion for cyber security that lead him to PwC. ‘I spent many nights learning how computers and software worked.’ After working in the Government for a number of years, Aaron eventually moved into the private sector and started to focus on security and cyber security.
After obtaining the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and Offensive Security Certified Expert (OSCE) certifications, Aaron never looked back, and here he is today with PwC’s Cyber and Forensics team.
When asked what his career highlight is so far, he says ‘By far my most enjoyable professional experience to date has been a recent hack we conducted for a client. This hack meant spending 3 months out in the Australian desert, a lot of sand and hacking into some of the most advanced pieces of technology in the world’.
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