How Chris Thomas Paired His Passion for Blockchain With Pen Testing

March 29, 2019
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2 min read

Chris Thomas, X-Force Red’s blockchain security expert, has always had an interest in understanding how technologies are built and operated. As a young child, Chris’ father thought it would be enjoyable for the two to build a computer instead of buying a premanufactured one. After two attempts, the father-and-son duo successfully built Chris’ first computer. Little did they know the project would ignite Chris’ future career as a penetration tester.

At just 11 years old, Chris performed his first penetration test, hacking into his school’s network. The content of his school’s information technology class wasn’t challenging for Chris, giving him plenty of time to teach himself how to program and code. Using his self-taught knowledge, he was able to scan the school’s network and access window shares that allowed him to log in as a domain administrator. Because he has a strong moral compass, Chris communicated his findings with the school’s system administrator, who became a close ally and supported Chris’ work. Through this experience, Chris knew he wanted to become a penetration tester.

Starting a Career in Penetration Testing

After secondary school, Chris pursued and completed an undergraduate degree in programming and a graduate degree in cybersecurity. He then began his first full-time job working as a system administrator for a large technology company in Manchester, England. Chris’ knowledge was second to none, but his employer would not let him begin his career as a penetration tester with the company. It was not until Chris alpha tested and passed the CREST CRT exam that his company moved him to a junior penetration tester position.

Over the next 10 years, Chris excelled in his role as a penetration tester and became a principal consultant, serving as the technical lead on a project for a large financial institution. He and his team managed the company’s global penetration testing network and built the network access controls from scratch.

Joining the X-Force Red Team

Chris has always been infatuated with blockchain technology since its inception and initial ties to cryptocurrency. With a passion for understanding how systems work and function, he immediately educated himself on all things blockchain and bitcoin and has continued researching and tinkering with the technologies ever since.

In his current role, leading X-Force Red’s blockchain testing services, Chris combines his passion for penetration testing with his love for blockchain. The team works with clients to find weaknesses not only in the implementation and use of blockchain technology itself, but also in the connected infrastructure.

Alongside X-Force Red’s veteran hackers, who are also developers and engineers, Chris is excited to help shape the adoption and implementation of blockchain across various industries.

Learn more about X-Force Red Blockchain Testing

Carter Garrison
Product Marketing Manager - IBM

Carter Garrison leads the search engine optimization and social media efforts for the IBM Security Services team. Carter also assists with publications surro...
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