Daniel Leightley

Hi I'm Daniel Leightley PhD, a researcher based in the United Kingdom. I work with machine learning and big data

How widely is HTTPS used in the public sector of the UK?

Over the last year I have been very interested in information security and what I can do as a developer/researcher to improve security for the projects I lead. This blog post goes someway in showing the strides we have made towards a secure environment, but shows that we still have a long way to go. As I was preparing this blog post, news hit that WannaCry ransomware was causing chaos around the world. I am not suggesting that the failure of organisations to use https leads to a vulnerable system (such as ransomware) but it could be an indicator of the culture within. I blogged a while back that Queen's Mary Job Site was hacked, malicious links were being...

Thoughts on the use of technology in mental health and the military

Later on in May I will be in Los Angeles at a closed symposium between University of Southern California and King's Centre for Military Health Research. I will be presenting on the potential use of technology in the military for healthcare delivery (serving and veterans, focused on mental health). I thought it would be interesting to write some of my thoughts here. Many are questions without any 'real' answer. I have focused on mobile delivery [Internet of Things] in this article. Internet of Things - The Revolution? You may have heard of Internet of Things (IoT) and think it is something revolutionary, the answer to all our prayers and something never seen before. You'd be wrong. It is a buzzword...

Visualising Kinect data using Matlab

A while back I made a post about recording Kinect One Stream using C#. Since then I have had a lot of questions about how to visualise and process the data in Matlab. I have now released the Matlab source code and you can find it here. This source code has been extracted from my PhD, and is highly experimental and not thoroughly tested. The script has been designed to render the depth, RGB and skeleton data into a single display. I have added a dropdown menu with some basic graphs of the MoCap skeletal to allow for exploration. You can download a sample data file here. You can then run the script by passing in the file location of...

Queen Mary University of London Job Site "Hacked"

At the weekend I was sent a link by a colleague to the jobs' site of Queen Mary University (job site here) as they wanted my advice on a position. I recommended the position but suggested using an alternative method of submitting an application, the site really does not utilise standard security practises (e.g. mixed content over HTTPS, account enumeration, password policy etc). Nothing surprised me about the website, until I tried to click on a URL located within the job listing, it automatically directed me to the following: The first thought that went through my mind was "oh boy, have I got malware on my machine?!", I went back to the listing and tried clicking the link, it...

What is deep learning, and why should you care?

I was recently asked to present on the topic of deep learning in the real world at Manchester Metropolitan University for their series 'Professional Development'. I was more than happy to present at the University where I did my undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Thank you @MMU_CMDT for allowing me to guest lecture on the exciting topic of #DeepLearning and why students should care! #London bound.— Dan (@_Dr_Daniel) March 3, 2017 My approach for the lecture , which needed to last circa 50 minutes with Q&A, was to present a top level overview of deep learning, why students’ should care and how they can get involved (career/hobby). I first needed to define the scope and context,...

Optimising Technology for Efficiency in Research - InDEx Ecosystem

A long time ago, websites used to be a bunch of files, and if you're lucky they were attached to a database. It was simple, you update the database and the site updates. Planning how to utilise and optimise technology to help in the running InDEx was something I spent a lot of time thinking about. In this blog post, I wanted to share how I, with InDEx, utilise technology to make me more productive, automate processes and be efficient when conducting research. Technology is a great resource when used correctly, and it is not as expensive as you might think. With InDEx, it actually saves money by ensuring we provision servers to meet demand and not have them active...

Auto Deployment for Node.js and GitHub

Auto deployment of code would not only save me time, it would ensures that my repository is deployed in the same manner with every push; without the need of ssh'ing into the server. I recently spent some time exploring the best solution to auto deployment with GitHub using private token keys (I did not want to use SSH for this). For a project I am currently working on, I needed the ability to push (or commit) updates to my master Git repository and then forward to them to a server. There are many solutions out there, but they were over engineered and complex. I just wanted a simple solution that works with node.js. This would enable me to embed...

MEAN Stack User Authentication and SMS validation with Twilio/Authy: Part 2/2 - Creating the IONIC App

This is the final post of the two part series for creating a MEAN stack user authentication framework with SMS verification. You can read about setting up the back-end server here. This blog post will explore the development of the IONIC app for both Android and iOS; including the ability to call our API to validate an SMS number using Authy. Below is an example of the Login App we are going to create. All the code will be available on my GitHub page here. This repo contains the Login App and back-end server. Take note of the comments within the ReadMe file. I am using the MEAN stack, but you can use any type of environment as the principles...

MEAN Stack User Authentication and SMS validation with Twilio/Authy: Part 1/2 - Developing the API

In this mini two part series I am going to share some code and guidance on how to use Twilio/Authy for user SMS authentication using a MEAN stack enviorment to create a full authentication system for a mobile phone app (iOS/Android) or web app. This blog post will explore the development of the backend server; including API, MongoDB database and authenticating users. A follow-up post will explore the creation of the IONIC app (can be adapted to web app) and will be live in a couple of days. The series will cover: Registration, validation and storing of user credentials. Authy authentication and SMS messaging Log in a user using token based authentication. Protect routes and app states based...

Academics should care about data security on the web

It is important that we start to take security seriously. I will try to avoid making this blog post into a rant against academia. I would be the first to admit that I was not always so security aware, I would create code that would enable XSS, SQL injection or cookie hijacking. The reason? I always thought it could never happen to me, who would care about an academic research project website? Thankfully, to my knowledge, the projects were never the victim of any breach. I did always spend time reviewing the logs. However, over the last couple of years I have become very security aware and genuinely interested in the field, and not just because of recent hacks against...