Fabio Alfaro

When, why, and how I got into computers

In 2007, I was 13 years old and I had just purchased my first iPod shuffle (1st generation). I’m talking about the long vertical iPod shuffles, not the new generation rectangle iPod shuffles.

Being 13 and not to savvy with technology (at the time and as opposed to kids nowadays); I had trouble putting music on my new iPod, so I consulted one of my friend’s older sister who was in high school. It was by her help, that I came to learn about the necessary software needed to put music on the iPod (iTunes) and other peer-to-peer software (Limewire, Ares Galaxy, Bearshare..etc.) that would allow me to download any music I wanted.

From there on, I was hooked on technology.

Before my iPod, I was running after the school bus with my CD Player inside my backpack. – I’m sure many people of my generation can relate to that. I was impressed by the fact that this small device, that fits in my hand; could hold over 240+ songs, while my CD Player was much bigger but held less than a fraction of that.

Since 13, I’ve been focused on learning as much as I can about computers. The following Christmas of that year, I received a Desktop computer that was running Windows XP. At 16, I used my dial-up connection to download Visual Studio Community Edition (a software used to create windows programs) and created my first .Net application.

The story of my first program is long, but the short story is; I created a software that would scrape YouTube usernames of people who had recently commented on viral YouTube videos. The software would then send a message to those users promoting another YouTube video, log out, log into a new account and repeat the entire process again. If I left the software running overnight. Within 24 hours, I could send out 10,000 messages (With a DSL connection and sending 20+ messages per account) to people who were most likely already on Youtube. I put ads on the software and made it so that every hour on the hour, the software would browse to one of my ads and click it. – I wasn’t aware this was against ad rules (I was 16 and not reading the TOS agreement). I did make about $600 a month for a couple of months until I was caught and my ad account was terminated. – The click-through ratio wasn’t adding up.

I Moved a lot

From Royal City to Tricities, from Tri-Cities to Umatilla OR,  back to Royal, and finally back to Tri-Cities.

I grew up in Royal City, WA a small town with a population of fewer than 2,000 people; at the time. At the end of 8th grade, I moved to Tri-Cities, WA and attended Chiawana High School. Therein, it became evident that even though I didn’t have access to computer classes in Royal Middle School; I was still at the top of my computer classes at CHS. Due to my skills, I received a letter of recommendation from my computer teacher. I moved back to Royal City, finished high school, and moved back to Tri-Cities the next day after graduation; to start my B.A.S in Cyber Security.

Since 2013, I’ve been passionate about Cyber Security, specifically with a focus on three areas; network security, wireless security, and digital forensics. I received a 4.0 in major courses such as Ethical Hacking, Wireless, Security, Network Security, UNIX Administration Security, Capstone and more. I went above and beyond in homework by creating test environments at home with hardware such as routers, servers, virtual machines, and wireless adapters.

In my wireless security final, I used Parrot OS to hack my friend’s WPA2 wireless encrypted network, (with permission) to gain access to his internet. I was successful, as this is easy to do nowadays. Nevertheless, throughout all the projects and homework I’ve completed. I’ve learned that one cannot know everything about computers because technology is always advancing. It is because of this, that I am passionate about Cyber Security as a whole and seek to learn more every day.

 

“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newton D. Baker

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