Born in London, Andrew MacPherson travelled the world
with his mother at a very young age after his parents'
divorce; it was then that she introduced him to computers.
"And I've been punching keyboards ever since,� he says.
When MacPherson was fi ve he and his mother moved to
Pretoria. Now, as an IT developer at Paterva, he says he deals
with pretty much everything. "We do information mapping,
we link info together on the internet,� he says. "I also make
tea, and, when it gets cold, I help out with the fi re.�
But MacPherson, who has a bachelor of information
science degree from the university of Pretoria, also
happens to be one of two people who have developed
Maltego, an innovative open-source intelligence and
forensics application that enables people to fi nd
relationships between different pieces of information.
"For example, if you have databases of subscribers and
one database just has someone's name and email address
and another has an email address and a telephone number,
if you use Maltego you can fi nd what other names the
telephone number relates to � and if it's a company
number, then you can conclude that all these people work
at the same place. It fi nds relationships between data you
can't fi nd without an application like this.�
MacPherson's non-techie description is much simpler: "it's
a good-looking receptionist. She makes all the good work
look nice. And the stuff that we do goes into this application.�
MacPherson says the application is used mostly by those
in the intelligence, business and government sectors and
by people interested in computer assessment, adding that
it works better on structured data such as mail servers and
IT domains, as opposed to gathering information about
individuals, as that may change.
But his biggest challenge doesn't have much to do
with computer development � it's actually his Mohawk.
"People don't seem to take you very seriously when you
have ridiculous hair.� � Vuvu Vena
Lunch spot: Barn 52, South Downs, Centurion