Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't.
Today's guest is Snow, Chief People Hacker at IBM X-Force Red Team.
She’ll explain to us the use of pseudonyms in the hacker world and the story behind why she choose “Snow” as hers.
We discuss how she got introduced to cybersecurity when some friends invited her to DefCon and when wandering off she had the life-changing experience of picking her first lock.
Snow will share with us her tips and experience with public speaking, how to avoid being on your own way, how she obtained three black badges and she explains the process of founding your own DefCon Village.
“Get outside of your comfort zone.
II wouldn't be here today if I hadn't done that, for sure.
Push yourself and go outside of your comfort zone because that's where the magic happens”
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Make it a great day.
Transcript is automatically generated and may contain errors.
[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast. Where everyone belongs. Even you? Yes, you. My name is Chris Grundman and I'm here with my co-host, Zoe Rose.
[00:00:20] Zoe: Hey!
[00:00:21] Chris: This is the Snow episode and I think we're all in for a treat. Snow is your friendly neighborhood con artist.
[00:00:31] Chris: Hey, Snow, we're you like to introduce yourself to the imposter syndrome network?
[00:00:35] Snow: Hello, and I'm so excited to be here. Yes. Uh, so my name is Snow. I am the Chief People Hacker. Yes. That is a real title for IBM's X-Force Red Team. I've been a professional social engineer for several years now. I've won a couple of cool awards.
[00:00:53] Snow: I have three black badges, and I am the co-founder of the new social engineering community, which is a social engineering village at def.
[00:01:03] Chris: Awesome. Uh, that's fantastic and I'm glad you listed all those things. A lot of those are on our list of, of items we wanna talk to you about. But first I wanna dive in with a potentially sensitive question, uh, that many of our listeners may be asking now, which is why Snow?
[00:01:20] Chris: Uh, obviously, you know, we're, we're using that for your name and I'm wondering if you can talk to us a bit about pseudonymity. Choosing your own name and maybe how you ended up being known as snow.
[00:01:31] Snow: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. So a lot of hackers, and this goes back way, way long ago, they wanna stay anonymous, right?
[00:01:39] Snow: They, they like to hide their personal identity and, and keep it away from, Maybe some of the things they do online. Now, if you were to Google me, it's not hard to find my real name. I've not tried very hard at all to, uh, keep that private. But if, if you think about it, some people are out there, some of the stuff they're doing, they don't want their real identity tied to what they do, which makes complete sense.
[00:02:01] Snow: I just actually had this nickname since I was 16 and it stuck. So quite a while. So I was lucky. I think if I was, you know, new to the industry and wanted to come up with my own hacker handle, I would probably be struggling. You don't have to have one. So if you're new to the industry, it's not a requirement.
[00:02:19] Snow: It's fun, It's cool, but not a requirement. You asked me how I got this handle, honestly, a stupid story, but I'm gonna tell you anyways. . A lot of people think, uh, when they hear the word snow, they think of the cold shit that falls from the air. It's actually based off of Snow White. I am a huge Disney nerd.
[00:02:38] Snow: When I was 16, I went to Disneyland with a group of friends. And um, my boyfriend at the time wanted, or I wanted to buy the Snow White wig really bad and he went and bought for me for a surprise, but he put it on and I was so mad because his big head was searching it out as like, You're not snow, I'm snow, or something stupid along those lines.
[00:02:59] Snow: And that nickname has stuck ever since. Fun fact, that boyfriend is now my husband and we've been married for a very long time. . So yeah, he didn't piss me off that bad .
[00:03:10] Zoe: Oh, that's so sweet. . I love that story. Yeah. No, I, I, I go online. Um, I had a handle before and I made it when I was a child as well. Well, not a child but young and I just go by Rose sec now. Not as exciting as a story though cuz mine is just my surname. .
[00:03:28] Chris: Yeah, I was never creative enough so thought that I needed a handle when I first got on like IRCs and like that kind of stuff in the early days and I literally just could not think of anything. Mm-hmm. , I think I put too much pressure on myself, so I just started using my real name.
[00:03:43] Chris: Which at the time that was actually weird. Yep. Uh, you know, online in a lot of these communities. So
[00:03:48] Zoe: I've had a few different, um, handles that I've gone by. But, uh, when it comes to just ease, uh, that's why I went with, uh, Rose Sec. So my main one is Rose Sec. But yeah, I like, I like making up handles to each their own.
