Software Developer

Enfuse 2017 Reflection – Matthew Fortier: A Software Developer at Enfuse

Introduction

It’s no secret that EnFuse is not a conference marketed towards software developers. There are moments where a dev can feel welcome – like during one of Guidance Software’s demos showcasing the newest features of their EnCase forensic suite –  but other than that, there’s not common ground. The average software developer wouldn’t get much out of this conference if they were looking to speak with developers and get their hands on new SDKs and software builds. That just isn’t what EnFuse is about. EnFuse is a conference for professionals in digital forensics and cybersecurity; it is a platform where experts can educate their colleagues and peers to in hopes that the greater security and threat prevention communities will become more rich and diverse in knowledge and experience.

Highlights for a Software Developer

That said, there are still plenty of reasons to consider going. If you are a programmer interested in security, this can be a great experience. Many of the people attending this conference have an active interest in protecting their companies’ data and servers. These are great people to introduce yourself to and network with. As a software developer you can learn a lot from security professionals’ horror stories. I know some of the conversations I had at EnFuse 2017 reminded me how important SQL injection prevention techniques are and how easy it is to overlook. I had another conversation about Javascript Web Tokens and how important it is to use secure authentication methods for APIs and databases. It is actually more beneficial for you, as the developer, to learn from others’ mistakes because these security issues can become a nightmare for entire companies.

Programming Courses

There are also usually some interesting courses related to programming each year. I attended one such session on securing web applications with Powershell and PHP which was very informative and certainly directed at cyber security professionals currently in the field. EnFuse also offers many Python courses throughout the conference. Typically the skill level required for these courses are minimal, and focus more on the value of being a digital forensic investigator with coding practice. Python can help forensic examiners speed up monotonous tasks as well as develop their own custom tools to suit specific needs. This is what the majority of the courses are like, which can be a bit disappointing if you already know how to code.

They also have training courses for their own scripting language featured in EnCase, EnScripts. These scripts allow EnCase users the ability to customize their experience by automating tasks and adding more custom functionality to suit their needs. This is useful for everyone because EnScripting is not widely taught.

Product Highlights

Another reason to go to EnFuse as a software developer is to keep up to date on the latest programs and products. After all, the event is hosted by a software development company who produces essential products for digital forensics and cyber security operations around the world. Though I did not see too many EnCase developers, it is always fun to check out the upcoming versions of a product. Guidance Software is not the only company showing off software either: behind every unique tool shown off at EnFuse is different software that allows it to function. One trait that I’m sure to share with other developers is my curiosity of how things work. When you arrive at a booth that is showing off forensic workstation that can image terabytes in seconds, you have to wonder how the developers implemented the software so well.

One booth that always intrigues me is Splunk: they provide disk image processing, parsing, and searching solutions. You have to wonder how they developed a searching algorithm that can parse an entire hard drives worth of data to find keywords in a reasonable amount of time.

Enfuse

Conclusion

If you are a software developer that loves data, algorithms, file permissions, data structures, and developing software that matters and makes an impact, the forensic coding space may be the perfect fit for you. The industry desperately needs more skilled developers to further enhance digital forensic and cyber security products. As we improve, we can better protect our people and keep their data safe. One of Guidance Software’s mantras this year was about being the 1% of people who protect the other 99% vulnerable to cybercrime. The more developers we can get in this space, the better we can serve people everywhere. EnFuse is a great opportunity to get your feet wet and get you interested in the cybercrime space. It is something I have considered doing after graduation; it’s a space where a software developer can make a serious difference.

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