Adastral Park
Careers & Education   >   British Science Week   >   Cyber Security
Day 1: Cyber Security
Explore the world of Cyber Security with our team of experts from BT and the University of Bath.
1 - Introduction
Meet Evandro and Alex, our hosts for the day, who will introduce you to the world of Cyber Security:
2 - Cyber Security Defence with Ben Azvine
Photo of Alex Healing
Alex (host): Now that we know what we're going to be exploring, let me introduce you to our first industry expert, Professor Ben Azvine. Ben will be looking at the future of Cyber Security and Cyber Defence and the impact of new technology in this space.
Over to you Ben....
Photo of Ben Azvine
Photo of Ben Azvine
Prof. Ben Azvine
Global Head of Security Research, BT
Key qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD, MBA, Fellow of IET
What does your job involve? My job is to think about how to protect BT and its customers in the future and develop ways to make this happen. I'm an engineer so I build systems that no one has built before to stop the bad guys from attacking our customers.
How did you get into your current role? I was an academic doing really interesting AI research but wanted to apply them to real world problems. I heard about the really interesting research at the then BT Labs and decided to join. I've held various positions in the research department - the last one being the head of security research 15 years ago. I liked it so much I'm still doing this.
What did you want to be when you were younger? My choice was heavily influenced by my father who was an electronics engineer and an inventor. I wanted to follow in his footsteps - I used to watch him talk enthusiastically about inventing new systems and devices. I was fascinated by Robots when I went to University in Manchester and that is how I got into AI. Now I'm using AI to build next generation Cyber defence systems.
What do you do outside work? I used to play a lot of sport when I was younger, particularly Basketball and Table Tennis. I now spend most of my spare time playing Golf when it is allowed. Otherwise I like walking and watching movies.
Photo of Ben Azvine
Ben: thanks for watching my video, I hope you've enjoyed learning about Cyber Security and Defence! We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to British Science Week which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com. We also held a live Q&A session on the day, a recording of which can be seen below...
Questions and answers
Question:
What do you think is the biggest risk within the next 5 years?
student profile
Photo of Ben Azvine
Answer:
We already see lots of high profile attacks that lead to stealing personal information or break into large organisations to disrupt their business or demand ransom. But there is a much more serious type of attack that could be possible in the future and that is attacks that disrupt Critical National Infrastructure. These are things we rely on for our day to day lives such as the NHS, Broadband, Electricity, Water, Fuel, Roads, etc. The nightmare scenario is a cyber attack that brings a city to stand-still, that could cause mass casualties and loss of vital services. Fortunately we have been developing technologies that could stop such attacks before they become critical but we have to be vigilant and keep innovating to stay ahead of the bad guys.
Question:
What can I do to make your job easier?
student profile
Photo of Ben Azvine
Answer:
Humans are the weakest link in the security chain. This means most attacks exploit human vulnerabilities to open an email and click on an attachment that infects their machines. More than 90 percent of cyber attacks today start with opening an infected email. So my ask is for you to keep you phones and computers up-to-date with the latest patches, never click on an attachment or a link in an email or on social media unless your are absolutely sure of the source and finally don’t use simple passwords to access your accounts, that is like leaving the key to your house under the door mat! Don’t make it easy for the criminals to get in!
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
3 - Have a Go Activities
Photo of Evandro Pioli Moro
Evandro (host): Now it's your turn to have a go at making and using Caesar Ciphers. My colleague Shane is going to show you how. You can download the activity pack (link below the video) to get step by step instructions.
Download the activity pack
4 - Career profiles
Photo of Alex Healing
Alex (host): Cyber security can lead to a really exciting career and you might be surprised by the various different roles available within this space. Below we've pulled together some profiles of people from Adastral Park and across BT that work in the area of cyber security. Take a look and discover how varied a career in cyber security could be.
Photo of Leah Claireaux
Photo of Leah Claireaux
Leah Claireaux
Research Professional, BT
Key qualifications: BSc Software Engineering, currently enrolled on MSc Data Science
What does your job involve? Creating new artificial intelligence algorithms to detect malicious network activity on BT's network. Creating patents, writing papers, and presenting my findings at various events. The best thing about my job is that I get to apply my own research to my everyday role.
How did you get into your current role? Started as a network engineer apprentice. Worked as a software engineer developing applications, and now applying that knowledge with data science in a security environment.
