35Mary Sawyer

“In my opinion, some of the most fulfilling work on the red team is being able to work with your blue team to fix your areas of weakness.”

Twitter: @0x_90

Mary Sawyer is currently a member of the red team at Palo Alto Networks. In addition to her work on the red team to stay ahead of the attackers by embracing their mentality, strategies, and tactics to test the organization’s security posture, Mary is also innovating on the purple team program.

Mary has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, with a certificate in information security, from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a strong advocate for inspiring and empowering girls through technology.

How did you get your start on a red team?

I really got my start in offensive security by joining the security club at my college. I had a lot of fun learning and teaching other students about security concepts and cool script-kiddie stuff I had read about online. A sponsor of that club heard about my work and generously invited me to come hack their stuff for a living.

What is the best way to get a red team job?

I’m a little partial to my own approach, which was to join a security club. It allowed me to explore a wide range of topics and gain access to a larger audience. I think there are other, less college-focused ways I could recommend like Twitter or security conferences. Even if you don’t work in security, ...

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