[00:04:00] Zoe: Yeah. Good at consistency. Have a .
[00:04:03] Chris: Speaking of handles, there's a couple interesting ones here. You mentioned a chief people hacker and then even X-force red. So everything to do with your current job is, is kind of interesting. Can you tell us like what a chief people hacker actually does day to day? Like what is, What is a day in the life?
[00:04:19] Snow: Yeah, yeah. So I actually have a dual role on my team, which I'm really excited about. So the chief people hacker part. Is all things social engineering. So we have a large group of penetration testers and different types of hackers on our team around the globe. And what I do is I run our social engineering practice from a global perspective.
[00:04:40] Snow: So anytime we're given any type of work related to social engineering. So OSINT, fishing, vishing, physical security assessments, things like that. I'm typically the one that oversees them. I train anyone who on our team who's interested in it. I like to do a lot of trainings for our interns and different kinds of greenhorn programs that we have.
[00:05:00] Snow: So co-ops, apprenticeships. It's just a passion of mine. So I love teaching, I love overseeing these types of assessments, and I'm also still lucky enough that I can keep my hands dirty. So if a really unique one comes in, I'm able to to help out. A lot of times we're making these, it's not just a one person, you know, going and do the work where it's more of a team based.
[00:05:21] Snow: And I love that. I love collaborating with other people cuz a lot of times I'll go in it, you know, from my background, you know, my biases, things that I'm used to seeing. And then I'll work with someone else who like has this totally different perspective. I'm like, Holy shit, that's brilliant. Why didn't I think of that?
[00:05:36] Snow: And so being able to work on a team is fantastic. So that's, Half of my job in a good portion of it. And then the second part of my job is I am, uh, over innovation delivery for all of X-force. So all of our are red, which is our offensive security, our IR side, and is our threat intel too. So I kinda get to see a different part of the business and I absolutely love that as well.
[00:05:59] Zoe: That is a exceptional role. It sounds really, really exciting, but one thing that kind of stands out to me is, I mean, from an external point of view, you're bloody impressive. You mentioned in your intro you've got what, three black badges. Maybe it's worth explaining what those are actually to some people that wouldn't know.
[00:06:19] Snow: Yeah, absolutely. So in, um, information security, there's a lot of conferences. And some of them have what they call a black badge, and typically those are given out as awards for either completing some type of, uh, challenge or ctf or, uh, maybe someone who's contributed in. It's a way of rewarding them. The two that I'm, I'm super excited about, so I do have one for Defcon for winning the social engineering capture the flag back at DEFCON 22.
[00:06:46] Snow: So it's, it's been a hot minute, but I won that competition, so worked my ass off. Really excited. I got to show off my skillset and that actually launched me into my career. So super thankful for that one. And then in 2017, I wanna say I was on the winning team for a physical security challenge at a conference called Saint Con.
[00:07:06] Snow: And that challenge was so much fun. Pretty much how it worked was. It was a simulated room and with a door on the outside and you had to go through and pick locks and bypass RFID controls and do all these different challenges. And so, um, our team won that, which was really exciting. And the third one was for B Side Sacramento for, for helping getting them, you know, their first year off the ground.
[00:07:30] Snow: And I was keynote speaker and pretty exciting stuff.
[00:07:33] Zoe: With that. I mean, yeah, that is really exciting and really cool. But with that, it's so strange to think that someone as impressive you would have any sort of imposter syndrome or have any way of feeling like they're not doing a good enough job. My thoughts are like, Is there a time that you've been in a situation where you felt quite overwhelmed and maybe how did you deal with it?
[00:07:54] Zoe: Because from, obviously from the external point of view, I couldn't even imagine being where you are.
[00:07:59] Snow: Um, all the time. so many times that I can't even think of a specific time. Especially at the, you know, it, I feel like it, it slowly gets better the more your career progresses. But when I was the first few years in, in this career, it was overwhelming how much I felt like I didn't belong and not that I felt like anyone put that on me.
[00:08:22] Snow: Right. That was definitely put on myself by myself. And you know, there's a lot of things like, you haven't been doing this long enough, you don't have enough certificates, Like all of these different things. I also let it fuel me a little bit. I'm kind of, I'm petty and I let things fuel me that maybe they shouldn't.
[00:08:37] Snow: Um, but by doing that, it helped challenge me and propel me. But there are absolutely so many times where I'm like, Wow, nobody should be listening to me right now. Like, , I have not been doing this long enough or, or whatever that is. So yeah, absolutely. Still to this day, I, I feel like an imposter. Absolutely.
