Emlyn Everitt is one of the brightest people in IT and now after four years study he has the PhD in Intrusion Detection to prove it.
Now working for consultancy Logicalis , he can claim to be the first person in the UK to have such a qualification and one of only handful in the world who attained such an academic pedigree last year in a subject that has moved to the forefront of computer security.
Everitt's thesis outlined an expert system for "regenerating incomplete audit data sets" or, more plainly, recreating intrusion prevention system data logs that might have been compromised by a hacker trying to hide a security compromise.
It might sound obscure but it has practical applications that could help intrusion detection and intrusion prevention technology. "It is a bigger problem than they [security vendors] admit. Sixty percent of hacking intrusions go undetected," said Everitt in interview.
His system was up and running on an ISS BlackICE intrusion detection/prevention platform, and he had found interest from US companies in further developing it on a commercial basis. The fact that current intrusion detection and prevention systems couldn't do what his system does should be a bigger issue surely. "Vendors are not going to talk about the limitations of their products," he commented.
"PhDs aren't getting the credit they deserve in this country," said Everitt of the situation facing those in the UK who sought challenging qualifications in information security.
The industry was more geared towards commercial courses that offered a quick and undemanding means of getting the right letters after your name. There was little economic incentive to undertake intellectually demanding learning, he suggested.
As well as his day job for Logicalis, Everitt finds time to teach courses at the Open University and generally evangelise on his other security passion - the need for companies to step up to the challenge of BS779 compliance.
Organised crime was becoming more professional and had started using sophisticated techniques to compromise security from within organisations. "Companies that don't adapt are going to die."
Of course, that philosophy fits in nicely with his new company's services, but when the world's brainiest security expert speaks, it's a good idea to listen.
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