Nigel Stanley, Practice Leader for Security at Bloor Research has been heads down over the past couple of years completing an MSc in Information Security with the world famous Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, University of London. Along with his day job at Bloor and Incoming Thought where he runs a security consultancy and education business Nigel was spending 1 day per week at the campus in Egham, Surrey as a student – something rather unfamiliar to him. Nigel said, “It was tough to start with as I hadn’t done such formal education for years. The MSc at Royal Holloway takes a lot of effort, especially if you have a day job.” He added, “Lots of people ask me why I did the MSc. I suppose it was like mountain climbing – because it’s there!”
The Masters at Holloway is made up of 6 modules and a dissertation. 4 modules are compulsory and then you are allowed to choose two electives. All of these are examinable, and Nigel sat 4 exams the first year and 2 the second year. Nigel said, “I hadn’t done an exam for 25 years, so it was a trial to start with.” The results are still pending but Nigel is hopeful he has passed. The second year saw Nigel complete a dissertation. “This was more my thing, and I was looking forward to it”, said Nigel. Choosing a topic was a challenge as the information security field is so wide, but Nigel focussed on his core interest which is smartphone security. “Orange R+D Labs are sponsors of the Smart Card Centre at Royal Holloway and they were able to support my research into comparative security of Google and Windows Phone 7 platforms”, said Nigel. The dissertation took about 4 months to complete and ended up over 18,000 words – quite a large piece of work. “One challenge was understanding how to write and reference as an academic piece of work. The formal structures slow down the process but they add real rigour to the work.”
At the Royal Holloway Smart Card Centre open day in September 2011 Nigel was surprised to receive the Crisp Telecom Prize. This is an annual award to the project voted as top for that year. “The competition was tough; not only was it MSc students there were a number of PhD students as well, with some very technical research, so it was even more surprising that my work was selected. I must thank the team at Orange and my supervisor Prof. Keith Mayes for steering me in the right direction to get a good project together,” said Nigel.
Alongside Nigel’s studies he has also been working with a number of interesting clients, one of which is IHS Janes the world famous defence analysis company. IHS Janes invited Nigel to take part in four webinars covering cyber warfare, cybercrime and cyber terrorism. “I have been studying these areas for a number of years, and have done some interesting research around jihadist use of the internet and smartphones. I also work actively in cybercrime investigations, so could bring some real practical experience to the webinars,” said Nigel. He added, “Corporate clients care about risk, and it is good to help them quantify risk about these areas rather than them feeling that the sky is falling in after reading so much doom and gloom in the press.”
Nigel continues to research, study and consult in the areas of mobile security, cybercrime, cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and information security. For more information, or to contact Nigel, please click here.