[00:08:56] Zoe: That's interesting cuz I think, who is it? Somebody had said that the emotion of like fear and excitement are the same and uh, just kind of, how did they say it? They said changing your perspective helps you get more motivated I suppose you could say. So it's almost like that's kind of how you've taken it as worried, but then changing your perspective is motivated you go further.
[00:09:20] Snow: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's really helped me a lot is. Being able to use that fear right, and propel it into something positive. And that, that for me has been incredibly successful.
[00:09:32] Chris: Fantastic. Rolling back a bit, right? Cause you know, as Zoe said, right, very, very successful career. I wanna get into some more of the, the things you've done and kind of achievements that, that you've had so far.
[00:09:43] Chris: But first I want to kind of roll back to the very beginning again. You know, how did you first get interested in, I mean specifically social engineering, but then maybe cybersecurity more broadly?
[00:09:53] Snow: Yeah, great question. So my background is nothing technical, nothing hacking related by any means. The career that I had before I got into InfoSec was I was a freelance, special efects makeup artists.
[00:10:06] Snow: Like completely polar opposite, at least what I would consider. And so, I stumbled into learning about this career and it was kind of a fun way. So we had a group of friends who wanted to go to Defcon one year, and I had never heard of Defcon. I didn't understand what hacking was, but I was like, I wanna go to Vegas.
[00:10:25] Snow: I'll go hang out by the pool and sit drinks while you all listen to nerd shit. That sounds good to me. And, uh, someone got me a badge, , and so. I went and I remember falling asleep in a malware reversing talk. I felt so bad, but it went completely over my head and I was sitting next to my husband and he was like, you know, jabbing me like, Stop snoring.
[00:10:47] Snow: He was like, Go wander around and meet people. And I was like, That sounds terrifying, but okay. And so I went and I found the Lock Pick Village and I was like, What are these people doing? This is weird. And I walk in and, uh, to this day I really wish I knew who the person was who helped me because I want to thank them, but I don't remember their name.
[00:11:06] Snow: But he's like, Have you ever picked a lock before? I'm like, Why would I ever pick a lock before? Like, no, I have not picked a lock before. And he sat me down and he. Taught me how to pick it, and it was really scary how fast I did it, and I got off handcuffs and all these things. But there's something magical about the time someone picks a lock for the first time.
[00:11:25] Snow: It's like this light bulb goes off in their head where there's two things they're thinking. The first one is, Wow, that was too easy. And the second one is, Holy shit. All of my sensitive documents and all these things that I need to protect that I have right. That are, that I think are safe because there's a lock there.
[00:11:42] Snow: And so it's just like so eyeopening. And so that to me was tremendous. And then I found the social engineering village, and I remember sitting in and listening to some of the calls. I'm like, Ooh, I could do this. I like talking to people like, this is exciting. And I just went back from Defcon on fire with like this passion to learn as much as I could.
[00:12:04] Snow: I found every book on social engineering, which there aren't any or weren't many, and you know, started pivoting into reading body language, rapport building, influence techniques, and, and learning as much as I could in practicing and practicing. And I went back and that's when I started competing in that challenge.
[00:12:23] Snow: And I competed three years in a row and every year I would go back and I would teach myself more and more to the point where I started getting people like in the audience who heard my calls, asking me to start doing freelance work. And that's how I got my start in information security, specifically social engineering.
[00:12:39] Chris: What a wild story! So, I mean, just, you know, being taken to Vegas for this conference kind of launched into a whole new career.
[00:12:46] Snow: Yeah. So I mean, if you think about imposter syndrome, hello. This is someone who has like, no, like, Background to be there or anything, you know, remotely interested in the, in hacking in general.
[00:13:01] Snow: And now I have a career out of it. Like there have been way too many times to count where I definitely feel like I didn't belong.
[00:13:07] Chris: For sure. I mean, that makes a ton of sense to me. How did your career evolve from there? I mean, could you give us kind of the rundown, like the 60 second or less version of from Defcon to, you know, running some stuff at ibm?
[00:13:19] Chris: What's in between there?
[00:13:21] Snow: Yep. So that was a 10 year span, so a lot happened in that 10 year after Defcon I started doing a lot of freelancing and I ended up starting my own company, and so I did a lot of social engineering work. I did that for about a year until I, I really understood security very well, and then I, from there I worked at two other information security consultancies, so I learned a lot.
