logo NTT APPSEC
Culture

Highlighting Belfast on St. Patrick’s Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, NTT Application Security would like to celebrate our employees at the Belfast office. So, let’s set off on a DevSecOps journey to Northern Ireland, a place where centuries old traditions meet vibrant modern application security.

Prior to its acquisition by NTT Ltd., WhiteHat Security established its third location in Belfast in 2014, and since then, the Belfast site has become an essential component of both our global service delivery team, as well as, our innovative engineering and research groups, making direct and valued contributions to the development, architecture, execution and delivery of our next generation Vantage platform.

Right in the bustling heart of one of Europe’s premiere cities for cybersecurity development and innovation, our Belfast office is located less than 200m (~700 ft) away from Belfast’s iconic City Hall building. This site has a vibrant talent pool and ecosystem that continues to validate WhiteHat’s investment in the region.

In early 2020, as offices around the globe transitioned to working from home, our core values were essential in maintaining not only our normal services and operations securing our clients across the world, but also maintaining the culture of cross-functional collaboration that underpins our accelerating growth and development plans. Throughout the pandemic, we have successfully maintained the strong culture of WhiteHat’s team with social and knowledge sharing events like regular Zoom Quizzes, Cookery Shows and other madcap events coordinated by the Cultural Committee.

Here in honour of that patron saint who is said to have rid Ireland of all its snakes, we showcase a few words of wisdom from our teammates who continue to rid the internet of vulnerabilities and bugs.

Belfast Staff Profiles

 

Matt Leebody

Role: Senior Mgr AppSec Technology

What are you currently working on?

Currently, my team and I are working super hard to continuously deliver enhancements to our new DAST scanning engine, Vantage Detect! That means standing up for new services and making sure that it integrates with the rest of what we’ve created. These enhancements enable our new Vantage customers to leverage new functionality in their application security projects!

Did you always want to work in Cybersecurity? Why?

Not always – when I was very young, I wanted to be a pilot! But I’ve always been fascinated by computers, and my first exposure to vulnerabilities was back in my youth, with Commodore Amiga and the viruses of the time. This was always super interesting to me, and throughout my career, cybersecurity becomes more and more important, mainstream, and relevant.

 

Anna Foy

Role: Application Security Specialist

Who inspired you to work in this field?

My Dad!

What’s your favourite thing about working in the Belfast site?

The people, everyone’s really sound!

What’s the worst vulnerability/security failure you ever came across?

I came across a CSRF vulnerability on an account deletion functionality where you simply had to navigate to a URL (https://www.*.com/…/delete-my-account) and the account gets deleted, no questions asked.

 

Rachael Andrews

Role: Technical Training Manager

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on developing the Technical Learning Platform of our new and existing products, I love working with multiple departments and engaging on a weekly basis. It’s exciting being a part of the cybersecurity Sector, I get to help and evolve the future of security for many applications by developing and facilitating Technical Training.

What advice would you give to someone considering a job in cybersecurity?

GO FOR IT, you won’t be disappointed. Every day I’m reminded why I love working within cybersecurity. There is never a day that I don’t experience something new and exciting. I enjoy being able to help others improve vulnerability analysis and adapting their knowledge to understand our products is very rewarding to me.

 

Curtis Wilson

Role: Data Scientist

What drew you to work at WhiteHat?

The opportunity to be involved with a newly created Data Science team with interesting projects and the potential for tremendous future growth.

Did you always want to work in Cybersecurity? Why?

No. It’s in the nature of Data Science that the topic under study isn’t that important – however I have become more interested and knowledgeable about Cybersecurity during my time here and now find it a lot more interesting.

What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

GANs – Generative Adversarial Networks. Essentially two ‘AIs’ that compete, with one generating something that attempts to be indistinguishable from a real example with the other ‘AI’ trying to distinguish fake from real. The two compete over a long time, both improving together over each iteration.

It’s the technology behind deep fakes and AI generated art/music/stories but is also used in scientific modeling and video game up-scaling. It’s proving incredibly powerful, with applications both good and ill, and yet is still only in its infancy.

What’s one thing that people shouldn’t miss if they’re visiting Belfast/Northern Ireland?

The Titanic museum is a bit pricey by Belfast standards, but is honestly fantastic. Probably one of the best museums I’ve visited anywhere, never mind Northern Ireland.

 

Stephanie Campbell

Role: Senior Database Engineer

What is your typical workday like?

My day usually starts with checking emails, Slack messages, and database monitoring alerts to catch up on what has been happening overnight in the US. This might involve some tasks and/or troubleshooting that may not have gotten completed during the US workday. Generally, I will have some project work assigned also which I would continue to work on as long as no production issues arise! I catch up with the rest of the team towards the end of the day as they come online.

What’s one thing that people shouldn’t miss if they’re visiting Belfast/Northern Ireland?

Derry!

What’s your favourite thing about working in the Belfast site?

Being within walking distance of the city centre so can check out the shops and various food places at lunchtime. Miss this when working from home!

 

Gavin Shields

Role: Fixer/ Software Engineer

What is your typical workday like?

Stare into the void and listen to the screams.
It’s a bug hunt!!

What advice would you give to someone considering a job in cybersecurity?

Keep learning, be open minded, enjoy the hustle.

Who inspired you to work in this field?

Judge Dread and Jayson E. Street

What’s the worst vulnerability/security failure you ever came across?

Project lead while debugging a payment system leaving user card info in a raw text file unencrypted on the server.

Belfast Team Fun Facts & Polls

Invented in Northern Ireland

  • Chemistry, Robert Boyle
  • Artificial Fertilizer, Sir James Murray
  • Miners Safety Lamp, William Clanny
  • Sherlock Holmes’ “Ulster Overcoat”, John Getty McGee
  • The Kelvin Temperature Scale, William Thompson (Lord Kelvin)
  • The Electric Tram, William Traill
  • Pneumatic Tyres, John Dunlop
  • The ‘Modern’ Tractor, Harry Ferguson
  • The Ejector Seat, Sir James Martin
  • Portable Defibrillator, Frank Pantridge
  • Pulsars, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
  • Earthworm Jim, David Perry
  • LHC / Higgs Boson confirmation, Dr Steve Myers