My name is Andrea and I’m originally from Madrid, Spain. I moved to the US during the summer of 2013, with a scholarship to complete a dual Master’s degree at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, in collaboration with my original college in Spain (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid – ETSIT). At first, my plan was to stay in the US 2-3 years and then go back to Spain, to my family and friends, but the circumstances changed. I started working at KPMG after graduating and a few years ago I got married. Now, I’ve been living in Chicago, or as my friends refer to in winter “Chiberia”, for almost seven years!
I miss my family and friends a lot, but we talk regularly and I visit once or twice every year, and sometimes I get visited here too! Receiving visits from family and friends abroad is one of my favorite things! I get to spend time with people I love, plus they give me the perfect excuse to take them to all the delicious restaurants around the city! I love trying food from other cultures and Chicago seems to be the right place for that! There are so many restaurants and variety that there is always something new to try and some new restaurant to go to.
Aside from trying new food, I also love travelling, learning about other countries’ history, culture and people, taking plenty of photos in the process. My husband and I always try to explore at least a different country every year, although this year things may be challenging and that may not happen. Last year we visited Costa Rica, and I would have never guessed the amount of different beautiful birds that exist in the jungles of that country! Of course, at some point in the trip, we got lost, and we ended up in a “road” (it was more like a rocky path which, to this day, I’m still surprised that the rental car survived it) that took us to a Costa Rican farm in the middle of nowhere! We met a nice humble family that seemed extremely confused by how we had ended up there, but they were able to point us in the right direction. After some additional deep exploration of the countryside, we made it to our destination! And that is the kind of adventure that I enjoy the most!
In addition to outdoors adventures, as of last year, I started doing triathlons. I love challenges, both mental and physical. With a little luck, I’ll be able to complete a half Iron Man later this year! However, in the current circumstances I’ve dedicated most of my free time to my other hobbies (indoors) like reading, watching movies, and playing videogames.
As part of the Cyber Response Services group, I focus my specialization in providing Digital Forensic Services and Incident Response to clients, particularly in the areas of forensic examination of artifacts, as well as data processing and forensic collections. I regularly assist in responding to data breaches and Insider Threat investigations, where I conduct log analysis and deep dive forensic reviews to find evidence of attacker activity including malware execution, unauthorized access to systems and data exfiltration.
When I am not responding to client needs, I contribute to the development of KDR (KPMG Digital Responder), where I spend time coding to improve the tool and implement new features that help automate a lot of the processes of forensic collection, analysis and reporting in investigations.
Even though obtaining the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering was fun (and I learnt a lot during the process, enough to make my brain hurt), I also realized that Electrical Engineering was not what I wanted to do professionally. During my college years, I came to the realization that understanding computers, how they work and what you can do with technology was what I really wanted to dedicate my career to. I like solving problems and fixing things. I love researching, analyzing and taking devices apart until I understand how they work. Unfortunately for some, I’m also the person that during the first thirty minutes of a mystery movie calls out who the real bad guy was. Then, one day during a conversation with a friend who worked at KPMG Forensic Technology group at the time, he described one the latest cases he worked on. He told me about a network compromise and how the team responded to the incident, analyzing different computer artifacts to discover what the intruders did in the network, how and when. I didn’t fully understand the technical aspects that day, but I understood that it was exactly what I wanted to do professionally! I asked him tons of questions about the place where he worked (KPMG), and what I could do to work there too. I started studying and learning everything I could about computer artifacts and digital forensics. And then, after obtaining my Master, I applied to KPMG. Fast forward six years, I’m a manager in the Cyber Response Services group, enjoying the work I do every day.
During my time at KPMG, I’ve come across the most talented people in the field. I’ve made friends and grown both personally and professionally in ways that I would have never imagined. In Cyber, I continue to meet excellent people and learn something new every day!