School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

Inspirational talk on Data Security by Guest Lecturer and Leeds Beckett alumnus, James Johnson

James Johnson graduated from BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics and Security in July 2016 with 1st class Honours. He took a place on the graduate training programme at NCC Group but was moved to the role of Security Consultant after only 3 months. James is now a Senior Security Consultant with the company.

James and some screens from his lecture.

James attended Headingley campus on Thursday 26th September and delivered an inspirational talk to around ninety of our current students including new Level 4 students and returning Level 5 and 6 students. He spoke for almost 2 hours to a fascinated audience. After discussing some detail of his final year project, he told us that the key thing to university success is time management. James pushed this several times during his talk and provided tips to help students improve their time management.

James provided a couple of (anonymous) examples of the security scanning he does on networks. He discussed in some detail the permissions needed before doing the scanning and warned students that, without full written permission, such scanning is likely to be illegal. In one instance, from his home, using only the Internet, he was able to access the passwords of 88 users at a single company. Every user had full administrative access to a variety of systems on the company intranet and James was able to gain access to all company files and records. The security loop holes found were such as to need immediate escalation to senior management and systems were secured within a few days following advice provided by James.

The majority of James’ working hours are spent either at home or on client company premises. He frequently travels abroad, most recently to Las Vegas for a Black Hat Hackers conference and for three weeks in China where he was testing the security of a company network.

Feedback from students included "I found it so helpful and inspiring! The specific work he talked about was super interesting and I’m happy that we got to hear about both his university work and what he’s been doing since, it’s nice to get a perspective from someone who has already done what we are doing and had success in that field."

Another commented "I thought that the presentation was excellent. The content flowed, was well thought through, relevant and I felt engaged the audience throughout. Take homes for me included the career roles, the real life pen test example and the final year project."

Thanks to James for an excellent presentation.

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