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Hack to the Future - My time on BBC1 Wales’ X-Ray

In March 2021 my colleague Huw Davies and I had the exciting opportunity to work with the BBC on a segment about smart home hacking for their Welsh consumer affairs programme, X-Ray! 

PwC’s Director of Ethical Hacking Stuart Criddle had asked me to attend a meeting a few weeks prior to take some actions, little did I know that this meeting was with the BBC team. I jumped at the opportunity and volunteered to talk with the presenter Steffan Powell about ethical hacking and how to keep your home networks secure. 

It was established that I would play ethical hacking specialist while Huw would be the hacker, until he was unveiled at the end of the segment. 

Prior to filming we mocked up family home smart tech, including a CCTV camera, light bulbs, a speaker system and a home control centre panel that could be accessed via a tablet, ready for Steffan to play around with. 

The next day we hit the ground running, despite the rainy Welsh weather, and got filming! It was super easy working with the director/producer and Steffan, they made the process relaxed and fun. 

It was great to see what goes on behind the scenes and be in a different working environment. The show aired Monday 22 March and it was both comical and exciting watching myself back and having old friends messaging you to say they had just seen you on TV! 

It was great to give the viewing public advice on home security good practice, such as ensuring wifi passwords are not set to easily guessable or simple passwords that an attacker could crack. Always update default credentials to something that is strong and unique, remember under the right circumstances hackers can try millions of passwords, so simple words and patterns are not enough.

While we’re on the subject, here are some more home security hints and tips:

  • It wasn’t shown in the episode, but the ‘hacker’ was able to see the username and password for the smart home control centre because it did not use a secure website - you should always make sure that there is a padlock in your search bar, or that the URL starts with ‘https’ rather than just ‘http’ if you are entering a credentials into a site.
  • Wherever it is offered you should set up multi-factor authentication (MFA). This is a system that will usually send you a code by text or email to confirm it’s really you trying to sign in. This means if an attacker does get access to your password, they would still need your phone (or at least the code) to get into your account.
  • Finally, we recommend always using a password manager for all your passwords; this is an app or programme that will generate very strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, and store them for you so you don’t have to remember them. 

I’m very proud to represent PwC and our brilliant Ethical Hacking team in this way, it makes my job even more rewarding. I hope to continue spreading the word about careers in technology, women in cyber security and staying cyber aware.

BBC X Ray Huw Davies

Contact us

Stuart Criddle

Ethical Hacking Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7483 416716

Rhodri Evans

Wales & Western England - Cyber Security Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7843 333819