RegulationSecurityWorkspace

British Amateur Becomes Top Civilian Cyber Security Expert In The World

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

Follow on: Google +
Google + Linkedin Subscribe to our newsletter Write a comment

Next for Chris Doman, it’s Cyber Security Challenge UK

Chris Doman, a 26 year old software developer from Essex, has won the title of the number one civilian IT security expert in the world at the prestigious DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge competition in the US.

He came second in the overall event,only beaten by a team of professionals from the multi-billion pound American aerospace and defence technology company, Northrop Grumman.

Although the Digital Forensics Challenge is a team competition, Doman achieved the high ranking on his own, and is now considering a career change.

Our boys

The Digital Forensics Challenge is a global cyber security exercise designed and hosted by the US Department of Defence Cyber Crime Centre (DC3), in collaboration with Cyber Security Challenge (CSC) UK.

It is considered to be one of the toughest forensic competitions in the world, and includes assignments on file signatures, hashing metadata, data hiding, communication recovery and information concealment.

The challenge involved over 1200 entries from 53 countries. A further two participants from the UK, IT professional Matt Bartlett and undergraduate Chris Moore, finished in the top 12.

All three will receive free training courses provided by 7Safe, and the opportunity to participate in the Sophos Malware Hunt in January, which forms part of the CSC UK.

If the first stage goes well, they will be able to compete for further career enabling prizes, and the chance to be crowned the UK Cyber Security Champion at the Masterclass finale in March.

“It’s a year-long competition but I only decided to enter a month before it closed so time was a bit of an issue,” explained Doman. “I looked through all 34 challenges and wrote a plan of how to do them all and how long it would take.”

“At school I would publish computer security and operating system design tutorials. However setting up my own company left me with less time to pursue this interest. The Cyber Security Challenge has certainly reignited my love for cyber security and problem solving. I did better than I expected, and it’s given me a boost to start applying for work in this field,” he added.

Hidden Talent

The CSC UK began in 2010 as part of a series of national competitions aimed at attracting talented people into the profession. It is currently backed by over 50 organisations, which contribute over £100,000 annually to candidates who demonstrate potential.

Cyber security © David Evison Shutterstock 2012“Unfortunately for a profession like cyber security where employers are desperate to find new talent, Chris’ story of an early interest in the subject that wasn’t pursued in later life, is worryingly familiar,” commented Stephanie Daman, CEO of CSC UK.

“Without the opportunities provided by the competitions like the DC3 Digital Forensics and the Cyber Security Challenge UK, Chris and many others like him will be lost to the profession completely despite their undoubted ability,” he added.

“This year’s DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge saw the highest ever number of players and submissions, and a significant increase in the standard of the competition. All this makes Chris’ achievement, finishing second as an individual and beating teams of professionals from some of the largest companies in the world, and government’s cyber workforces all the more remarkable,” said Jim Christy, director of Futures Exploration at DC3.

In 2011, Dan Summers, a postman from Wakefield, emerged as the winner of the first CSC competition. Running a close second, and beating numerous practising security professionals, was 17-year old student Stuart Rennie from Cambridgeshire. And last year, the main prize went to Cambridge University freshman Jonathan Millican, proving once again that cyber security is a vocation, and not an occupation.

How well do you know Internet security? Try our quiz and find out!