[00:13:42] Snow: Did the consultant hustle, you know, Um, Q4 killed myself every year, learned so much, and then I went to a government contractor where I got to have a little bit of a different taste of things, but still in the information security realm, and then landed my job at X-Force. I've been there for four years now.
[00:13:59] Zoe: Wow.
[00:13:59] Zoe: That's quite a journey. That's really cool. Actually, , that brings me to one question I really like to ask people is kind of understanding what is the biggest challenge that you've faced in your career?
[00:14:10] Snow: The biggest challenge that I faced in my career, I think it's honestly me getting in my own way. I absolutely, you know, take a situation like, Oh man, I screw this up.
[00:14:23] Snow: Or just little things like that. Like I get in my own head so much and a lot of that is imposter syndrome, and I think that is very difficult for me. So I'd say between that and then still, you know, struggling to get outta my comfort zone time to time, those are the two that, that have been the hardest for me.
[00:14:43] Snow: I think everything else, I've been pretty lucky and blessed and have made amazing connections and friendships along the way. So yeah, I think I am my own worst enemy.
[00:14:54] Zoe: Yeah, but from the sounds of it, that almost gives you energy as well. So that fear and that, oh my goodness, I'm not enough, so I'm gonna push harder, is almost a, this kind of self propellant, uh, machine.
[00:15:06] Zoe: I guess we could call it , but, um, no, I, I definitely can relate to you in that as I, I like to tell myself I'm not good enough and then realize, actually looking back, I've done a couple things here and there, so that's kinda cool. But I will say from my perspective, you're very impressive. So you can always remember that
[00:15:25] Zoe: Well, the other thing I wanted to talk about was your training and keynoting, cuz you touched on that earlier. I think a lot of people ask how you get started in that area, like maybe training or how you get started in public speaking, and then also maybe what's your motivation for it?
[00:15:43] Snow: Yeah, those are great questions.
[00:15:45] Snow: So I'm gonna answer the motivation first, and. That's to give back, right? I feel like I've had amazing mentors and people who have given me advice, and I don't wanna stop there, right? I, it's easy to take it and propel myself, but I love propelling others. I've gotten here because of other people and, you know, I, I don't wanna stop there.
[00:16:04] Snow: So I love seeing other people succeed. And so when I can, you know, train or present and share knowledge, that, that to me is so fulfilling. I absolutely love. Now advice for folks who are interested in presenting or training or anything like that. If you're scared, still do it. I, to this day, so I've broken into 130 unique buildings, I get terrified every single time I get that same fear before I get on a stage and give a presentation.
[00:16:35] Snow: It does not go away. And so if it's something you're scared of, Use that, right? That's totally fine. It's completely normal. Um, that's just one of the things I hear a lot of folks who haven't done, you know, public speaking before, say, so just wanted to get that out of the way. It's normal . Um, but to get started, check out your local conferences b-sides or even if you have like a local DEFCON group, any type of hacker meet up, find a way to get yourself involved and get on the schedule.
[00:17:04] Snow: Like starting really small, so like local BSides and things like that are a fantastic place to get your foot in the door and to do a first time training. In today's day and age with Covid, right, there's a lot of places going virtual. I would search to see what conferences are out there and submit a presentation.
[00:17:21] Snow: That might be a good way to break into it, right? It's a little bit less terrifying looking at a screen than a a room full of people. So that might be a great way to do it too. Or even, you know, think about having, starting your own YouTube channel. Everyone has those things they're interested in, so don't let anything stop you.
[00:17:38] Snow: One other thing, actually, it just came to me, I wanna say about this. Um, The other thing I hear besides, you know, it's terrifying, is that it's already been covered before, right? We, we've been around for a good handful of years. Whatever topic it is, someone's already done it. Someone's already done it twice.
[00:17:54] Snow: They don't have your perspective, they don't have whatever knowledge you have, and things change, right? We all know that technology changes like the blink of an eye. So whatever has been done in the past, there's new ways to do it. So don't let those two things be an excuse. And stop you from doing any type of presentations or trainings because as rewarding as it is for other people to, you know, hear and and learn from you, it's so rewarding to yourself too, to be able to give back and and to teach others.
