Outsmarting the Hackers: the WMG Graduate who Is Combatting Cyber Criminals
Keeping one step ahead of hackers is a daily challenge for Werachai Prayoonpruk. It takes just one tiny weak spot, the IT expert explains, for criminals to steal a person’s entire livelihood or destroy a company’s reputation. So, the 37-year-old has to be constantly vigilant for suspicious activity to help win the battle against cyber fraud.
‘Global economies rely on interlinked technology systems – and criminals want to exploit this weakness,’ explains Werachai who is vice president of information security and risk assessment at United Overseas Bank (UOB) in Bangkok, Thailand.
‘Hackers can steal money or personal information, and destroy a company’s standing. It’s hard to build up a reputation, but very easy to lose it.’
His career foundations were built during his MSc in Cyber Security and Management at Warwick. After a successful time with the Thai government’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency, Werachai decided to further his knowledge in the UK. This was with the aim of contributing to his country by gaining expertise in the fast-developing area of cyber security.
‘The workforce here in Thailand lacks people with this knowledge,’ he says. ‘WMG equipped me with all the principles, concepts and techniques I needed to advance in my working life.’
What appealed to him too was the educational approach at Warwick. This contrasted with teaching methods back home by encouraging students to do self-study and their own research.
Says Werachai: ‘At the time, I did feel under pressure but realised just how much I’d benefited after graduating. It developed my critical thinking skills and ability to conduct research. This has significantly improved the quality of my work – and achieve my goal of working in cybersecurity.’
His learning didn’t end when he left WMG. Indeed, Werachai keeps up his self-study by reading books and articles in field to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in IT security.
He has also used much of the terminology he learned at WMG to develop a multimillion-pound proposal. The project aimed at growing the cybersecurity workforce in Asia has already won backing from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional intergovernmental organization.
For Werachai, a WMG MSc was a ‘passport to success’. It won him a prestigious role with a multinational banking organisation. As he says: ‘Without the degree, I wouldn’t be doing my job now I love.’