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Ethical hackers help The Ocean Cleanup focus on its mission

Priyam Awasthy is a junior manager in our Risk Advisory practice in the Netherlands. For a few hours a month, he leads a team of ethical hackers in their mission to keep charities safe in cyberspace.

“We had the idea a few years back that we wanted to do more to help society,” said Priyam. “With support from the Deloitte Impact Foundation, we set up Hacking for Charity, a free programme that allows us to offer a few hours of our time each month to make organisations more secure.”

The Ocean Cleanup is one of the charities benefiting from the group’s expertise. It aims to keep our oceans free from plastic and, unsurprisingly, it tends to prioritise its work rather than its online security.

“The in-house IT organisation of The Ocean Cleanup is strictly lean and mean, with most of our resources focused on developing engineering solutions for our mission,” said Steven Bink, Head of IT at The Ocean Cleanup.

Coming clean

The Ocean Cleanup approached Priyam and his team to check its network for vulnerabilities. In November 2018, 12 experts come hackers got ready to break down the charity’s defences.

Priyam continued, “Our experts from Cyber Risk and Strategy found a number of vulnerabilities in the system, including some that were high risk.” The team then helped to resolve these vulnerabilities.

The hack has made The Ocean Cleanup more aware of its cyber defenses and has shown how it can shore up its systems. Priyam’s team will continue helping the charity with multiple security tests in the coming months.

He concluded, “This has been a great experience and given me a sense of pride. It’s very motivating.”

Hacking for Charity is one of the initiatives supported by the Deloitte Impact Foundation. Launched in 2016 in the Netherlands, it allows our people to apply their knowledge, energy and talents to benefit society across three themes: education, endurable society and societal innovation.

“I would like to express my appreciation for this extremely valuable donation of time and skills to help test our public website.”

Steven Bink, Head of IT at The Ocean Cleanup

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