[00:18:23] Chris: Yeah, that resonates with me a lot, snow. And just to kind of restate what you said, cause I think it's really important, I've had the same experience. Public speaking for me is terrifying. I definitely, uh, don't throw up beforehand anymore, although that has happened to me . But I do definitely, you know, have this fear, you know, definitely right before I go on stage.
[00:18:44] Chris: Uh, and then luckily it kind of transforms away from that and it's a kinda. What movie is, is it Old school with Will Ferrell when he is like doing the debate? Yeah. And he throws out and like says all this smart stuff and then like snaps back to and doesn't know what he said. Yep. I sometimes I feel like that with my public speaking. I dunno, ,
[00:19:01] Snow: that's good. That's very true.
[00:19:03] Chris: But, but then the other piece, right, I think, you know, just as important is this idea that no one has your perspective. Right. I think of what you said and that's critical. Cause I, I've definitely been my own worst enemy, both in blogging and public speaking. And thinking that, right?
[00:19:18] Chris: Like there's nothing new under the sun. It's all just rehash. I'm not really, you know, saying anything new or unique and I, I, so I, I really appreciate you giving that advice and that feedback to everyone out there listening. Just because someone has said even something very similar or covered a topic exactly the same as what you're covering, you are going to cover it in a different way.
[00:19:36] Snow: Absolutely.
[00:19:37] Zoe: One thing that I always think of when, um, I think of, uh, writing something that, like you said has been covered already, is my husband does, um, Brazilian jujitsu, and so he's a coach and he teaches people, you know, the different, I don't know what you would call it, different positions, different moves, whatever,
[00:19:54] Zoe: Um, as you can tell, I'm not skilled. But I try. But, um, the one thing that a lot of the feedback he gets from other students is you've covered this very specific detail that nobody's pointed out before. And they may have learned that lesson before, but actually didn't see the, um, that specific point. And when you get all these different perspectives, even talking about the same topic, they might highlight things that weren't highlighted before and actually teach people things that they could have missed.
[00:20:22] Zoe: So I think it's always beneficial to get multiple perspectives.
[00:20:26] Chris: Yeah. So, you know, speaking of public speaking and conferences, I guess more so, I know you mentioned, and I, and I, and I've seen this online, you are a co-founder of the DEFCON Social Engineering community, which is a Defcon village. So first, I mean, you know, for folks who maybe aren't in the Def Con, you know, family quite, What is a Defcon village?
[00:20:50] Chris: And then, you know, how and why do you start one? Um, and then specifically one about social engineering. Yeah.
[00:20:57] Snow: Yeah. Great question. So, to, I guess start at the beginning. So, Defcon is, I'm pretty sure the world's largest conference that happens once a year in Vegas, typically in August. So very, very large. I think the, I wanna say the highest number of attendees was like 35,000.
[00:21:13] Snow: A lot of people. But a village within DEFCON is, I like to think of it as like a sub conference. It's like a small group that focuses on a very specific type of hacking. I think this year there were 30 something villages, which was huge, and it's great to see. Right. You have anything from a car hacking, IOT hacking, bio hacking, There's a blue team village, like all of these different things that you can think of.
[00:21:38] Snow: And there are these whole little sub communities and they have their own room. Some of them have contests and presentations and everything that focuses around that specialty. So that's. What are villages at Defcon? So this was, um, this last August was the first year that my husband and I founded, um, the social engineering community.
[00:21:58] Snow: And we were really, really excited and terrified, to come in and, and start this brand new village. It was so rewarding while we were setting up. You know, there's so many times where we like too sure, like, what are we doing? We're, this is a lot of work. Is this gonna be worth it? Are we gonna do good? Are people gonna love.
[00:22:17] Snow: And the amount of compliments that we got, just like, ugh. It made my heart sing. It was so great to hear how much people learned from it. So the social engineering community that last year had a handful of things. So we had a very big competition, the fishing or voice fishing competition, and that's where we had 16 different teams.
[00:22:38] Snow: That had been pre selected before DEFCON even began. And they were each assigned a target company. And so they had to go out and do OSINT open source intelligence gathering to find different objectives against their target company. And then the scary part is when they showed up at Defcon, we had a huge soundproof booth.
[00:22:55] Snow: Or they sat in and they made live phone calls to try to elicit those objectives in front of a audience, which is terrifying. But it's a really cool way to see social engineering in action. And to also, one of the things we did is we, you know, we were excited when they got the objectives. We were also just as excited when the company stopped them, right?
