Live To Inspire: Tina Ferati ’12

March 31, 2015

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Tina Ferati isn’t a detective, but her job does involve forensics and investigating crimes, all of which she does online. As a consultant for PwC’s forensics technology solutions practice, Ferati ’12 works on a variety of projects ranging from cyber investigations, incident response and computer forensics to data analytics and eDiscovery—the process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.

Recently, the computer science major focused on a cyber investigation and incident response involving a large retail client who experienced an unlawful network intrusion leading to the seizure of customers’ sensitive financial information.

“My role on this project was to lead the team throughout the digital forensic analysis and give daily updates to the client to report findings,” Ferati said. “Our team ended up finding the compromised computers on the network, the programs and tools used to perform the attack, and was able to locate the stolen data on a file-sharing site.”

Ferati enjoys tackling problem solving and investigating like solving a puzzle.

“Throughout the many investigations I’ve worked on, the most interesting part has been figuring out how the attackers had gotten into the environment, where they had moved laterally within the network environment, what kind of malware had been used, and whether the attackers had stolen anything from the network,” Ferati said. “I also enjoy figuring out which hacker group was involved and the purpose of the attack; whether it was for financial gain, a government sponsored attack, or espionage.”

During her time at TLU, Ferati had the opportunity to do research at Rutgers University to study network science and how to perform in-depth academic research.

“Having that opportunity as an undergraduate is invaluable because it gives you a chance to learn new things and extend your knowledge,” Ferati said. “It also gives you the opportunity to figure out if graduate school and research is something you want to pursue. I worked on some very interesting research that involved the use of network science to develop graph visualization tools that could potentially be used to visualize a terrorist attack, a revolution, social networks, etc.”

Ferati credits attending TLU with arming her with critical skills—like critical thinking, academic writing, computer science, team work and communication skills—she uses on a daily basis. She said her exceptional experience with TLU professors made all the difference.

“They get to know you and you get to know them. I was able to speak to my professors whenever I needed to and they were always available for questions and for help. I truly appreciated this throughout my four years at TLU where everyone was always so supportive and helpful.”

As a female in the male-dominated field of computer science, she said it’s important for young girls and women in college interested in technology careers to receive encouragement to pursue them.

“Information systems and computer science are fields that are now present in every organization and almost every aspect of our lives,” Ferati said. “I know that computer science is a difficult major, but it is also one of the most rewarding. I believe that women who graduate with a degree in IS or CS open themselves up to countless opportunities. I believe it’s time for women to embrace this field and pursue their passion with dignity. The job prospects are tremendous and people can truly make a difference in the world. Additionally, the paths you can pursue are countless and a lot of the foundational skills you gain are transferable in today’s digital world. It doesn’t matter if you aspire to become a software programmer, a security expert, a computer analyst, a system administrator, a researcher, or a teacher in the IS/CS field. All of those careers are fulfilling and will make a difference in the world.”

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