Nearly 10 years ago, Steven Butterworth began his career in cybersecurity and IT like many do — working the help desk and dealing with day-to-day issues helping people out. “I learned fast and made my way through the ranks going into network administration, technical architecture and eventually into cybersecurity,” Butterworth said. “I have always had an interest in computers and technology, and following this passion has brought me much success. Being paid for something you love doing is truly a special position to be in.”
Here, Butterworth, now an independent IT consultant at ukitguru.com based in Bolton, U.K. and president of the new Manchester chapter of Fuel, tells us about his future industry outlook as well as one trend he’s keeping his eye on and more.
In the next 10-15 years, where do you see the world of cybersecurity?
Cybercrime, cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism are the next great challenges that the world must face. Many people still see these issues as a minor subject — that is, until you are a victim of such crimes. We must take these challenges seriously and face them with the same valor that we do with traditional crimes. As such, I see the world of cybersecurity growing rapidly, but we need good, well-trained people to join us.
What are the top trends in cybersecurity that excite you now?
Deception technology. If you take the premise that a well-funded, organized and advanced persistent threat wants to breach your defenses, it probably will. The key here is what we do when it’s inside. Imagine confusing your attacker with duff information and luring it into believing it has what it wants, when in actual fact, you have fed them a complete lie. You will be the first to know of its presence, and deceiving it with a smokescreen can be a very effective way of protecting your assets. This is an exciting area of the cyber world, and one I'll be following closely.
What is one challenge you’ve experienced in your career, and how did you handle it?
One challenge that sticks out in my mind was helping a client deal with an outbreak of the crytolocker malware. The virus had been delivered by a disguised email that an employee had opened. It then proceeded to encrypt all the files the employee had access to and managed to work its way through about 75 percent of the company's data before anyone realized it! Fortunately for them, we had implemented contingencies, and the files where restored within 24 hours. Needless to say, I now help this client with regular staff education sessions around cyber trends and issues, and real-world simulated attacks form part of this.
How has Fuel membership benefited you and your company?
Fuel is an excellent way to bring together thought leaders and thinkers. I believe that every day is a school day, and being able to learn something new from everyone is an invaluable tool. Sharing best practices and educating one another is a surefire way to success — both from a personal and industry-wide perspective.
What app or piece of technology makes your job easier?
Using the tools that hackers use gives us insight and allows us to think and act as they do. These tools are an invaluable resource when it comes to auditing and penetration testing.
What book are you reading now or the name of the most recent book you’ve read?
Education is paramount in this industry. Your skills must constantly improve and develop if you are to stay ahead. For anyone into penetration testing, I recommend “Penetration Testing: A Hands on Introduction to Hacking” by Georgia Weidman.