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Huddersfield Support Officer scores high in US Defence cyber challenge

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Sunday, 15 December 2013 18:38 Written by DFM Team

A senior technical support officer at the University of Huddersfield has scored high in the prestigious 2013 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge, a global cyber security competition designed by experts at the US Department of Defense Cyber Crime Centre (DC3).

Glyn Snowden placed second overall, losing out on the top spot by a handful of points to a team of four from Northrop Grumman.

This year saw more submissions than ever before, with 1,254 teams from 49 countries around the world entering.

While the Digital Forensics Challenge is a team competition, Snowden entered on his own and coming second to the group of four makes him the highest-ranked civilian in the competition.

He completed all of the challenges using only Microsoft Word and open source, freeware and demo software systems.

The exercises required entrants to submit answers and accompanying methodologies to solve puzzles, ranging from image geo tagging analysis and data obfuscation to password recovery, file encryption and advanced steganography.

Some exercises had no known solutions and others required candidates to develop their own custom tools, programmes and scripts.

Glyn Snowden has worked in the school of computing and engineering at the University of Huddersfield for over 21 years, and never expected to be placed second in the world in the competition.

He said: “The calibre of the other teams was extraordinarily high and it’s not yet sunk in that I was the overall civilian winner and UK winner.”

“The only part of my role that requires these skills is when the university staff and students come to me with malware on their computers. I’m able to use the skills I’ve acquired to remove malicious programmes and make their systems more secure,” he said.

For his efforts Snowden received a place on the 7Safe university-accredited training course in application security testing worth over £2,000. The three-day course involves learning how to identify security vulnerabilities in web applications such as web-based email and shopping websites.

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