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Meet the InfoSec Team: Brett McFadden, Information Security Analyst II

Brett McFadden

Brett McFadden, Information Security Analyst II, originally wanted to be a website designer. After taking a few classes in web development, he concluded that CSS – a style sheet language used by effective web developers – can only be understood by “wizards.” After consulting with a friend, Brett decided to investigate the cybersecurity program at a nearby university for non-magic folk.

Upon graduating from Southeast Missouri State University, Brett worked as a contractor for BJC Healthcare, installing virtual desktop infrastructure/Epic equipment. Preferring cybersecurity-focused work, Brett eventually discovered an opening in WashU’s Incident Response team and applied for the role.

Brett spends a lot of time reviewing reports of suspicious emails from the WashU community. He says that many people don’t realize that there’s information hidden in email headers, and this information is useful to the team when evaluating the authenticity of the message. The easiest way to get this information to the incident response team is to use the Phish Alert Button (PAB). When you report using the PAB, the incident response team can look at the hidden information within email headers which “can help determine if an email is or is not legitimate.”

As a member of the incident response team, Brett finds the chaotic workload, paradoxically, “somewhat peaceful when looking for something odd, weird, or outright malicious.” Brett’s favorite part of his job is how every day presents “new threats, different malicious emails, and a continuously growing and expanding network” that “keeps me on my toes.” Brett relaxes at home by playing the bass guitar and video games.