I'm Bitdefender Security Watchdog Bogdan Botezatu And This Is How I Work

Bogdan "Bob" Botezatu is a BitDefender senior e-threat analyst who regularly works the graveyard shift at the security firm's Romanian headquarters. While the world sleeps, Bob keeps tabs on emerging threats and developments in the areas of mobile- and social network-based malware.

He has also published several works on the topic of internet security including Malware History, Securing Wireless Networks and The Safe Blogging Guide. We caught up with Bob to find out his favourite apps, time savers and inspirations.

Current gig: Bitdefender Location: Iași, Romania Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy W Current computer: Dell Latitude E6520 One word that best describes how you work: Fast. Our unofficial motto is “The faster you are, the less you get fired.”

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

We’re not only software consumers, we’re also software creators. So I can’t live without the software that lets me build other software. I’m a die-hard Delphi developer – I code most of the stuff I need in Embarcadero’s Rad Studio XE3 and Python. On the multimedia side, I’m a big fan of AIMP for audio and the KMPlayer for video. The rest of the software I need daily is FAR manager, IDA Pro for reverse engineering and Outlook to keep in touch with the guys at work. And a lot of proprietary tools built in house, which don’t even have names.

What's your workspace setup like?

It’s cluttered, to say the least. I’m running a small computer farm next to me and I often need to hard reboot them because they’re running experimental stuff that often crashes along with the system. I’m behind a wall of displays that takes most of my desktop space. The rest is usually reserved for my laptop, docking station and lots of coffee mugs.

What's your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Work more at home, and come to the office for fun and games - especially if you work in an open space. When I need to do something really important, I take a work-from-home day to do it, then return to the office for day-to-day tasks.

What's your favourite to-do list manager?

I only use a mobile to-do manager called Catch Notes. It runs on all versions of Android and has plenty of features. It can synchronize tasks across multiple users, supports work spaces (to split my grocery list from critical features to be implemented in a software product), can take picture, audio or text notes, set reminders and can keep tabs on completed tasks. It’s perfect for work and home chores simultaneously. Top that with cloud backup, and you have a great to-do manager.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?

I oscillate between my Toshiba DynaDock – the external docking station for my laptop - and the Raspberry PI microcomputer that helps me automate a lot of things on the premises. I think I’ll go with the Raspberry. It’s a wonderful gadget that you feed SD cards and, depending on the software on the cards, it can turn into a media player, a DNS server, a Torrent client and, most importantly, into a wireless router. All that for less than $37.

Pictured: Raspberry PI

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Breaking things. I have a true talent for taking other people’s work and turning it into a complete mess. That’s why my colleagues in Development pass me a kit in early beta so I can have some fun before the products reach the market. So yes, I put this skill to good use in my part-time beta-testing.

What do you listen to while you work?

When you’re working with 14 other guys in an open space, a good pair of headphones and a decent music library are mandatory. I usually listen to metal music such as Haggard, Eluveitie, Therion or Delain. When I’m travelling by car with other people, I switch to more socially-acceptable sounds, such as Mickey Gilley, Eddie Rabbitt and the music of the 80’s.

Pictured: part of Botezatu's workspace

What's your sleep routine like?

Working in an antivirus company is a 24-hour job. It’s a business that spans multiple time-zones: we’re 7 hours behind Sydney and 11 hours before San Francisco, so day and night make no difference. There have been days when I left the office early in the morning, especially during a malware outbreak when response time is critical. Luckily, we have flexible office hours, so I can catch up on my sleep the next day.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Let’s say I’m an introvert with great social skills. Even if I spend a lot of time working alone on projects, I compensate this with team trips, teambuildings and, of course, media tours. Last, but not least, we’re throwing LAN parties during week-ends when we gather friends and co-workers, have pizza and play “social games” such as Counter-Strike or Warcraft. Seriously, it’s a great way to make a team work together.

Is there anyone you'd kill to see answer these same questions?

That would be [hacker-turned-computer security consultant] Kevin Mitnick.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Take one small step at a time. Everything is moving at super-fast speed, which makes people set ridiculous goals in super short time. I for one, can barely read my Twitter feed throughout the day because there are so many things happening around. And pursuing these goals is actually what keeps you from taking balanced decisions in the present.

We've asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.


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