My cybersecurity book journey – Self-reflection and lessons learned

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As many of you would already be aware I have recently published a book “A Hacker, I Am" about all things cybersecurity. I cannot believe how well the book is doing and the kind feedback I have been receiving. That isn’t what I want to talk about in this article though, I want to be clear this article is not a sales pitch for my book (by all means though, buy it if you like). I want to talk about my journey leading up to writing the book and writing articles for CSO Australia over the last 1 ½ years now.

My writing journey started early last year (2018) after I attended the ACSC security conference in Canberra. During the conference, I listened to some amazing presentations and learnt a lot from my peers over a short few days. It's crazy how much you can cram in over a couple of days, it kind of reminds me of that scene in the matrix where Neo (Keanu Reeves) downloads Kung Fu into his brain just like you would download an app (that future ability to learn would make things easier). Current methods, however, are a bit more time consuming and certainly more taxing to absorb.

I also had a few beers and made some new friends along the way but we won’t get into that in this article. There is truly a great infosec community in Australia though and I hope as it grows we don't lose that same inclusiveness that we all try to adopt. So back to the story, it was a big few days and very thought-provoking. It kicked off several things for both Davichi and myself with a push to be more involved and to ensure that our voice is heard.

It was only a few weeks later that I started to bombard you all with my opinions on anything security-related and some not so related. The initial few articles I wrote for CSO and the feedback I received was enough to encourage me to stay on the path I had chosen to go down with telling it how it is and not being afraid to have an opinion. Look it hasn't all been smooth sailing and at times I have had some negative responses from readers but overall the feedback has been encouraging. So I have stuck at it and currently, have more than 60 articles published with CSO. For someone that had never even considered myself a writer or even wanted to write that is a pretty amazing feat.

Honestly, if you had asked me 2 years ago before the ACSC conference I would have laughed at the idea of me writing for CSO, let alone being one of their journalists. Aby and Charlie-Mae from CSO are amazing and it is truly amazing what they both do for our industry. It’s that encouragement and support that took me from my initial three or four articles to the crazy number I have written.

Around eight months ago the idea of writing a book was implanted into my mind during a conversation with Amanda-Jane who was discussing my involvement with CCM (Cyber Century Mentoring), it was as simple as a statement that she was enjoying my articles and "hey you should write a book". I never really let go of that thought after that and it has been a side project of mine ever since. It wasn't a smooth journey, there were bumps in the road and there were a few occasions that I nearly "chucked in the towel" so to speak and let the project go. I didn't though and I worked through the challenges that came up.

These challenges and the journey itself have helped me become a better writer. It is the perseverance and self-belief that I could do it (or maybe I am just stubborn) which has helped me create a great book that can help technical and non-technical people, is pretty easy to read and that I can feel proud to say I am the author of. However, as I indicated at the start I don’t want to make this about the book particularly but I wanted to share about my lack of confidence I had in myself at the beginning and on many occasions through this.

I am a published author (it’s kind of cool to be able to say that J). You don't have to be an avid writer like I am becoming but you can share your opinions. Don't fear what others think of your writing or your opinion if you feel it needs to be shared and can benefit the industry then take the plunge and share it with the world.

Your opinion may be that missing piece we as a community need to resolve a problem or help reduce our risks or maybe even just help to spread awareness of this cyberwar we are waging.

Okay, this is the part where I normally say to you all to tell me your thoughts, let me know what you think but I think for this one you have got it.

Till next time… 

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