[00:23:16] Snow: Like, I shouldn't be giving you this, You know, I've been trained on this. This doesn't seem right. We love seeing both sides of it and that's a great way to, to see that in the village. So that's just one of the many components that we had in the, uh, the village this year.
[00:23:29] Chris: That's really cool. I like that a lot.
[00:23:30] Chris: And definitely I saw pictures and things. I didn't make it out to Defcon this year, but I saw pictures of the, the call board and uh, I dunno, looked like, look like a gas.
[00:23:39] Snow: Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was fantastic. It was more than, than I expected and every single team did amazing. One of the things when we were doing.
[00:23:48] Snow: We were trying to think of how do we make this around a community and something we were really excited about that we added, and it totally paid off, is what we call coaches. So each team had the ability to meet with four different coaches who were experts in the field to give their advice. Right. So as they're going through and crafting, you know, their, their pretext or their call script or, you know, going out and doing their homework, they got to meet one on one with these coaches who gave feedback.
[00:24:14] Snow: And that's important to us to, to build that community. We don't wanna just have people sign up and fail, right? We wanna support people. Have them learn as much as they can and set them up for success. That's extremely important to us, and I was so happy that it, it really paid off if, if anyone listened to the calls, Even the ones that didn't do amazing, still did amazing.
[00:24:32] Snow: You know, the only time that it was bad is if people didn't answer the call. Every time they got someone online. They, they were fantastic.
[00:24:39] Chris: That's awesome. Very cool. Well, kudos on, uh, on creating that and then also on the success with this year's village for sure.
[00:24:46] Zoe: Yeah. One, one thing that I like that you mentioned was that setting them up for success.
[00:24:51] Zoe: One topic that we go through with quite a few other people brought up was, um, mentoring and kind of in lines with a bit about your comment about training and giving back to the community, and then in this case as well, setting up for success. I think one thing that a lot of people think of when they go to conferences is to sit there and watch somebody present, right?
[00:25:14] Zoe: But I think there's a lot of conferences out there, especially when it comes to security that are more than just that lecture style. There's the workshops or there's these villages, for example. Do you have any insights on maybe other, Because I live in Europe, so DEFCON is not really something I can attend, so I'm not expecting you.
[00:25:36] Zoe: No, all of the conferences out there, but do you have any thoughts on any other conferences that maybe some people that aren't able to attend something like DEFCON could look into?
[00:25:46] Snow: Yeah, that's a great question. So I would absolutely suggest, um, checking out BSides. Those are smaller local conferences. And see if you have one in your area.
[00:25:55] Snow: Those are typically fantastic, um, smaller group of people and in your immediate community too, right? They're, they're people that you definitely wanna network with. There. There are websites out there, and I wish I knew them off the top of my head, but that even have like upcoming information security conferences.
[00:26:11] Snow: Those would be a great resource to check out. Just a couple pieces of advice when you go to conferences is, I know it's exciting if to to see a talk and stuff like that. They're recorded. You can watch them later at any time. I love spending conferences, networking with people, meeting people if there are trainings.
[00:26:29] Snow: Those are fantastic too. Presentations are great, but watch them later online. You know, in your own convenience. Meet people, talk to people, it will benefit you so much later in life. Right? If you have those connections and you know, let's say I'm at Chris and I know Chris is looking for a job, and then I meet someone else later who's look who's hiring for exactly what I know Chris is looking for.
[00:26:49] Snow: I'm able to connect them or if I'm hiring, right? Just little things like that and building those relationships can go such a long way and even help you out in your career. Later on. Maybe you're looking for a job. Or you're running a conference and you need speakers. Just being able to network with people is one of the biggest things that you can do in this, in this industry.
[00:27:10] Chris: Yeah, definitely. I wanna underline that again. Uh, snow. It's definitely been my experience as well. I think, in fact, I would say, you know, I don't know what percentage, but, but some fairly large percentage of, of my career is really due to folks I met at conferences.
[00:27:25] Zoe: Oh, totally mine. Mine as well. My first conference talk was a BSides and after that I went to Cisco live where I met huge community.
[00:27:36] Zoe: So I, I am all for the people networking, even though maybe the physical, you know, networking, networking is more comfortable, uh, the people networking really is beneficial
[00:27:48] Zoe: as well.
[00:27:49] Chris: Yeah, there's not quite a protocol is there for talking to other people.
[00:27:53] Zoe: No . Although we could take some social engineering classes from Snow to learn how to people better.
