Bill Buchanan (computer scientist)

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William (Bill) Buchanan

Bill Image Award.jpg
Born6 March 1961
Other namesBill Buchanan
EducationPhD, Edinburgh Napier University, 1996
EmployerEdinburgh Napier University
Known for
AwardsOfficer of the Order of the British Empire

William Johnston Buchanan OBE FBCS CEng PFHEA (born 6 March 1961) is a Scottish computer scientist. Buchanan was born in Falkirk, Scotland in 1961. He currently leads the Blockpass ID Lab[1] and the Centre for Distributed Computing and Security at Edinburgh Napier University.[2][non-primary source needed] He is a professor in the School of Computing. In 2016, Buchanan was awarded "Cyber Evangelist of the Year" at the first Scottish Cybersecurity awards,[3] along with leading a project that was awarded the best collaborative project with Police Scotland.[4] Buchanan was awarded the best Best Lecturer/Tutor in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University within the student-nominated excellence awards in 2019[5] and also in 2020.[6]

Buchanan was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to cyber security, and was the first person to receive an OBE related to cyber security.[7] In 2018, he received an "Outstanding Contribution to Knowledge Exchange" award at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange awards.[8] Buchanan has led research which has led to three successful spin-out companies: Zonefox,[9] Symphonic[10] and Cyan Forensics.[11] In October 2018, Zonefox was acquired by Fortinet,[12] and in November 2020, Symphonic were acquired by Ping Identity.[13] Buchanan also supported the creation of the MemCrypt spin-out, and which focuses on the discovery of cryptographic keys in memory (based on the PhD work of Dr Peter McLaren[14]). The work has since been applied to ransomware detection and recovery.[15] In 2021, the research work related to MemCrypt received a Leading Light Innovation award at the Scottish Cybersecurity awards.[16] He has co-authored several patents including: Improvements in or relating to digital forensics;[17] Resilient secret sharing cloud based architecture for data vault;[18] System and method for management of confidential data;[19] Method for identification of digital content;[20] and Improved information sharing.[21] In 2022, the EU-funded GLASS project won the Leading Light Innovation Award at the Scottish Cyber Awards,[22] of which Buchanan is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the project.[23]

He is the creator and sole author of the web site, and which focuses on covering cryptography and various areas of networking and cybersecurity, from both a theoretical and practical approach. Buchanan was also the software creator of the Bright Red Publishing Digital Zone, and which contains Web-based content for many of the subjects included in the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) N5, Higher and Advanced Higher syllabus' in Scotland.[24]

With a documentary on Cyber Security, broadcast on Monday 8 November 2015, Buchanan and his team set up a fake Web site for hackers to gain access to, as part of the BBC Panorama programme.[25] In 2016, Buchanan was also included in the FutureScot list for the "Top 50 Scottish Tech People Who Are Changing The World".[26]


  1. ^ "Blockpass Identity Lab - Napier University". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Bill Buchanan". Napier. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  3. ^ Scottish Cyber Awards 2017 with Prof Bill Buchanan of Napier University, retrieved 28 October 2022
  4. ^ "University dominates Scottish Cyber Awards". Napier. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  5. ^ "Excellence Awards - The Winners - Edinburgh Napier Students' Association". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Excellence Awards - The Winners - Edinburgh Napier Students' Association". Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Judy Murray among Scots on honours list". BBC News. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2018 winners announced | Interface Knowledge Connection". Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  9. ^ "University spinout becomes part of the Fortinet family". Napier. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  10. ^ OSullivan, Kevin (22 June 2017). "Prof Bill Buchanan rewarded with OBE for cyber security work". FutureScot. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Spinout set to revolutionise digital forensics worldwide". Napier. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Fortinet acquires ZoneFox". Fortinet. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Ping Identity to Acquire Symphonic Software to Accelerate Dynamic Authorization for Enterprises Pursuing Zero Trust Identity Security". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  14. ^ updates (26 May 2021). "Edinburgh Napier spin-out appoints Pete Jaco as CEO to tackle growing ransomware threat". ScotlandIS. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Home". Memcrypt. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  16. ^ "University spinout honoured at Scottish Cyber Awards 2021". Napier. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  17. ^ EP 2347366, Buchanan, William Johnston; Graves, Jamie Robert & Bose, Niladri, "Improvements in or relating to digital forensics", published 2019-05-08, assigned to Fortinet Inc. 
  18. ^ US 10979222, Lanc, David; Fan, Lu & Mackinnon, Lachlan et al., "Resilient secret sharing cloud based architecture for data vault", published 2021-04-13, assigned to Leading Software Ltd. 
  19. ^ GB application 2561176, Stevenson, Ian; Bruce, Ramsay & Buchanan, William Johnston et al., "System and method for management of confidential data", published 2018-10-11, assigned to Edinburgh Napier University 
  20. ^ GB 2561177, Stevenson, Ian; Bruce, Ramsay & Buchanan, William Johnston et al., "Method for identification of digital content", published 2021-06-30, assigned to Cyan Forensics Ltd. 
  21. ^ US 9043867, Uthmani, Omair; Buchanan, William & Lawson, Alistair et al., "Information sharing", published 2015-05-26, assigned to The Court of Edinburgh Napier University 
  22. ^ aoifeosullivan (28 November 2022). "Triple success for Edinburgh Napier University at Scottish Cyber Awards". Research Innovation Enterprise. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  23. ^ "distributed single sign on stack on e governance paradigm based on a distributed". Napier. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  24. ^ "Minister learns how pupils benefit from business-academic partnership | Interface Knowledge Connection". 2 May 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  25. ^ "BBC Panorama".
  26. ^ "The Digital List". FutureScot. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2022.