In July of 2018, I had the great opportunity to participate as a representative of Costa Rica at the Cybersecurity Summer Bootcamp in Leon, Spain. This is an activity made by The Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute, S.A. (INCIBE) with the Organization of American States (OAS), as a training program specializing in cybersecurity for people who work on CERTs (offices in charge of the cybersecurity in a specific country, state or company) or are interested in cybersecurity topics from 45 countries.
You may be thinking, “How is this Bootcamp related to Gorilla Logic activities?” That is the key topic of this article. Currently, I am a software engineer for one of Gorilla Logic’s clients. Ever since I started working at Gorilla I began to discover many of my interests. Why? Because Gorilla Logic is a great company where you can explore areas you like and gain new knowledge. You have the opportunity to learn from awesome engineers every day, create new stuff for fun, and even participate in a very important activity and represent Costa Rica!
The Rigorous Bootcamp Selection Process
Gorilla has supported me since I decided to pursue the Bootcamp and obtain a scholarship. First, I had to apply to participate in a cybersecurity course given by OAS (Mariana Cardona and Gonzalo Garcia-belenguer were in charge) and Ministry of Science and Technology. The course was “Creating a career in digital security #pathways2progress” by CITI Foundation. I applied to be a representative of the University of Costa Rica.
Only 40 people from Costa Rica were chosen to take this course. Another 40 people were chosen from 3 other countries: Peru, Dominican Republic and Colombia. I met some great people from different places and the tutors of the course: Diana Ferreiro and Carlos Perez. They are two Spanish entrepreneurs who are rocking the cybersecurity area in Europe with their company, IHackLabs. Prepared with some theoretical knowledge of cybersecurity, I learned how to do a forensic analysis in just one week! Now I can check evidence to create a timeline of actions and find out what happens in a cybersecurity breach.
After the course, only five people were chosen to represent Costa Rica at the next stage: the course in Spain. This course was different. The OAS was looking for people with previous cybersecurity and entrepreneurship knowledge. Since Latin America, and the world in general, is not prepared for the demand for cybersecurity professionals in the next few years, the course in Spain would combine entrepreneurship and knowledge for this need.
I didn’t receive any news for some time. When I finally got my invitation it was one of the happiest days of my life! I went to Gorilla Logic and explained what I had received. Everyone congratulated me!
Experiencing the Cybersecurity Bootcamp in Spain
On July 5, I took my first flight, ever, to Madrid. On July 11th, I took an AVE train to Leon and began the entrepreneurship course. Here, some experts in marketing and business from the University of Leon had us create a fake startup related to cybersecurity in groups of 5 people. In order to develop a startup, we received training on identifying business ideas and developing business models. This class was made by Santiago Simon, a professor from the University of Leon. He knew a lot about creating new companies from scratch. He explained the importance of identifying key aspects of a new company: the need we want to solve for our clients, how this is going to happen, why we are a better option than other companies, how to define the key partners we need to start, and more! We learned how to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVPs created were judged on the last day of class. Only one group would win the “Best Company” award.
Another expert from Marketing, David Abril of INTDEA, taught us how to sell our company to the judges. He explained the basics of Marketing – an area that many of the participants didn’t know.
My team created a startup called Cybertico. We decided to offer security plans (like Netflix) for homes and offices to monitor, support and control IoT devices connected to the internet (printers, phones, tablets, fridges, computers, air conditioning units, smart TVs). The whole project is explained here and the app we suggested is here. We didn’t win “Best Company” award, but the experience was really great!
During the Bootcamp, I met people from 45 countries. Most of them were in charge of the cybersecurity of their own country. In the final days of the course, we received certificates from OAS and Trust for the Americas and heard some great speeches from experts like Francisco Rodriguez — “Massive Scam: Desmontando infraestructura global de fraude online.” Francisco worked at INCIBE and made a presentation about a Chinese cybercrime network they discovered was creating fake online stores and stealing credit card information.
We met Antonio Ramos, the creator of MundoHacker. We also met the White Samurai, one of the best hackers in Colombia. They told us about their experiences in cybersecurity. Other experts like Horacio Azzolin (Procurator in Argentina), Antonio López Melgarejo y Francisco Javier Sánchez Pastor (Spain National Police) gave talks about real industrial issues they had to resolve related to digital security issues.
In the end, I met so many great people. We all advanced our cybersecurity expertise and brought more knowledge back to each country!