Blogs and News - St George's School, Edinburgh

30 Aug 2019
My Cyber Security Work Experience
cyber security

During the summer holidays I did work experience at a company called Fortinet. They create high-performance network security solutions that protect your network, users, and data from continually evolving threats."


On my first day I was nervous as I'd never done any work experience before and didn’t know what to expect. I was shown to a desk that I would be using for the week and given the technology I would need and a ‘plan sheet’ of the week.


That day I played an online game where you were a judge in court and had to see if people were guilty of violating the Computer Misuse Act, completed NSE 1 and NSE 2 (Fortinet training courses) and used Minecraft to solve logic puzzles.


Tuesday was very exciting. My challenge was to try and infiltrate the company next door.  They knew what was happening, so it wasn’t illegal. You're probably wondering why on earth was this even relevant! In cyber security you can become an ethical hacker where you test security systems of companies. Sometimes this means physically going to the place using social engineering. Social engineering is when you convince people to give you access or information by posing as somebody you are not. After researching the company, I created a fake ID and job, then just rang the doorbell, told them my story and asked for the pass. Surprisingly they believed me! I felt a bit like James Bond.


The next day I learnt how to use a Linux operating system. One of the people in Dev Ops created a maze of files, images and documents that I had to use the command line to navigate. I had to look for a secret message hidden somewhere in all these files. At some points it was very frustrating as it felt like you were going nowhere but using the right commands, I found the message hidden in an image file. This technique of hiding a message in an image is called steganography.


On Thursday I solved loads of different types of ciphers like Substitution and Playfair ciphers.  One of the most difficult ones ended up just being the elements on the periodic table and I'd just completely missed the not very subtle clues.


On my last day I presented a PowerPoint presentation to the employees which wasn’t actually that scary as they were all really cool and made me feel really welcome. Over the week I saw some big differences between school and work. At school you are on a timetable and don’t have much independence but at my work experience I was allowed to get my lunch whenever I wanted from wherever I wanted and I didn’t need to ask to get out of my seat,  That took a bit of getting used to. Overall, I had a great time and I learnt loads!


Emily (Lower 5)


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