The talk was delivered by Chris Spinks and Stephen Miller, both from Yorkshire & Humberside (Y&H) Regional Cybercrime Unit. As well as opportunities, students heard about a few of their own experiences in tackling crime regionally, nationally and internationally.
Stephen was a police office for 30 years, joining the West Yorkshire (WY) Hi-Tech Crime Unit in 2004, first as an officer and later as civilian staff. He now manages the Y&H Regional Digital Forensics Unit. Stephen is a leading expert on the extraction of data from mobile phones in serious criminal cases. He described some of the work he has done removing microchips from phones or using electronic probes to connect directly to the chip still on the circuit board.
Chris is a Detective Sergeant leading the Y&H Regional Cybercrime Unit. He is looking to disrupt criminal networks by “breaking the technology” used by criminals. He believes that intern students are fundamental in the task as, each year, they bring new ideas and technical insights into the Unit. Chris talked extensively about the work of Alex Close, one of three Leeds Beckett interns in the Unit in 2018/19. Alex is still employed part-time by the Unit during his final year of study and his final year project, when complete, will be used by the Unit.
After the main talk, a smaller group of Level 5 students attended a Q&A session lasting a further 90 minutes. Chris and Stephen are seeking the best students from the region to fill up to seven intern posts. Although based in Wakefield, they frequently work with Europol and the FBI sharing knowledge gained through technical experimentation on phone networks and the Internet, particularly the dark web. They both shared their contact details with the students and encouraged them to provide innovative profiles of their technical expertise on their application forms.
Chris and Stephen acknowledged the work done by Leeds Beckett in educating students at the leading edge of fighting cybercrime. Many graduates from our Computer Forensics and Security courses have worked for the various West Yorkshire and Y&H digital forensics and cybercrime units. A significant number of those are still in post and more will be needed as the units continue to increase in size.