Full Stack DFIR Analyst

2015-05-11


The other day, I tossed off a barely-thought-out tweet that got way more attention than I would have ever expected:

You call it "full stack" but we call it "actually knowing how stuff works".

Egg-stacktic

Developers

This came partly from seeing a semi-famous Etsy job requisition for an intrisically-motivated full stack product hacker that came across as more than a little pretentious.

Thales of Miletus was said to have been so intent on watching the stars that he fell into a well. Herein lies an invitation to join those of us, comfortable with this as an occupational hazard, happily contemplating from the bottom... You consider critical thinking to be among your core competencies. Rigor is important to you. You are prone to quixotic behavior. You dedicate time and effort communicating nuance to Manichaeans. Honesty, integrity, and a firm grip on reality are much more important to you than being right. You recognize the inherent limitations of your own wetware, and you do your best to work around them. You find argument exhilarating.

(In the interest of fairness, everyone I've met from Etsy has not been like that at all.)

So the idea basically means that a "full-stack developer" can handle everything from the OS-level work through the middleware, database, and application. Hopefully, this developer understand the environment in which her stack lives, including the host (whether that's a traditional datacenter or cloud or desktop PC). When the term "LAMP stack" had some currency, I would have thought of somebody who could write the [Perl|PHP|Python] code, manage Apache and MySQL, and admin the Linux box. These days, it implies a bit more about UI/UX design and devops, I suppose. But that's not the world where I really live - I just visit there sometimes.

DFIR

So what does a "full-stack DFIR analyst" look like? Beyond never using that term in an actual organization, I'd suggest understanding the following:

You left something out!

Yes, I'm sure I did. By our nature, we have to be generalists rather than specialists. Some other things we probably need to include might be cryptography, legal processes, and interviewing. But I think the above constitutes a minimum core set of things to know. If you'd like to discuss further, please feel free to comment on GitHub or ping me on Twitter.

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