A new charity initiative, which aims to raise money for two organizations that help tackle online child abuse and cybercrime respectively, has been announced by a group of cybersecurity professionals based in the UK and US.
Infostep 2021 will see 25 volunteers from the Infostep Challenge group of cyber pros walk a total of 19,000 miles , equivalent to a mammoth 42,212,000 steps, over the next six months. This will primarily look to raise funds for the Innocent Lives Foundation, which works with law enforcement to identify sexual predators targeting children online and The Cyber Helpline, which offers free, confidential advice and support service for individuals who have fallen victim to cybercrime.
The Infostep volunteers also hope to use some of the money raised to provide resources for people looking to start a career in cybersecurity.
The challenge originated when Tom Quinn, group IT security services manager for National Express, set a personal post-lockdown goal of walking 70,000 steps per week, which he revealed in a post on LinkedIn. Upon seeing the post, an old colleague of his, Amy Stokes-Waters, who is senior account manager for Cognisys, then reached out to try and get involvement from the wider infosec community. She explained: “I think everyone has had a bit of a lethargic few months. The weather is getting warmer, we’re allowed to get out and about a bit more, and if we can raise money while we’re at it, why not? This really is the infosec community at its finest!”
Commenting on the initiative, Innocent Lives Foundation ambassador and CISO of Ramsey Quantitative Systems, Jonathan Younie, said: “Ultimately, the goal of the Innocent Lives Foundation is to make the world safer for kids. Our team of volunteer technology specialists use OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) to identify predators who target children on the Internet, specifically to generate and distribute CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material). We work to provide law enforcement with the information they need to bring these predators to justice, so each dollar raised is used to assist law enforcement in unmasking child predators on the internet.”
Nikki Webb, head of marketing for The Cyber Helpline and global channel manager for Custodian 360, outlined: “Our vision is to ensure the UK is a place where cyber-criminals do not win and our mission is to ensure everyone in the UK has immediate access to expert, cybersecurity help when they need it. Infostep 2021 is an amazing initiative and we are so grateful to be chosen as recipients of some of the funds raised.”
Infostep Challenge added that they are welcoming support from any organization which would like to get involved in the endeavor in some capacity, either through funding or resource donation. Additionally, any individuals who would like to join in with their own personal challenge can follow along using the hashtag #infosteps2021.
As well as Stokes-Waters, Quinn, Webb and Younie, the infosecurity professionals who are taking part in the challenge are the following: Dan Conn, senior software engineer for Mimecast; Scott Winchester, owner of Hax_Shax; Sean Atkinson, director of security assurance at Secarma; Regina Bluman, security analyst at Algolia; Sarah Armstrong-Smith, chief security advisor at Microsoft; Tash Norris, head of cyber security at Moonpig; Paul Taylor, cyber consultancy at ITC Secure; Ryan Surry, director at Intaso; Siân Salmons, trainee cyber security consultant at CAPSLOCK; Cytisus E., senior security engineer at Macys; Lisa Forte, partner at Red Goat Cyber Security; Natasha Harley, co-founder at cyberxperts; Rosie Anderson, head of sales at Honeypot Digital; Rob Croxford, network security consultant; Phillip L., head of sector at ITC Secure; Adrian Tayor, transformation consultant at Deloitte UK; Rob Newby, founder at Procordr; Ste Watts, group head of cyber security operations at Aldermore Bank; Lorna Armitage, co-founder at CAPSLOCK; Dan Komenda, trainee cyber security consultant at CAPSLOCK; Laura Wellstead, co-founder of cyberxperts, Alex Martin, senior business development manager at Cognisys, and Peter Jones, owner at CyberBadger.