PhD student’s ‘Digital Forensics Challenge’ success

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A postgraduate student from Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications has achieved international success and recognition as the UK winner of the Global Digital Forensics Challenge, designed by the US Department of Defence Cyber Crime Centre.

Christopher Richardson, currently studying for a PhD in intrusive detection systems, was also ranked ninth internationally out of 1791 fellow competitors from 52 countries, as well as achieving the top accolade in the UK.

The computer science student proved an apt competitor in the challenge designed to test the participants’ ability to analyse data in order to solve a simulated cyber-crime. Competitors had to demonstrate their capabilities in areas such as understanding file signatures, metadata hashes, data hiding, communication recovery, and information concealment.

The competition is part of the Cyber Security Challenge UK and is promoted by the organisation as a series of online games and tests open to applicants from all walks of life who may aspire to pursue a career in the cyber security industry.

The challenge is also promoted as a way of identifying those who exhibit an aptitude for working in the sector, through their prowess and capability in completing the challenges.

In recognition of his efforts and success as the UK winner, Richardson will receive £2000 of security training from information security company 7Safe, as well as a place in the Cyber Challenge UK’ face-to-face play-offs next year.

In an article on the University’s website, Richardson spoke of his achievement, saying: “It was difficult in parts but really enjoyable. I have always had an interest in a wide range of security areas both inside and outside of my academic speciality and this competition gave me a platform to test my skills on practical problems with real world relevance. After getting stuck a couple of times, I didn’t think I had done that well, but to win the UK stream and do so well across the whole competition feels great.”

The Course Director for the MSc in Cyber Security at Lancaster, Dr Daniel Price, expressed his belief in the importance of supporting such ventures as the Cyber Security Challenge in order to “inspire more talented people to choose cyber security as a profession.”

The support of and involvement in such opportunities by Lancaster University will undoubtedly be vindicated by this success of one of its students at such a high level. Dr Price’s belief in the importance of encouragement in subject-orientated extra-curricular pursuits shows the positive attitude the university has towards the learning and engagement of those taught here.


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