LONDON. 25 May, 2021: Infostep Challenge, a group of cyber security professionals from the U.K. and the U.S.A, have today announced their charity initiative of Infostep 2021. This initiative will see 25 volunteers commit to walking 19,000 miles, or about 42,212,000 steps, in the next 6 months.
What started as a personal, post-lockdown goal from Tom Quinn, Group IT Security Services Manager for National Express, has now turned into a global charity initiative with an incredible fundraising goal of £50,000. Quinn initially floated the idea of a personal challenge on LinkedIn, and set himself a goal of walking 70,000 steps per week. Quinn says, “I quickly found the combination of fresh air, exercise, and time with my own thoughts was doing me a world of good mentally, so I put a post on LinkedIn with the passing thought that I could try to do 4,000,000 steps in a year. An old colleague of mine suggested it could be a great fundraising idea, and I knew that Amy [Stokes-Waters] had recent experience from the AU Awards, so asked if she would like to get involved!”
From there, Amy Stokes-Waters, Senior Account Manager for Cognisys, saw the potential to utilise everyone’s post-lockdown freedom for a brilliant cause, and began to reach out to contacts across the industry for more people to get involved. Stokes-Waters commented, “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!”
Stokes-Waters is no stranger to fundraising, having raised over £8,000 for the Innocent Lives Foundation through the inaugural AU Awards, a tongue-in-cheek, online security awards show she co-founded earlier in the year. Jonathan Younie, CISO for Ramsey Quantitative Systems, Inc. and Innocent Lives Foundation Ambassador, has previously thanked Stokes-Waters for her charitable activities, and is delighted to be on-board for another. “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,” Younie says.
The other charity recipient of Infostep 2021 is The Cyber Helpline, a free, confidential helpline for individuals who have been a victim of cyber crime. The Cyber Helpline helps individuals understand, contain, recover and learn from cyberattacks by linking them with security experts who provide relevant advice and guidance. Nikki Webb, Global Channel Manager for Custodian 360 and Head of Marketing for The Cyber Helpline, states: “Our vision is to ensure the UK is a place where cybercriminals 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 participants are also hoping to use some of the funds raised to provide valuable resources for newcomers who are trying to upskill so they can break into the cyber security industry. Support from any organisation who would like to get involved, either through funding or resource donation, is welcomed, and people who want to join in with their own personal challenge can follow along using the hashtag #infostep2021.
Infostep Challenge consists of Stokes-Waters, Quinn, Webb, and Younie, as well as 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.