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The Whole is a multi-disciplined team dedicated to exploring the space between security and humans. The brainchild of social engineering expert James Linton, it's a place where ideas can live without expectations.

James Linton Founder of The Whole

About James, by James.

Email security and threats were not something I always had an interest in. Looking back, just 4 years ago I was really oblivious to what was going on out there in the wider email world. I had no urge to know more either, my days rolled on without becoming a victim, so why should I be concerned about it? We all do that don't we — disregard even good advice because our beliefs don't see it as something we need to care about.

My beliefs over the last 4 years have changed dramatically, I now get why everyone should care about the threats that are out there. Because they are credible and increasing in sophistication and number.

Some of you might already be aware that the trigger for me starting to see the bigger picture happened in 2017, when I discovered I was rather good at tricking people over email into believing I was someone they knew. I was later told this was known as 'social engineering'. Fancy. 

I've always been honest that at that time I was struggling, I had fallen out of love with the career I was in, and to find out, even by accident, I was good at something felt good. 

I was fortunate that Markus, at the time the Chief Scientist at Agari, read an article on Buzzfeed where I said I was stopping the email pranks, and looking into what to do next. He had seen beyond the 'prankster' image, and to cut a long story short we embarked on a project to socially engineer scammers with the assistance of automation. 

My learning curve was vertical! But I loved being a part of a project that was able to evolve and react as we learnt more about it. It also opened the door to James Linton the speaker, and I travelled globally talking about the research we were doing.

In some ways I worried about whether I would be trusted, with the label of a prankster. But people put their faith in me, and my gratitude for that cannot be understated. And as a researcher I worked daily with sensitive banking information, PID, evidence of criminal activity, client data - I even reached out to romance scam victims when I saw an opportunity to alert them about the true nature of who they were involved with. And I got to work on occasion with the Secret Service. 

Now it's time for me to rediscover my purpose in infosec. And awareness to me is the area I can make the biggest impact - and help the most people. 

I'm passionate about exploring human ways to make us safer in a technical world, and it's amazing to be part of a community that embraces those without the degrees, and who are neurodiverse - it shows how progressive security is.

Have questions? Please email us at hello@thewhole.io   

CEO fraud? Err, yes I've heard of it. But it's not usually the CEO being tricked...

The Whole Team