Charles Sturt University graduate Mr Craig Ford wears many hats in his crusade for a safer and more equitable society.
He was named the winner of the Charles Sturt Innovation, Entrepreneurship Creativity Award for his contributions to the production of accessible information and learning tools about cybersecurity.
An ethical hacker, security engineer, cybersecurity journalist, and author, Mr Craig Ford is driving a fresh approach in the information security industry in pursuit of a safer and more equitable society.
Craig is currently Chief Technology Officer at Baidam Solutions, an Indigenous-owned and operated information technology business delivering industry-leading cybersecurity services to private and public sector and not-for-profit clients.
In this role, he leads the company’s technical services component and plays a central part in creating an open and inclusive workplace.
Craig has graduated with three degrees at Charles Sturt University – a Graduate Certificate in Management (IT) in 2014, a Master of Management (IT) in 2016 and Master of Information Systems Security in 2019.
Since joining Baidam three years ago, Craig has embraced the company’s mission to bridge the gap for First Nations peoples.
He is dedicated to building pathways and securing opportunities for young First Nations men and women to pursue rewarding careers in cybersecurity, including through the company’s recently launched Security Operations Centre, the first in Australia to be Indigenous co-designed.
Throughout his 20-year career, Craig has developed vast expertise and an innovative approach to solving complex problems. He has worked in both incident response and performed ethical hacking engagements for real-world testing of clients’ systems.
He has worked as a virtual chief information security officer (CISO), conducted high-level security audits, and brought systems in line with international security framework standards.
Craig was named Australian Information Security Association (AISA) Cybersecurity Professional of the Year in 2020 in recognition of his industry leadership and a Male Champion of Change, special recognition award in the Australian Women in Security Awards in 2021.
Last year he was among Top Cyber News magazine’s inaugural ‘40 under 40’, and recently became the only Australian ever featured on the global publication’s cover.
A prolific cybersecurity journalist, Craig is a vocal advocate for a more open cybersecurity industry.
He has written almost 100 articles for CSO illuminating a diversity of topics for broad audiences and is a regular columnist for Women in Security Magazine and contributor to Cyber Today, Careers with STEM, Top Cyber News, SecureGOV and Cyber Australia.
Also a best-selling author, Craig’s popular book series A Hacker, I Am offers a fresh and creative perspective on cybersecurity, making it fun and accessible to anyone seeking to learn how to stay safe in our digital world.
His second series, a cyberpunk/hacker fantasy Foresight and its sequel Shadow, delves into the mind of a female hacker to encourage young women with an interest in cybersecurity.
Craig’s third series, co-authored with Caity Randal, is The Shadow World, a cyber awareness book created for primary school students and their teachers and carers.
The book unpacks online safety in an engaging way to explore topics including cyberbullying, cyber stalkers and strangers online. An instant bestseller, Craig secured industry support to put thousands of free copies in the hands of schools across the country.
Driven to shape the wider industry’s future for the better, Craig has served as an executive committee and board member for AISA for the last three years and a mentor for the Australian Women in Security Network.
He was also an online learning adviser and unit coordinator in Western Sydney University’s cybersecurity program and a member of Charles Sturt’s Industry Advisory Panel, where he brings his considerable expertise and talent to enhance cybersecurity education for the next generation of industry professionals.
Charles Sturt University announced the winners of its 2023 Alumni Awards on Foundation Day, Wednesday 19 July, celebrating 34 years since the University’s inception.
Craig was named as the winner of the Innovation, Entrepreneurship Creativity Award for the impact he is making in his chosen field.
“Being selected as the 2023 Charles Sturt Alumni of the Year Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity category award winner means more to me than I can find the words to properly describe,” he said.
“Coming from humble beginnings, being the first in my family to finish high school, the first to go to university and being honoured like this for my achievements among my peers, and my fellow alumni, gives me pause to recognise.
“I have achieved amazing things in life and my career. It gives me the drive to continue my fight to do things differently and truly make a difference. This is just the beginning of what I will achieve but also what we can all achieve together.”