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UCLan students solve MI5 challenge

14 November 2012

Lyndsey Boardman

Espionage and digital intelligence is all in a day’s work

Computer whizzes from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have put their investigative talents to the test in a cyber-security and espionage challenge set by MI5.

Third year Forensic Computing students Curtis Houghton and Jason Nicolaou managed to complete a task set by MI5 Digital Intelligence specialists held on the Security Service website for wannabe employees to test their suitability for the job. 

The students managed to complete the challenge in 30 minutes and then shared with a Digital Forensic Investigator and their classmates how they discovered and analysed the hidden documents placed inside mock files.

The duo had to consider how data is transmitted across networks, capture the data and decode it using software they have used during their studies.

"It’s encouraging to see Curtis and Jason use advanced techniques to complete the test and be able to clearly explain how they worked through it. They have shown they have the fundamental skills needed for the industry.”

Curtis commented: “We not only needed to find the secret files but then had to work out what they meant and explain the process of how we did it.  It was a good way to test the skills we’ve learned over the last two years.”

Jason added: “I had previously tested the software and it’s great to then apply it and see the results.  It’s been a big confidence boost to successfully complete a challenge set by MI5.”

Daniel Fenwick, Digital Forensic Investigator for Zentek Forensics Limited, visited UCLan to see the students’ presentation. 

He commented: “It’s encouraging to see Curtis and Jason use advanced techniques to complete the test and be able to clearly explain how they worked through it.  They have shown they have the fundamental skills needed for the industry.”