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Keith researcher wins major cyber award

By Staff Reporter

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THE work of a Keith researcher has been recognised on both the national and international stage.

Dr Phil Penrose has created innovative computer software which can search seized computers for illegal images in minutes.

As it stands the process can take weeks, consuming valuable man-hours and delaying availability of evidence. That has led to a huge backlog, which means it can take as long as nine months for the process to be completed.

Dr Phil Penrose has won the ‘Oscar’ for Best Cyber Breakthrough at the Scottish Cyber Awards.
Dr Phil Penrose has won the ‘Oscar’ for Best Cyber Breakthrough at the Scottish Cyber Awards.

Dr Penrose's work was recognised at the recent Scottish Cyber Awards, where he won the award for Best Cyber Breakthrough.

The Cyber Awards are organised annually by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre to celebrate the best and most innovative developments of Scotland’s leading talent in cyber security and innovation.

The retired Elgin High teacher was further nominated in the Leading Light Innovation category along with Cyan Forensics, the company set up by Edinburgh Napier University to develop software based on his research.

The same weekend, Cyan won a prestigious international award at the GovTech and MiliPolParis event in France's capital, which was attended by 30,000 representatives with 161 official delegations from 77 countries.

The gathering is a world leading event for homeland security and safety and the award was won against over 100 international nominations.

Dr Penrose said he was pleased his work was making a difference.

He said: "I'm glad that my research is helping to use technology for good and is helping to prosecute, and better still block, those who access illegal images and terrorism related material online."

Before his career in cyber security, Dr Penrose taught maths and computing at Elgin High School for over 30 years.

It was on retirement from teaching he decided to return to university, encouraged by his late wife. After finishing a masters degree in computer security and digital forensics he went on to complete a PHD.

The software is already being successfully used by police forces as well as at borders posts.

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