Throughout my career I’ve been a DevOps Engineer, Software Engineer, and Systems Administrator. I specialise in building cloud infrastructure with AWS, Kubernetes, SaltStack, and Terraform for startups and enterprise companies. Some of my primary responsibilities include:
- Building and maintaining infrastructure for startups and enterprise.
- Provision machines and deploy software.
- Ensure high availability for all core services.
- Multi-cloud disaster recovery procedure and documentation.
- Reproduce production environments locally for developers.
- Create CI/CD pipelines to automate developer workflow and deployment.
- E2E and unit testing for software and infrastructure.
- Automated vulnerability scanning and enforcement of security best practices.
- Adhering to compliance requirements such as HIPAA and NIST.
- Identity and Access Management.
- Monitoring and metrics evaluation.
- Incident handling.
- Cost management.
Alongside that I’m also a Backend Engineer. I’m currently most proficient with Python and bash, and have previously worked on projects using:
- Ruby on Rails
What Brought Me to Where I Am Today?
When I was a kid, my parents rented my first console from BlockBuster. It was a Nintendo 64. Since then I’ve been enamored with video games and have served as both a source of entertainment and the foundation of my passion for programming.
Middle School - Programming Baby Steps
Newgrounds - Flash and ActionScript
Newgrounds was immensely popular when I was growing up. It was the first user generated content site I was exposed to and inspired me to learn ActionScript to submit my own game. I also invested time in learning Macromedia DreamWeaver to create my own website, though I would not succeed until much later.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - SCM
GTA:VC released on PC in 2002 after finishing the single-player campaign, I found a multiplayer mod called Multi Theft Auto: Vice City. There was no premise other than allowing players to gather in the massive open world. The community quickly started grouping up, forming alliances for gang fights, organised races, stunt performances, and joyriding. One day the fun was ruined by someone in a helicopter clipping through walls and instantly killing anyone they collided with. More people popped up both invincible and moving at impossible speeds. It was the first time I encountered cheats. One of the cheaters I spoke to introduced me to basic anti-cheat - bypassing CRC checks for trainers by hex editing. Soon afterwards, I learned how to program in SCM, GTA’s scripting language, to create my own mods and cheats.
NeoPets - SWF Decompilation and Cheat Engine
Following my exposure to Flash games from Newgrounds, through a SWF decompiler, Neopets taught me how games operated on a deeper level. After gaining a lower level understanding of how a game functioned, I moved on to learning Cheat Engine and made simple memory modifications to earn more Neopoints in several games.
High School - First Real Foray Into Game Hacking
GunBound - Cheat Engine and OllyDbg
GunBound came out during a time where people started coming together to form communities where people discussed and released different ways to hack the game. I participated in several forums and IRC channels, and started really making headway understanding how computers and desktop applications worked on a lower level. Using Cheat Engine and OllyDbg, I was able to debug the game to gain a deeper understanding of how it worked and produce cheats such as 1 hit ko, god mode, and infinite item usage.
More advanced anti-cheat also meant simple hex editing would not suffice to make
use of the tools I was accustomed to. I learned many ways to circumvent nProtect
GameGuard, such as redirecting their servers to “update” from localhost through
hosts file. Alongside that I learned more about web development
gold to my account.
MapleStory - Assembly Language, Botting, and Packet Editing
MapleStory, being an MMORPG, introduced me to bots and more advanced methods of using Cheat Engine. I starting sharing more of my discoveries amongst the community after gaining a better understanding of Assembly Language (ASM) and writing my own bots starting with Visual Basic and AutoHotkey. I was also introduced to packet editing through Windows Packet Editor (WPE) and began to understand how information was passed through the internet. Even more advanced anti-cheat also meant I learned more ways it can be circumvented, such as replicating the memory for nProtect to read from whilst the real game memory was being modified through Cheat Engine.
Counter-Strike 1.6 - Amx Mod X and C++
I absolutely loved this game. These were the good ‘ol days where the community would host their own servers instead of nowadays where we would play on company owned ones. This meant the modding community was thriving, and one of my favourite serves had a Pokemon mod, prompting me to learn AMX Mod X to develop plugins for my own dedicated server. I didn’t make anything notable but it was still a fun project.
I also gained interest in the cheating scene for an FPS. There were primarily wallhacks and aimbots. The source code for one of the dominant cheats called OGC was released or leaked. This was when I learned the basics of C++ and OpenGL to write my first very basic cheat.
Back to Web Development
Being part of several communities, I also wanted to create one. I started off learning how forums operated through phpBB, vBulletin, and Invision Power Board. I purchased web hosting and learned how to host my own website and write PHP plugins to customise the (now defunct) sites I launched - MapleBound, CSBound, and CompactGaming. CSBound failed because I had no good releases to draw people in, however MapleBound and CompactGaming were successful due to me being able to release cheats for GunBound and MapleStory. My friends and I started a premium cheat subscription where subscribers will receive the latest private undetected hacks. We also didn’t want the software cracked so we invested time on how to obfuscate the binary. CompactGaming was an all purpose forum reaching 10,000 members at peak and was monetised through Google AdSense.
College and Afterwards
My personal growth started shifting away from game hacking as a hobby to receiving a proper education in computer science and preparing myself for a career.
Risk of Rain 2, Among Us, Phasmophobia, Fall Guys - C#
Unity is a popular game framework, which is easily decompiled through dnSpy. Cheat Engine has also advanced to utilise Mono, which is the framework that powers scripting in Unity. Despite not knowing C# or spending time learning it, it was intuitive enough for me to pick up and write simple modifications to the game.
OSCP is a penetration testing course and certification. While taking the course, I learned how to infiltrate networks, find vulnerabilities in software, write malicious payloads, and gain root access to machines. It is an excellent course and the knowledge gained is invaluable as someone who needs to be security minded for work.