When I asked Mary Luck Muir for an interview, she invited me to join her at An Oven of His Own, her husband’s small storefront bakery. Over the soft murmuring of the happy lunch crowd, this jovial social engineer, dressed casually in a soft blue crop top and capri khakis, tried to explain what it is that she does everyday! Nothing like the stereotype of a person who has dedicated her career to IT, Mrs. Muir is charming, poised, and has a delightful sense of humor. She had the quiche and arugula salad.
JS: Ethical hacker sounds like an oxymoron.
MLM: Yes, you are right about that, yet here I am! A certified one no less, by the EC-Council.
JS: Can you explain to our readers what it is you do?
MLM: I am a masked rider in a white hat, testing the security of business and government networks to locate vulnerabilities that can lead to fraud and a data breach. Oh, and I just want to make it clear: They hire me! They pay me to do this!
JS: What kind of background do you have?
MLM: I learned my profession in the military. They call it “penetration testing.” I earned my certification in A+ first and held a garden-variety position in tech support. I gained additional work and life experience as an admin, collecting another certification in Network+. I dabbled in network engineering, earning security certifications in CISSP and TISCA.
JS: Do you attend conferences in your field?
MLM: DEF CON. I have been going since 1997. It’s a hoot.
JS: What do you do when you are not ethically hacking?
MLM: I crochet like crazy! I will teach it to anyone who expresses a mild curiosity about it. I recently made a creamer, sugar bowl, and plate in crochet.
JS: Woah. How in the world do you, I don’t know, stiffen the yarn?
MLM: A trade secret! Just kidding! I use starch in a bowl and I soak the items for 15 minutes. Using the bottom of a small glass or bowl to shape the creamer and sugar bowl, shaping by hand the lip of the creamer and handles. The plate can be achieved using any flat object. Allow all pieces to thoroughly dry and voilà!
JS: This is a stunning work of craftsmanship!
MLM: Or crafts-woman-ship!