After eight years as an Engineer in the Royal Australian Army, I briefly worked at Telstra before joining Honeywell Australia. In 2000 I moved with Honeywell to Europe, and in 2010 took a position at ASSA ABLOY. My current role is global CTO for the ASSA ABLOY Group.

During my career I have developed extensive knowledge of the global residential and commercial security industry, and of all aspects of building automation. I have had responsibility for sales leadership, project and product management, R&D, marketing and general management, in both Australia and Europe.

How did you come to work in the security industry?

At Honeywell Australia in the early 1990s, I was working on the design and installation of medium- to large-sized projects with a mix of building automation and security. I felt a natural inclination towards the security products, which were undergoing important technical changes at the time — integrated solutions, RFID technologies, graphic displays and more. I found this interesting and ended up specialising by taking on the role of Product Manager for security products in Australia.

What is the best professional advice you have received (and from whom)?

A very good boss of mine once told me that it is fine to rush ahead and try to change the world, but it is critical to ensure your team is standing beside you: you can’t do it alone.

What's something few people know about you?

I am a rather poor but passionate fisherman. I enjoy an occasional fishing trip with friends and would like to do it much more.

Quick Facts
Film or TV?
Both. Film for drama; TV for information, especially documentaries on technology and science.
Biggest hero My wife. How she tolerates me sometimes I don’t know!
First job My first “real” paid job was as a jig fitter making roof trusses and frames for homes.
Ideal holiday Fishing from a boat in a sunny location like the Mediterranean. My wife would be very happy, and that is very important firstly, plus I might even catch a fish!
Favourite album ELO, “Out of the Blue”.

What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living?

Without doubt the people I get to work with, both colleagues and customers. The opportunity to learn from them, to understand challenges they face or ideas they have, and then work with them and others on solving them. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security?

Aside from poor attempts at fishing, I love walking (“rambling,” as the English call it) through wonderful countryside around my home in South Oxfordshire. I also love to cook — and tend to take over the kitchen come weekends and the BBQ in summer (I am an Aussie, after all). And I love to read and learn about technology and science in general, not as an expert but more a collector of interesting facts.

Where was your last vacation? Would you recommend it to others?

This summer I was truly lucky to spend two weeks in the Greek Islands, a week on land at a hotel and a week sailing on a catamaran with friends. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, especially the sailing part. Being with good friends on a small boat gave me a great perspective on island life.

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Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

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As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). 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How does audio enhance security system performance?
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