Sunday, May 10, 2015

What worries me most about myself is that I arouse passions

Interview with Chema Alonso

Charisma is the word when it comes to Chema Alonso, CEO of Eleven Paths, a subsidiary of Telefonica Digital dedicated to cybersecurity, which is celebrating its second birthday. Chema has been nearly two decades in the business. What could we say about him that has not been said yet? He is the social engineer who knows how to detect and surround himself with the good guys, and the audience favorite 'hacker'. After hundreds of lectures, even photos with fans, he is the kind of rara avis expert becoming a superstar.

But... after this studied pose of 'showman', there is someone very, very serious and tenacious. There are a few guys in the industry with PhD -injection techniques in his case-, that privately he shows as one of his best hacks. Just where the show, the money and the strategies end up, is where we find this 'kid' from Mostoles, who loved to write, to draw, to program; the teacher who always he wanted to be, the reason why he can explain cybersecurity in a simple and entertaining way. Come and see.

How did you get into this?
I was moved by the movie 'TRON' and then there was an academy in my neighborhood where you could read "Information technology is the future." Captivating slogan.

What's your motivation to keep on?
I can not do anything more. I love learning new things and this world at this particular point is endless.

Do you have a hero?
I always admired people like Rosendo Mercado (rock musician), a person who took a work routine when he decided to be a musician, and he never changed that even when becaming very famous. He is true to his work and his ideas.

What 3 things you take with you to a Capture The Flag?
Well. A FOCA, Fermin J. Serna who is a nice "thing" (it sure helps me with binary and crypto), and an amulet expecting many web tests.

What worries you about cybersecurity?
My concern is that non-technical people is in the hands of cybercriminals because they do not understand the measures of protection or because they are not trained to understand them. Mainly that someone like my mother did not have a good Internet experience because of the bad guys.

And what do you like about it?
The possibility to give a twist to everything to do something new every day. A new hacking technique and a new security technology is always possible. It is an absorbing vortex.

Have you ever suffered virus?
On a 1512 PC that I used in academia as a student, I got one of those replicating itself from one floppy diskette to another, and stayed resident. I kept it for years. In my 486 I got another one in a diskette from the college. In Windows XP I got some spyware that did not make me fucking funny, one of those that changes your search bar and others. Luckily, I never had a heavier thing...

What is your worst -online- fault?
No idea. I have so many and to choose the worst would be difficult. I think that what worries the most to myself is that I arouse passions due to my work. There are people who love me and others who hate me, without even meeting me in person. I am not so good, I am not so bad. I'm a normal computer professor-minded who likes to tangle and tell things, nothing more.

And your greatest virtue?
Mainly the same. In my sin is my penance, and in my victory is my defeat.

Does any sentence guide your steps, a sentence that you have not turned into password?
I follow many dogmas. Discipline is part of my essence. But if I must choose one of so many, I would select: "On the Internet there are wolves and lambs. If you're not a wolf, you happen to be a lamb."


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