Hamza Kaddour: From Intern to Cybersecurity Software Engineer

by Wen Sin Lim
Hamza Kaddour is a cybersecurity software engineer at Responsible Cyber. He is responsible for automating and improving the services the IMMUNE product provides, as well as providing security services on a high level of quality.

1. What motivated you to pursue a career in this field and how did you get started in this industry?

My passion for cybersecurity mainly came from a burgeoning interest in cryptography and problem-solving which I discovered in High School math classes and through my participation in various computer science algorithmic competitions. Later, while pursuing a degree in Cybersecurity and Defense at the Higher School of Communication of Tunis, I embarked on my End of Study Engineering Internship with Responsible Cyber, where I made my first steps in the industry by marrying Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) methodologies and aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with cybersecurity concepts.

2. Does your work at RCPL align with your personal goals? Please elaborate.

I feel that cybersecurity is a field based on intelligence and continuous thinking, which is what makes it the best fit for me. I like to keep my knowledge up to date and my role, and the environment within RCPL enables me to sharpen my skills in cybersecurity while approaching learning with an open frame of mind every day.

Furthermore, my personal mission is very much aligned with the company’s principles – to protect people and organisations from cybercriminals.

3. What has been the biggest challenge(s) you’ve faced while working on the IMMUNE product, and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge I faced was and still is – just like any other product you start working on –understanding how it works and the main purpose of it. However, because we – as a team - are committed to rigour and continuous learning, we are constantly developing the code to provide well documented functionalities for IMMUNE users.

In order to maximise my contribution and add value to the project, my primary focus is on the development of IMMUNE. I am committed to ensuring that all my deliverables are of high quality and completed within the designated timelines.

4. Has RCPL supported your professional development? Please elaborate.

In my time working on IMMUNE, I have been exposed to various learning patterns and new implementations. It has also enriched the scope of my knowledge in extensive third-party risk management, back-end development and different cybersecurity metrics such as common vulnerabilities and risk mitigation strategies, so yes, I definitely think that RCPL has supported my professional development.

5. What do you think sets the IMMUNE product apart from other products in the industry?

IMMUNE is special in that it does not only cater to third party risk management, but it also facilitates fourth- and fifth-party risk management which is very much necessary to gain a comprehensive risk overview given how interconnected, dynamic, and agile modern businesses are. Its ability to handle multiple risk scenarios, and to keep users updated on the latest security threats, risks and countermeasures are undoubtedly excellent product features, but the real differentiator is that we are constantly incorporating smart new functionalities (UI/UX, questionnaires etc) so that IMMUNE remains competitive in the market and responsive to technology changes.

6. Can you share a project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of while working on the IMMUNE product at RCPL?

I am thrilled to have had a hand in working on the quantification of cyber risk as part of the company’s greater efforts to help our clients better visualise their risk. This project saw me utilising AI and cybersecurity concepts that I acquired while in academia, and it is also the central theme for my final year project for securing my Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) diploma.

I’m also very proud to be part of the team working on the revamp of the Immunity Report – an executive report that identifies which aspects of a company’s cyber risk profile needs mitigating – as we are always keeping it up-to-date to deliver the best and the most secure and accurate experience to our users.

7. How would you describe the company culture at RCPL?

At Responsible Cyber, relationships and exchanges are very transparent and open, the team is nice and cooperative, responsive and respectful. The true gamechanger for me though, is the degree of flexibility and understanding shared among colleagues, as I believe these two metrics are important for building trust and motivation within a team as geographically distant as ours.

8. What are some of the activities or hobbies that you enjoy outside of work, and how do they help you recharge and refresh?

The main hobbies I engage in are:
- Going to the gym: Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is the best way to unload and it helps me regain mental focus after particularly stressful weeks.
- Gaming: I’ve liked to play video games since I was a child.
- Ethical Hacking:  Playing around with some Hack the Box boxes is fun.

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