Here at Sandboxx, our mission is to connect and support our military community, but we also receive invaluable support from our military community as well. One of our top priorities is security, and thanks to the MD5 Startup Innovation Fellowship, we are honored to have Senior Airman Byun join the Sandboxx team. For the next 6 weeks Airman Byun will spend time with our team and help ensure that the Sandboxx app and systems are as secure as possible, and hopefully, he can learn something from us too to take back to his work with the Air Force.
Name: SrA Byun, Kyle
Job Title: Digital Network Exploitation Analyst, United States Air Force
Tell us a bit about your journey and time thus far in the Air Force?
In October 2015 I flew to Lackland Air Force Base to attend basic military training. Here I spent seven weeks being challenged both mentally and physically being transformed from a humble recruit to a confident Airman. As a 1N4A, it took an additional year of training after BMT before I entered the operational Air Force. I spent six months at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas learning about intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
I then made my journey East to attend the Joint Cyber Analysis Course (JCAC) in Pensacola, FL. At JCAC, I spent an additional six months becoming proficient in cyber analysis by learning about various topics such as cryptology, forensics methodology, and malware analysis. But in the military, training never stops! After arriving at the 41st Intelligence Squadron in Maryland, I continued to receive on the job training, formal training, and even have the opportunity to learn in civilian sector courses.
The Air Force has allowed me to constantly gain knowledge so that I can apply it to my work and inadvertently spread it to my peers. These opportunities have lead me to earning industry standard security certifications in Linux+, Security+, Net+, and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). I think by earning these certifications and constantly striving to improve myself has allowed me to progress in my military career at an accelerated pace; I have been chosen twice for special mission teams and promoted six months early. I am very fortunate to love what I do and to be given so many opportunities to prove what I can do. I intend to take every opportunity the Air Force gives me so that I can help and learn in every way possible.
How did you end up working with Sandboxx?
I am now working at Sandboxx for six weeks as part of the MD5 Startup Innovation Fellowship; MD5 is an Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) national security technology accelerator. The fellowship gives military members the opportunity to work alongside innovative partners in the industry while working on issues related to their respective missions.
With my command’s approval and endorsement, I applied under the guidance of my supervisor and ended up competing against several other applicants before being chosen as the 70th ISR Wing’s candidate for the program. Learn more about the MD5 Startup Innovation Fellowship here. For more information on the fellowship, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
After having a great interview with Swamy – the Founder & CTO of Sandboxx – and getting the approval of my chain of command to be taken off of operations for six weeks, I have started working with Sandboxx.
I hope to learn about the methodology behind a start-up company, further my understanding of computer language, and see how analysis is applied in the civilian sector. I think these elements align with how the shop I work in runs and can be melded into our current methodologies. Getting a chance to work in the civilian community that has such a focus on the military should make this experience really insightful.
What do you wish to accomplish while working with Sandboxx?
I hope that by the end of my time here I will be able to contribute to the project as a whole and make a lasting impression. By using my own computer knowledge and attention to operational security, I hope to help Sandboxx move to the next level of their operational security. This will also allow the Sandboxx users to feel safe and trust Sandboxx with their information.
In our current age, it is really important to understand the gravity of our online presence and how much information a malicious individual can garner or exploit out of their victims. With a strong security posture and knowledge about how to prevent specific types of attacks, Sandboxx can become a strong component for communication between military members and their families without having to worry about a stranger on the other side of a screen.
How did you make the decision to join the Air Force over the other branches?
To be honest, I made my choice based on early misconceptions about the other branches – Army is always on the frontline; Navy is always at sea; Marines are Marines; Coast Guard involves a lot of drug busts and patrolling.
The Air Force seemed like the sleek new thing that was all about technology. Having gone to college for computer engineering, I wanted a chance to use what I had learned and felt it would better suit my skills and abilities. But after joining I realized that every branch covers every facet of warfare – they just specialize in certain fields. This is why we are so effective as a fighting force. But I still believe the Air Force was the right choice for me.
What was your decision behind enlisting over commissioning?
Before I joined, I saw enlisted as the operational, technical portion of the military with the officers as the bureaucratic, administrative portion. I wanted to really use the skills I was learning, to really be involved in the everyday activities without having to worry about managing other people. I may have been mistaken as I’ve met technical officers and learned a lot more about the military in general, but I don’t regret making the choice to become enlisted. I think either path is viable and much of what I’ve seen and learned will provide me with future guidance whether I decide to apply for Officer Training School or not.
Why did you decide to join the military?
I knew I always wanted to serve as the structure and opportunities that the military provided would broaden my horizons and lead me towards a successful road in life. Growing up, my father was my role model and his principles lead me to where I am today. In South Korea, it is mandatory for all males to have military service which meant that my own father was molded by this mode of thought. I knew that if I wanted to have a similar experience and forge my own future, that it was the right choice to make. Unfortunately for me, my father never got to see me in uniform as he passed away during my Junior year of college. But moving forward I know that my father is proudly watching over me as I progress through life in the United States Air Force.