[00:28:00] Chris: There you go.
[00:28:01] Zoe: I'm more for it, .
[00:28:03] Snow: That's fair. Yeah. I think that's something that it's hard for people to get outta their comfort zone, especially if they're more introverted and maybe have a harder time, you know, talking to someone. I promise it. We'll pay off in the long run getting of your comfort zone and even just to, Hey, are you enjoying the conference?
[00:28:17] Snow: Or have you, have you gone to eight talks you enjoy? Just that initial question is, is most of the time enough to break the ice and continue from there? So get outside your comfort zone. I believe in you. You can do it.
[00:28:29] Chris: Yeah, I was actually, what was I, I forget if I was listening or reading to something. I'm terrible about attribution, but, um, someone was telling a story about this time where they were in like a green room going on a TV show, and they were sitting there and like one of their like, you know, all time favorite authors was also in the room with them.
[00:28:45] Chris: And then some other person they didn't know and they were sitting there kind of freaking out, like, how do I start a conversation with my hero and the other person? Just said to both of them, Do you guys like soup? Uh, which sparked this conversation. And they sat there and chatted for 20 minutes and kind of got to know each other.
[00:29:00] Chris: So it almost doesn't matter. It's just broaching that that divide.
[00:29:03] Snow: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:29:04] Zoe: Oh, that's a really good point. I'm like, one of the people I got to meet from conference going was, uh, Canadian astronaut, and the way I broached that conversation was awkwardly standing near him, and he asked if I wanted a selfie
[00:29:22] Zoe: So, yeah, I, I mean, in our community, I mean, he's not, he's not really in our community. Mostly when I've gone to conferences that are people that are very technical, they usually understand that social anxiety and aspect, and they've been pretty easy to connect with because they usually can recognize my awkward stance near them that I wanted to have a chat
[00:29:44] Zoe: But I like that point of just literally asking anything and it can bridge that conversation. Breaking the ice is what it's called, isn't it?
[00:29:51] Chris: Yeah. Ice breakers. Yeah. Well, we are running out of time today, Snow. Thank you. We really appreciate you for sharing your story with the Imposter Syndrome Network today.
[00:30:04] Chris: And also thank you to all of our listeners for your attention and your support. Please remember to follow, like, and share this episode if you enjoyed it and found it helpful. And feel free to join us on LinkedIn for all the in between episodes and conversations as well. We have, uh, a LinkedIn group there to chat.
[00:30:20] Chris: Now before we go snow, please tell us if you could, you know, teleport back or open a wormhole to yourself. And I'm imagining you, like at the, at the, you know, Mandalay Bay Beach Pool waiting to go to Defcon right, The beginning of your kind of cybersecurity career. What advice would you give yourself back then?
[00:30:41] Snow: That's a great question. I, I think I would sum it up to get outside of your comfort zone. Going back to that story where I said I kind of, you know, I went into the lock pick village, that kinda withheld some stuff. I paced back and forth before I went in. Um, I'm lucky I went in, I was terrified. But by getting outside my comfort zone, like I wouldn't be here today for sure.
[00:31:01] Snow: And I, I still look back at situations where I wish I would've gotten outside my comfort zone even more. Cuz who knows what could have happened. So I think if, if were to take anyone were to take anything away from today, would. Push yourself and get outside of your comfort zone cuz that's where the magic happens.
[00:31:17] Chris: Awesome. I love that. I think Mark Twain said something along the lines of, you know, you, you never regret the things you did. You regret the things you didn't do. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. Well, are there any projects you're working on or involved in that we haven't already talked about, uh, that the network should be aware of?
[00:31:33] Chris: And also how can folks connect with you if they, if they wanna chat or can they?
[00:31:36] Snow: Yeah, great question. So, I know the social engineering community is a once a year thing at Defcon. However, um, it is, it's still community and we're gonna keep it going year round. We're planning on doing monthly things, um, more information to come.
[00:31:51] Snow: So I would suggest keeping an eye on our Twitter account, so it's s e c underscored Defcon, d e f. C o n or signing up for a mailing list. We, uh, about once a month we put out some good content out there. So that's a great way to kind of see what's new in the social engineering world. And then if you want to connect with me, uh, Twitter's probably best.
[00:32:09] Snow: It's underscore s n zero ww.
[00:32:13] Chris: Awesome. We will see you all next week.
[00:32:16] Snow: Thanks for having me.