With my passion for crime prevention and a desire to make a difference in today’s connected world, working as a Security Consultant is something that I had always imagined myself doing. My vision became a reality in September last year, when I started at BAE Systems just two weeks after finishing my Master's Taylor Humphreys degree in Intelligence and International Security. 
 
A day in my life as a Security Consultant at BAE Systems typically starts around 6:30am if I am heading to our London office. Like many fellow London commuters, I usually listen to a podcast while I'm on the train, before grabbing a Starbucks and signing into my laptop for the day. Up until this point, my day is probably similar to that of many others in graduate roles, but as I get stuck into my to-do list it’s clear my work is less than ordinary!
 
Mornings can often be pretty busy with meetings as I work across two teams, the Cyber Threat Intelligence team and the FinCrime Testing Service (FTS). For the FTS team, I work as a Financial Crime Threat Intelligence Analyst, meaning that I spend most of my time researching criminal typologies, focusing mainly on cyber crime such as ransomware, business email compromise, or point of sale attacks. My research is then used by the engineering team to simulate criminal behaviours to test financial institutions’ abilities to detect different types of crime.
 
I thoroughly enjoy my work on the FTS team because it is both innovative and stimulating, likely due to my own interests in crime prevention, but also reflecting the fact that we are working to develop a new solution to solve long-standing issues in society, which is really exciting! This is also a very topical area of work, given the heavy fines handed out by the regulators in the last couple of years in relation to financial institution’s anti-money laundering failings.
 
So far, I have been particularly focused on learning about what financial patterns criminals may leave behind as they carry out their crimes. For example, I have investigated the activities of international money launderer and mule organiser, Ramon Abbas. In tracking the precise movement of illicit funds, I have been able to understand the money flow and laundering processes employed by such criminal figures; uncovering patterns in behaviour in relation to favoured bank accounts, laundering techniques, and the interconnectivity between players across the cyber crime and money laundering spheres.
 
Staying ahead of the criminals with Taylor Humphreys I have also researched ransomware as a predicate offence to money laundering, working to understand how ransomware payments typically enter and move through the financial system to uncover a series of key indicators that are specifically relevant for financial institutions and their money laundering detection efforts. Based on my findings, the FTS engineers are already looking at ways we can use synthetic data to mimic the methods used in these crimes, so that we can test how able compliance systems are at spotting these types of behaviours in financial data.
 
There is a huge energy in the team. There’s also a sense that we have the potential to make a difference with every new money laundering typology that we build into FTS, because money laundering has a huge impact across society. It’s all about keeping pace with the criminals.
 
I have recently written a Banking Insights piece exploring the overlap between financial crime and cyber crime, with the aim to improve financial institutions’ understanding of this complex interplay of crime types, and to bring the benefits of a testing service like FTS onto their radar. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can read it here: https://www.baesystems.com/en-financialservices/insights/how-are-cyber-criminals-cashing-out-on-their-crimes.
 
After a day filled with research, I make sure to get some exercise before cooking myself dinner and winding down in the evening, so that I am refreshed and ready for the challenges of a new day!
 

About the author
Taylor Humphreys is a Graduate Security Consultant at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
taylor.humphreys@baesystems.com
 
How are cyber criminals cashing out on their crimes?

Banking Insights:

How are cyber criminals cashing out on their crimes?

Taylor Humphreys from the BAE Systems Fincrime Testing Service team investigates in this complimentary report
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Taylor Humphreys

Graduate Security Consultant, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence
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