Grant Douglas

One of the top iOS Apple iPhone security workers at Synopsys

BSc Ethical Hacking, 2013

Tell me more about what your job involves?

I joined Cigital after leaving Abertay. At the end of 2016 they were acquired by Synopsys - one of the world’s leading companies in electronic chip design automation. Traditionally Synopsys was all about hardware, but it's been building a portfolio of software services, including a security division, which they've bolstered with some top-tier acquisitions. 

My job mainly revolves around mobile security, but I do work for websites and desktop software too.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Each project normally lasts for one or two weeks, although it can sometimes take a little longer.

Typically, you’re looking at a 40 hour week and, at the end of it, you're producing something for a customer. Most of the work I do is about mobiles and I’ve been with the company long enough for this to be something I’m known for. I’m probably one of the top iOS Apple iPhone security workers at Synopsys, so I tend to get some of the more difficult assessments.

On top of that I also help co-ordinate our internship programme.

How did you end up getting that initial opportunity with Cigital?

The way it happened was a little unusual! I knew a few people who were working at Cigital and they came along to an event at Abertay where fourth years showcased their honours projects. I was only in my third year, but it was suggested that I brought a project along anyway.

I presented it and Cigital took my details. They got back in contact with me the year following and invited me down for the opening of their new offices in London. They were very hospitable right from the beginning.

Securitay gathers a lot of attention from the industry and the students have done a fantastic job at making a name for themselves.
Grant Douglas | Synopsys | Associate Principal Consultant

How big an issue is mobile security in the current cyber landscape?

It is a big problem and there is a conversational piece around whether or not mobiles are more secure or less secure than your typical desktop. I think in most cases, at least to iOS phones, they are actually more secure. I definitely feel a lot more secure when I use a mobile based version of a banking app than I do when I’m just using a browser on the laptop because of the controls I’ve seen put in place.

While you were at Abertay you worked as a Teaching Assistant, did you enjoy that?

That was really fun actually! I really liked programming and one of the modules I helped out on was to do with that. I found it quite rewarding.

You were involved with the Ethical Hacking Society, what was that like?

It was good. It started off quite small and there were only a few people who’d attend. Now obviously the number attending is significant.

I was there when they ran the first Securitay. It gathers a lot of attention from the industry and the students have done a fantastic job at making a name for themselves.

What do you make of how big Securitay has become?

It’s more impressive every year. I’m always blown away by how well the students do and by the sponsors they pull in. It’s very valuable for everyone, it’s a fantastic conference and the speakers are great. The quality of the topics and talks rivals that of other conferences and for that to be run by students is pretty impressive.

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