Starting out in IT, Jean-François always thought that being a hacker was out of reach. He was under the all-too-common preconceived notion that a hacker had to be fluent in assembly and was constantly writing 0days. He says, “From the moment one of my old bosses showed me Metasploit and popped that first reverse shell, I knew in that very moment that this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
While he started out as member of a security operations team, Jean-François quickly shifted his focus towards infrastructure penetration testing and network security. Coupled with his strong background in networking topics, such as network architecture, routing switching, network segmentation/segregation, and network devices (Cisco, Check Point, Fortinet, Palo Alto, etc.), this quickly lead to him becoming one of the driving forces behind NVISO’s red teaming approach. He provided cyber resiliency services to their clients with a focus on infrastructure-based assessments, red teaming, and social engineering.
With NVISO’s transition into purple teaming, Jean-François was often called upon to give pure purple assessments in addition to his red team work. This all made him well suited and even ideal for teaching SEC699: Purple Team Tactics - Adversary Emulation for Breach Prevention & Detection. “You need expertise in both red and blue in order to achieve success in purple team operations and there aren't that many of us out there yet. I strive to make students that sign up for the SEC699 purple experts when they walk out.”
After a while, Jean-François left NVISO to join TrustedSec as a senior security consultant. Where he worked in the Force team performing various internal and external penetration tests. Fast forward a little bit and Jean-François is now security researcher at HelpSystems, where he is helping the Cobalt-Strike team with developing new features and engaging with the community on a very regular basis. On top of that, Jean-François is a freelance security consultant that still performs assessments with TrustedSec, when the opportunity presents itself.
In his spare time, Jean-François enjoys reading research available to the cyber security community and watching talks about other superstar researchers. In addition to infosec he is also an avid #redteamfit supporter and even, on occasion, can be seen acting and singing.
Here is a SANS presentation with Jean-François Maes:
So, you want to be a red teamer? | SANS Webcast
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY JEAN-FRANÇOIS MAES: