Sylvania grad found his calling early onWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Farina took his label as a troublemaker and turned it into a career.
Farina is a senior wireless security researcher for AirTight Networks, a global leader in wireless security solutions.
The 2001 Sylvania Southview graduate was once told he could no longer lay even a finger on a school computer. When something went wrong, he was one of the first students to be called to the office. But he meant no harm, and just wanted to help, he said. Once he figured out how to get around the school’s security program and advised the administration how it might be fixed.
“I have always been interested in computers from the time I was young,” Farina said. “If I broke it, I would have to fix it because it would be too expensive to replace.”
Farina took post-secondary option courses at UT his senior year and ended up assisting with a bandwidth problem at the university.
“A lot of people were discouraging along the way and I knew this was something I was good at … I ended up with a job that might as well be called ‘fun,’” he said.
After graduating high school, he attended Miami University and then returned to UT before starting a company called Wired Wireless.
“I would do networking security and anything to feed myself,” he said.
Farina then moved to Pittsburg because his future wife took a job in the area. That’s when he began working for AirTight Networks.
“I have to spend a lot of time on the road and I travel all over the world,” he said. “The more exciting places I have been are Japan, Germany, Ireland and the UK.”
“We would like to keep Rick a secret at AirTight so no one else finds out about his talents,” said Anthony Paladino, managing director, systems engineering, in a statement. “He is not only a great resource to demonstrate AirTight’s technology to customers, but also can make the world of wireless threats and security understandable to the press.”
Farina said AirTight focuses on Wi-Fi security, and in particular he in charge of standard pre-sales and post-sales support.
“We are all security, that’s all we do,” he said.
He also performs penetration testing, which helps determine if a wireless system is in jeopardy of being hacked.
“Imagine that your home is a business and you want to make sure the wireless network is secure and nobody is getting in on your network unless they are supposed to,” Farina said.
He said a lot of companies still believe a breach won’t happen to them. The two most likely customers to buy from AirTight are those who already have been breached or those who are required to do so by a regulatory body.
“I visit Toledo quite often because my parents and my in-laws are there, but I have made my home here in Pittsburg.”