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On Hacking and Aristotle:
Robert Goyette (’19)

Posted: March 18, 2019

Commencement may still be two months away, but Robert Goyette (’19) already has his post-graduation plans lined up: The Thomas Aquinas College senior will begin working fulltime for Blue Mantle Tech, an IT cybersecurity firm.

One may think that an unlikely career move for someone who just spent four years steeped in the great books of Western civilization, but Robert disagrees. “I love giving the liberal arts naysayers my canned response,” he writes on the Blue Mantle company blog. “I might join the cybersecurity workforce before many of my high school classmates majoring in computer science.”

Robert spent the last two summers working for Blue Mantle, and — having just submitted his Senior Thesis — is now studying for his Offensive Security Certified Professional credential, enabling him to become an “ethical hacker” (that is, one who hacks into networks in order to test their security, and not for malicious purposes).

In another blog post, he offers some unconventional advice to the IT professionals who insist that computer users all adopt complex passwords — long, with numerous kinds of characters, and nearly impossible to remember. “Company policies which require complex passwords can lead to users choosing passwords that are actually less secure than intended,” Robert writes. Instead, users would be better served selecting “password phrases (spaces included!) made up of 3-5 unrelated words which have no particular significance to the user.” Randomly chosen words are easier to remember than techno-gobbledygook and harder to crack.

“Maybe knowing all the current technical intricacies isn’t the most important ingredient in a cyber professional, or in any career,” writes Robert. “Because knowing yesterday’s technologies and methodologies won’t necessarily help solve today’s problems.” Instead, he posits some even more valuable skills for an IT professional’s “cybersecurity toolbox,” such as “the desire to learn more, to think outside the box, to analyze problems and fabricate solutions, and to think critically.”