The Ethical Hacker – What It Means and Why It’s Essential to Understand It 

Forbes Italia

For The Italian Language Version
(Per La Versione In Lingua Italiana)

Passionate about technology and cybersecurity since he was a young boy, Stefan Umit Uygur founded Dectar and is a consultant to the governments of Israel, the US, the UK and Ireland. 

Indeed, he is determined to disprove common negative views about the industry: “We want to make the system free and efficient.” 

Introduction of the Ethical Hacker Concept & It’s Mission

Despite his name, Stefan Umit Uygur is Italian. He grew up in Cosenza, Italy, and became interested in technology and cybersecurity quite early in his youth, when he experimented hacking and tapping the first cell phones available. 

After high school, he continued his education in computer science and mathematics at the University of Calabria and founded Hacklab Cosenza (Cosenza Hacking Laboratory), a technology and innovation research center that focuses on free software, security, networking, digital rights, robotics and organizes projects, workshops and events on these topics.

An evangelist of “open source” computer programs, with a great passion for knowledge sharing, Uygur fights to eliminate false negative perceptions about the hacker world, instead promoting its ethics and philosophy of freedom. “It is necessary to specify that I am an ethical hacker,” he explains. “The word ‘hacker’ has acquired a negative connotation over time, becoming synonymous with cybercriminal. Instead, a hacker is an expert in networks and computer security who, driven by ethical principles, passion and curiosity, is committed to democratizing access to information and sharing it, to keep the system free and efficient. This is the true essence of such individuals.”

“Today it is necessary to specify that I am an ethical hacker, because the word hacker has acquired a negative connotation over time, becoming synonymous with computer criminal. Instead, a hacker is an expert in networks and computer security who, moved by ethical principles, great passion and curiosity, undertakes to democratize access to information and to share it to keep the system free and efficient. This is the true essence of the figure of the hacker”.

Dectar's CEO Stefan Uygur feature in Forbes Italia

Wanderer’s Life and Commitment to Cyber Security: Dectar is Born

After living in more than 15 states, Uygur settled in Dublin and in 2017 founded Dectar, a company whose mission is to develop a product that makes cybersecurity “democratic and accessible.” 

He has taken his expertise around the world and traveled to more than 90 countries, working for multinationals such as Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Amaya, AWS, and First Derivatives. He specialized in IT systems administration, Linux systems, “penetration testing,” securing systems, vulnerability management, data center design and construction, and cloud and/or “on-premise” technology infrastructure. 

In 2000 he became involved at the institutional level, working as a consultant at the Ministry of Justice, and in 2006/2007 he returned to Italy, engaging in the promotion of “open source” also in public administration. A revolutionary thought at the time, which led him to become an advisor to the Prodi government and co-author of the law “Free Software in Public Administration and Government Structures,” written for the President of the Culture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Pietro Folena.
In 2014 he published the book “Penetration Testing with BackBox”.

“During my work I realized that there was a lack of a democratic cyber product on the market that could be easily available even to SMEs, since the problem of cyber security cuts across all businesses. All organizations are susceptible to attacks, but many small and medium-sized companies have difficulty finding suitable solutions, partly because they perceive the problem as complex to solve and potentially expensive. While large companies tend to install standardized solutions that do not fit their real needs.

This is why, together with my team, I created ACSIA XDR Plus: a scalable, easy-to-use product suitable for small and large companies as well.”

ACSIA is born and Dectar Grows

ACSIA (Automated Cyber Security Intelligence Application) XDR Plus is a cyber product entirely made in Europe by Dectar, which integrates the XDR (Extended Detection and Response) solution with powerful “threat intelligence” and anti-surveillance protection capabilities. It enables real-time correlation of events across all domains to deny access to the IT infrastructure, disrupting the reconnaissance and intelligence gathering that cybercriminals implement before carrying out the attack. 

Dectar has grown a lot in the last two years: after receiving funding in 2021 from Cysero, a venture capital fund created to invest in innovative startups and SMEs and develop an Italian hub of humanoid robotics and cyber security, it opened an Italian office in the Kilometro Rosso science park, just outside Bergamo. Today it has about 40 employees located in several European states, with a development plan to double its workforce in 2023. 

Further evolution of Dectar

“Our company has very ambitious, but realistic plans,” says Uygur. “We are present in France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Turkey, and Kuwait, but we plan to open to the U.S. market as soon as possible. Our expansion is fast and agile: we are a “fully remote” company, meaning that any of our employees or contractors can work from wherever they wish. We do not have fixed locations that we attend every day, but only two headquarters: one in Dublin and one at the “Kilometro Rosso” for our internal meetings or corporate events. We decided to use this model to allow workers to have a good work-life balance, make work more agile, be more sustainable, and save on office management costs. 

We value our talents, and every day we strive to build an inclusive work environment that is open to individual demands. Our strength is our people, and we are constantly investing in that.”

Strong Commitment to Improving National Cyber Security

In addition to serving as CEO of Dectar, Uygur has for years worked as a consultant with the national cybersecurity agencies of several countries, including Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Specifically In Ireland, Stefan Umit Uygur is leading a working group that, according to the document that will guide the drafting of its national cybersecurity plan, authored by Stefan himself, has the goal to “increase national cyber resilience, cyber awareness, create new jobs and new services for the many cybersecurity companies that have decided to establish operations in Ireland, and develop a strategic cybersecurity plan for the government that can also shape European strategies.”

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