November 16, 2015

Blog post

I trust everybody you trust, because I trust you

Mountain biking

Aveen Ismail is a member of PrimeKey’s EJBCA Development Team. Besides being a talented PKI specialist, Aveen likes to spend her free time reading, baking, and riding mountain bikes. Being an avid cineast, Aveen got a certification as a cinema projectionist during her studies at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

How does a cinema projectionist end up with a bunch of cryptologists? Aveen smiles and says, “While I was studying computer science at KTH in Stockholm, I was contacted by a recruiter on behalf of PrimeKey Solutions, who offered me a job on the phone. At first I was not interested. But being me, I thought it would be impolite to turn the offer down on the phone, so I agreed to visit them. And when I did, I found the job opportunity too interesting to resist. This was in 2008 and I still find my work both challenging and interesting. I have learned a lot about HSM PKI and CA/VA. One day I’d like to try working with the PrimeKey Professional Services Team, but I still regard my job as a programmer in the EJBCA Development Team to be the very best.”

Aveen Ismael, female programmer at PrimeKey

Aveen Ismael as cinema projectionist during her studies at KTH.

We started talking about the working environment at PrimeKey Solutions and Aveen continues, “PrimeKey is a fascinating working environment. I have great colleagues and there is a friendly atmosphere, where you can ask anybody anything if you get stuck. My favourite working day at PrimeKey is when I can dedicate the whole day to one code assignment; where I can focus fully on my task, instead of small hacks, when I might spend two days searching and thirty minutes solving.”

When asked by her friends and family what she does at work, Aveen simply answers, “I trust everybody you trust, because I trust you. What I’ve just said illustrates to a certain extent the idea behind "web-of-trust" (or a CA-certificate relationship), which is an application of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The point is that we develop software that allows for a safe communication in an environment that is not safe (i.e. the Internet). PKI is basically a structure that ties two keys to one unique identity, like myself. A public key that the whole world knows about and can use to encrypt messages to me and a private key that only I know so only I can decrypt the messages they send to me. Beyond that it gets more complicated – this is after all the world of cryptography.”