by Fuel HQ
The Fuel Original Member Spotlight is a regular series on the Fuel for Thought blog, highlighting inaugural members of Fuel who joined the community in 2015. Each spotlight sheds light on a Fuel member’s background, industry experience, and shares some little-known facts and interesting member stories.
Jeff Mathis, Information Security Engineer in Atlanta, Georgia has been working in cybersecurity for fifteen years. He has certifications in Cisco, Juniper, SourceFire and Palo Alto Networks. Read on to learn more about "The Commodore Kid" and his experience in the world of cybersecurity.
Are you a morning person or night owl?
Big time night owl, ever since I got my first Commodore 64 30 years ago. I would stay up nearly all night
playing with it, which was actually learning-- I just didn't know it.
Piece of technology you can’t live without?
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Cold since I live in Hotlanta. Chocolate and peanut butter are nice, but there are not too many flavors of ice cream I don't like.
Preferred social media platform?
LinkedIn. Anti-Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Of course I love YouTube because of all the musical gems I find on there every day.
What was your first job?
I wrote a magazine article for The Computer Trader Magazine, which was distributed nationally and to over 30 countries. My column was “The Commodore Kid”. I mainly reviewed Games and BBS's about my C64 with cassette tape “disc drive” and 300 baud modem. I also worked for Software Etc, which was purchased by Babbages and later became GameStop. But we had computers for people to check out the software before buying, including the first Mac and PC clones.
How many years have you been working in cybersecurity?
I have been around it since 1997 in a variety of roles, starting at BBN Technologies and then at AT&T, but it wasn't until about 5 years ago that I decided to become as technical about IT as I could. At first it was mainly networking but quickly grew into information security. And I realized it is my true passion and would I love to read about, talk about, and learn. I also enjoy teaching others and facilitated helping people learn networking and getting their Cisco Certifications in Atlanta for several years.
What is your "How I saved the day" story?
I was the Implementation Engineer on a large Palo Alto Networks install of two 5060s in HA. These were for hospitals state wide,a medical school, and over 150 clinics, all connected to the Internet via VPN, back to the main network, and to and from different zones within the environment. We labbed everything up for over a week because the network was very complex and of course short on documentation.
Our maintenance window started at 4:00 AM Labor Day morning. We connected the first one at the data center and didn't even drop a packet. We then drove over to the other data center, and the minute we switched over to it, the network came down. This prompted a RED Alarm and a phone call with the CEO and President the Hospital Enterprise, President of the Medical school, and everyone downstream from them to us. The one thing that we could not lab out was the dual homed ISPs, which meant we needed to have the interfaces set differently on the two PA-5060s. If we didn't get it installed that morning, they were going into a no MACD (Move, Add, Change or Deletes) to their network or security until after the first quarter, which was 6 months away.
They finally gave us the 15 minute warning to fix it. With seven minutes to spare the Palo Alto Networks Sales Engineer told us to change the settings on the interfaces and the network normalized. I didn't save the day; it was pure teamwork and the Palo Alto Sales Engineer going above and beyond during the entire project.
Trend in cybersecurity that excites you most?
Threat Intelligence. STIX/TAXII and all the companies offering dashboards and anonymous sharing,
which which is our best way to implement changes before the hackers start using the same techniques against my company or a client's.
What do you hope to get out of Fuel?
Increse my knowledge and skills as a leader and trainer.