What did you want to be when you were younger? RAF pilot or a Lawyer
What do you do outside work? Going to the gym, and I've recently been learning to snowboard.
Photo of Dr Jonathan Roscoe
Photo of Dr Jonathan Roscoe
Dr Jonathan Roscoe
Threat Intelligence Research Manager, BT
Key qualifications: Computer Science PhD, Software Engineering MEng
What does your job involve? My job involves identifying the latest security threats and counter-measures. It means keeping on top of the latest technology and understanding the different ways it may be used and abused. I enjoy doing valuable work that challenges me and makes me learn new things - cyber security research does just that.
How did you get into your current role? I found a passion for machine learning as an undergraduate student and pursued my PhD in medical image processing. I joined the BT grad scheme and learnt a lot about the business, finding a place where I could put my machine learning skills to good use.
What did you want to be when you were younger? I was always passionate about computing and security - I thought I'd be some sort of 1990s skateboarding hacker punk.
What do you do outside work? I love building things in my spare time - drones, radios and sci-fi props.
See more career profiles...
University of Bath
Photo of Evandro Pioli Moro
Evandro (host): Meet Adam Joinson from the University of Bath who will take you through Fakes and Fakery online and how can technology help us make the right decisions.
Over to you, Adam....
Photo of Adam Joinson
Photo of Adam Joinson
Adam Joinson
Professor of Information Systems, University of Bath
Key qualifications: I have a degree in Psychology and PhD in experimental social psychology.
What does your job involve? At the University of Bath, I teach how people and technology interact and lead projects on cybersecurity and internet safety. The best thing about my job is that I get to experiment with new technologies - I'm currently working with two different types of robot to study how people decide whether or not to trust advice from non-humans.
How did you get into your current role? After studying A-Levels I did a degree in Psychology, and then worked for a public relations firm whose clients were mainly large technology firms. Although I enjoyed it, I really wanted to do research, so I applied for funding to study a PhD. During my PhD, early web browsers started to be developed, and my final study (in 1994!) was on whether football fans' visits to sites changed when their team lost (it does - it goes down). Learning how these early web sites were coded, and how to collate their log-file data for analysis, started my research career looking at humans and technology.
What did you want to be when you were younger? Journalist, or classic car restorer.
What do you do outside work? I'm currently learning how to develop using Android Developer Studio in my spare time, and have just taken over an overgrown allotment so spend dry weekends clearing that out. I like going up and down the hills of Bath on my (electric) bike.
Photo of Adam Joinson
Adam: I hope my video has inspired you to explore more about how people and technology interact! We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to British Science Week which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com.
Questions and answers
Question:
What is the most effective way that a hacker can phish you and how can I protect myself?
student profile
Photo of Adam Joinson
Answer:
Hackers using phishing emails rely on the same tricks to make you respond as old school scam artists - they play on urgency (you need to respond quickly or something bad will happen) and authority (someone in a position of power is telling you to do something) so that the victim doesn’t have time to really think about the email, or are worried that by ignoring it they might get into trouble. Spotting when someone is trying to trigger your behaviour by not giving you much time to think, or using lots of authority to persuade you, should make you stop and check that the email is legitimate.
Question:
Are individuals at as much risk as companies?
Kesgrave High School
Photo of Adam Joinson
Answer:
Yes, everyone (even cyber security researchers) is at risk. You’re not likely to be targeted by really high level, professional hackers working for countries, but it’s so cheap and easy to buy off the shelf tools to launch attacks, and to harvest large amounts of small funds from, say, ransomware, that it’s financially viable to attack lots of individuals. But, the good news is that it’s also quite easy to keep safe - especially compared to large companies. Keep your software up to date, have a different password for email than other accounts (or better, use a password manager and lots of different passwords), and back up stuff you want to keep regularly. If two-factor authentication is offered by your email service, use it. Unfortunately, protecting big companies is a more difficult.
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
6 - Related STEM learning content
These videos from our STEM learning programme are related to cyber security:
Hashing and cryptography
This short video explains what hashing is in computer science and how it enables us to preserve the integrity of our data.
What is quantum key distribution?
Suggested age range: 16+
An introduction to Quantum Key distribution (QKD). What are quantum keys and how can we use them?
Online security
Suggested age range: 10+
Staying safe online
7 - Final thoughts from our hosts
Day 2: Smart Cities >