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Security with a Punk Rock Spirit

Jason Sattler

31.08.18 3 min. read

To commemorate F-Secure’s 30th year of innovation, we’re profiling 30 of our fellows from our more than 25 offices around the globe.

F-Secure’s Risto Kumpulainen – better known as Ripa by friends and colleagues – feels there’s a lot of misconceptions around what he does.

“There’s a general misconception that engineering and R&D is very solitary, technical work. That it sucks the life out of people by giving them boring math problems. That it’s a career choice for nerdy boys,” says Ripa.

But thankfully, that’s the opposite of what Ripa does for a living. A quality engineer by day/punk rocker by night, Ripa works on F-Secure’s line of consumer security products. His team strives to create and deliver reliable, user-friendly solutions to people’s security problems so that they stay safe from today’s threats. And Ripa says that interacting with his peers in and out of the company is a vital part of his job.

“The amount of social interaction I have with so many different people from different areas in the company – even outside of F-Secure – might surprise people. Technical breakthroughs have more to do with working together to learn how to break down problems and solve the social aspects of security and R&D work. And the freedom to have intelligent, sometimes wacky discussions with super-inspiring colleagues is key to making those breakthroughs happen”

Ripa began his career in cyber security 18 years ago. Back then cyber security was just called security. F-Secure had already established itself at that point. Ripa joined the company to work on F-Secure’s Linux and UNIX products. The idea of joining the fight against malware and bad guys is the next best thing to being a super hero. And it’s what attracted Ripa (and other young computer scientists) to the industry.

“As a young, emerging Linux geek with some UNIX-admin work experience, security’s coolness factor and the whole “we are the good guys” ethos were a big thing to me back then. And honestly, they still are!”

Industry veterans and many other people might say that was a simpler time. After all, it was a time before the FBI needed to warn people about the dangers posed by their garage doors. And before people had to worry about bots’ influence on politics.

But the core of what Ripa does is making F-Secure products better so that they’re more resilient against threats. This means working on everything from hardcore security features for end users, the security of the software itself, and all the way through to the end user experience.

“What pleases me is the freedom and the almost complete lack of daily repeating bureaucracy. It takes the same DIY, high energy attitude and drive that I bring to playing music in punk rocks bands, which I’ve been doing for about as long as I’ve been working at F-Secure,” says Ripa. “I don’t have an average workday, and that’s the way I like it, because I don’t want to end up a bored punk rocker with a boring job.”

Check out our open positions if you want to join Ripa and the hundreds of other great fellows fighting to keep internet users safe from online threats.

Jason Sattler

31.08.18 3 min. read

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