University spinout honoured at Scottish Cyber Awards 2021

MemCrypt wins Leading Light Innovation category

Date posted

19 November 2021

12:09

An Edinburgh Napier spinout was one of the big winners at last night’s Scottish Cyber Awards.

MemCrypt, which followed earlier School of Computing ventures in making the leap from research lab to marketplace, triumphed in the Leading Light Innovation category.

The awards, now in their fifth year, celebrate the individuals and organisations working to improve Scotland’s cyber security. The 2021 instalment comprised 11 judged categories with an additional category, Best Customer Experience, chosen by the public and this year awarded to Ascent Cyber.

In the final category of the night, the judges also identified Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills as Champion of Champions.

MemCrypt beat Ionburst Cloud and Seric Systems to the Leading Light Innovation prize.

head and shoulders of Pete Jaco, a bespectacled man in a dark jersey 

Ransomware – malware that encrypts files, giving the attacker scope to demand a ransom to restore access - is increasingly becoming the attack of choice for cyber criminals as it has a high chance of financial return coupled with a low chance of detection.

MemCrypt was honoured for its unique ransomware detection and privacy-protecting reporting product that detects the presence of ransomware, and can automatically recover files already encrypted.

MemCrypt was spun out of research at Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing with substantial backing from Scottish Enterprise, who supported the launch and early-stage funding requirements.

Tech entrepreneur Pete Jaco (pictured) was appointed Chief Executive Officer as the business stepped up plans for innovative products to help customers and technology partners combat the threat posed by cyber criminals.

Jaco joined Chief Technology Officer Dr Peter McLaren on the MemCrypt management team, with Edinburgh Napier’s Professor Bill Buchanan and Owen Lo supporting their work to tackle the multi-billion pound ransomware market.

Pete Jaco said: “As the fourth cyber spinout from Edinburgh Napier University’s cyber research group, what we are doing in the anti-ransomware space is truly revolutionary and we are looking forward to talking to potential customers, partners and investors about our technology.”

Edinburgh Napier was also shortlisted in two other categories. The MASCOTS project – which saw the University support neurodiverse learners as part of a drive to combat the global surge in cybersecurity threats – was nominated for Diversity Champion, and veteran cyber security expert Professor Bill Buchanan was nominated for Outstanding Leadership.

Purple and white arrow logo on black background for Scottish Cyber Awards 2021

Jude McCorry, CEO of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, which oversees the awards, said: “It’s encouraging to see that – despite cyber attacks increasing in number – the Scottish cyber security sector has worked hard to present a united front.

“From MemCrypt and Napier University’s development of a ransomware detection product, to Polydigi Tech’s collaboration with companies throughout the country; the nominees have proven their dedication and commitment to combat cyber threats that impact all individuals and organisations throughout Scotland.

“It was fantastic to celebrate with the winners in person and share their achievements but, truly, we’re all winners here: if these awards have shown us anything, it’s that Scotland is home to a united cyber defence community that shows no signs of slowing down.”

Andrew Scott, Senior Security Delivery Manager at Accenture and judge at the Scottish Cyber Awards, added: “The calibre of entries this year were second to none, which made it harder than ever to declare a winner. In some cases, we felt that the title deserved to go to two individuals as in the case of Outstanding Woman in Cyber.”

The awards were held at Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel and hosted by Scots comedian Fred MacAulay.   Individuals across Scotland nominated their organisation, themselves, or another individual they felt were helping to combat cybercrime. The judging committee included representatives from across the public and private sectors to reflect the wide-ranging impact of the cyber security sector.

The full list of 2021 winners included:

  • Best Cyber Start Up, sponsored by Varonis: Polydigi Tech Ltd
  • Best New Cyber Talent, sponsored by Change Digital: George Milken, Education Scotland 
  • Diversity Champion, sponsored by Sapphire: Lead Scotland
  • Collaboration with Police Scotland, sponsored by Check Point: Cyber Resilience Bulletin
  • Cyber Educator, sponsored by SQA: Colin McLean, Abertay University
  • Leading Light Innovation, sponsored by Scotland IS: MemCrypt with Edinburgh Napier University
  • Best Cyber Breakthrough, sponsored by Quorum Cyber: Capito Ltd
  • Best Cyber Education Programme, sponsored by BT: Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills
  • Outstanding Cyber Team, sponsored by FullProxy: Cybercrime Harm Prevention Team, Police Scotland
  • Outstanding Woman in Cyber, sponsored by Gigged.AI: Sarah Cunningham, Waterstons and Ashley Beck, Police Scotland (tie)
  • Outstanding Leadership, sponsored by Closed Door Security: Detective Inspector Michael McCullagh, Police Scotland
  • Best Customer Experience, sponsored by The Tech Force: Ascent Cyber (chosen by the public)
  • Champion of Champions, sponsored by Accenture: Skills Development Scotland – Discover Cyber Skills

School of Computing

The School of Computing will equip you for the future in a fast-changing and fascinating sector. From networking to cybercrime, sound design to web development, we offer innovative, accredited courses taught by industry experts in labs that feature cutting-edge kit.