Pete - Fighting Cybercrime

Pete O'Dwyer

Cyber Security Analyst

BSc (Hons) Digital Forensics

After completing a placement with Cheshire Police during his degree, Pete was inspired to use his digital forensics skills to help solve crime. He went on to become a Digital Forensics Investigator for the Greater Manchester Police, receiving both a Judge’s and Chief Constable's Commendation for his role in a high-profile criminal case. He has continued to use his skills to investigate cybercrime, detecting and responding to cyberattacks.

“I’ve always loved learning new things and solving problems, but I was never very good at exams. After GCSEs, I went on to study A-Levels but I really struggled with the learning style and the number of exams. I dropped out and took up a BTEC in Computing instead. I excelled in the more hands-on, practice-based environment and developed a keen interest in computing and cyber security.

I chose the Forensic Computing degree at BCU because of the state-of-the-art facilities and the course accreditation. This assured me that the quality of teaching would be to a high standard and that I’d get the experience needed for my career.

The opportunity to go on placement was the best thing about the course for me. As someone who really values hands-on experiences, it was the perfect way for me to learn and grow. I did a year’s industry placement at Cheshire Constabulary in their High-Tech Crime Unit where I was able to experience real-life cases and use industry-standard tools. This experience paired with my knowledge from the Computer Forensics course allowed me to obtain a graduate job with Greater Manchester Police in their Digital Investigation Unit.

At the Greater Manchester Police, I worked on some high-profile criminal cases. It was exhilarating and rewarding to be a part of solving them. I worked as the principle Digital Forensics Investigator on one particular high-profile criminal investigation, identifying a large number of victims of cybercrime. For this case, I obtained commendations from the Chief Constable and a Crown Court Judge for my work, which is my greatest professional achievement to date.

After a while, I left the police to work in the private sector where I worked in Digital Forensics, Incident Response and eDiscovery matters. My current role at Crowdstrike as a Falcon Complete Analyst involves identifying incidents from a wide range of customers from all round the world and investigating these incidents while also remediating any malicious artefacts from host machines. This can range from user-downloaded infected files to Nation State threat actors targeting a company.

Throughout my academic journey, I doubted my abilities and poor exam results knocked my confidence. Since studying at BCU, I have gained confidence in myself and my ability to apply myself to a task and complete it to a high standard. I graduated with a first-class degree, have had huge professional achievements and now work for an international company - my belief in my abilities has skyrocketed.

Before my time at BCU, I would have never thought my future career would look like this. I am proud to be a BCU alumni, the whole experience changed my outlook on life and helped me excel in my chosen subject.”