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Former Staff
Posts: 5,427
Registered: ‎18-04-2018

O2 cyber security expert Q&A

[ Edited ]

Hi guys, 

 

Something a little different today, that I thought you might find interesting! I spotted on the Business blog that ahead of attending InfoSec 2019 (Europe’s top cyber security event), Jay McDonald from O2's cyber security team answered some questions around his role and cyber security. I've put the content of this interview below Smiley Happy

 

Some of you have previously wished for more staff member spotlights, which we are in the process of preparing for the future. It would be great to hear your thoughts around this one below, how you like it and if you’d be interested in seeing similar O2-related spotlights from different teams!

 

What do you do at O2?
I’m a Cyber Security Product & Propositions Manager at O2. I help our business customers and partners to understand and mitigate the risks that come from cybercrime and security weaknesses. It’s a role that requires me to consider and interpret industry and technology trends, so InfoSec 2019 is a great opportunity for me to keep on top of the wider security landscape.

 

How did you end up doing what you do, and why O2?
I guess you could say it was a lucky accident. As a software engineer many moons ago I had the opportunity to work for a sales company that specialised in cyber security. It was back in an era when just having a firewall was the height of security!

Over the years the industry has changed, the threats have evolved, and I moved into a management role that I love – looking after the security business with my team. Moving to O2 was a new chapter and being part of O2’s evolving security business is a great place to be.

 

How has your role changed since you started? How do you see your role evolving in the future?
I’ve been at O2 for 18 months now, and my key focus is continuing to understand customers’ needs when it comes to security, as well as supporting our security vendor partnerships. With new threats evolving and with the ever-changing security landscape, I feel I have an important role as part of the growing security team here at O2.

 

Why is security so important? How are we keeping up with advancing tech?
Security has always been important but as the world becomes more digital, and with more devices and new applications being connected, there has never been a greater need for security for both businesses and consumers. With the growth of the digital economy we have seen ransomware, malware, viruses and DDoS attacks targeting banks, big corporations and individuals.

As a Telco with a global presence, we partner up with global security vendors throughout the world to make sure we have a broad portfolio of products and solutions that help keep our customers secure in this evolving digital world.

 

Looking ahead to the next five years, what’s the biggest threat to a company’s security?
The security sector, as a whole, is getting better at identifying and predicting threats – but it is people who pose the biggest potential threat of all. If we develop solutions that are too complex, or if we become complacent, then businesses could be exposed to ever greater risk. And we need to be absolutely clear that “good enough” is not secure.

However well prepared our customers are, challenges such as staff turnover, new technology, new threats, changing business models and continual digital transformation are routine. However it’s vital that the learning, preparation and safeguarding continues.

 

What are you looking forward to at InfoSec?
I’m looking forward to learning about what the leaders in the cyber security industry are doing to tackle the ongoing cyber warfare. But I’m also looking forward to meeting up with customers and discussing the challenges they face and how we can continue to help to address them.

 

Where can people find you at InfoSec?
I’ll be dividing my time between the exhibitor stands and the keynote sessions, but I love discussing cyber security, so get in touch and let’s meet at one of the many vendor bars to “chew the fat”. You can connect with me via LinkedIn.

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Posts: 15,967
Topics: 138
Solutions: 81
Registered: ‎11-04-2012

Re: O2 cyber security expert Q&A

Interesting, @EmilieT - nice to know there's someone at O2 with responsibility for this misunderstood area.

 

  • Out of interest, I wonder how O2's cybersecurity team sees the brouhaha with Huawei?

 

At a recent talk, I was interested to hear of the case where techies from a well-known manufacturer of network equipment noticed that traffic from a particular type of system was more prone to retransmissions when the security settings were turned on across the network... this led to the discovery of microscopic components on the motherboards of these systems that were not present on the original schematics. 

Turns out these "additions" were responsible for the retransmission requests, as whatever data they were introducing into the data stream resulted in error checking algorithms forcing these "corrupt" bits of information off the network.  Who placed these tiny components in the affected systems remains a mystery, as far as I know...

 

 

 

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Former Staff
Posts: 5,427
Registered: ‎18-04-2018

Re: O2 cyber security expert Q&A

@pgn Good question Smiley Wink All the Huawei information we have is here, and if we get more info we'll let you guys know!

 

That talk sounds really interesting, was it for work or something you went on your personal time, if you don't mind me asking? What was the overall theme of the talk?

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Want to chat with other fellow-minded members? Head to our Off-topic section for some interesting chit-chat.
Check out our Priority board for tickets & offers updates, and to discuss all things Priority-related!
Welcome to O2! - New to O2? Find out all you need to know to get started!


If you'd like to take part, why not register? Smiley Happy
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Posts: 15,967
Topics: 138
Solutions: 81
Registered: ‎11-04-2012

Re: O2 cyber security expert Q&A

It was a technical sales pitch for equipment I use as part of my work - and they were trying to wow us. We bought some of their kit, irrespective of the encryption chips used to check the integrity of the packets travelling along the cables, @EmilieT. We're cutting the new equipment into service in the next few weeks, but I doubt we'll get down to that level of detail in real life.
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