How a research project at Fox-IT enhances your security career


Internships are a great way to assess a student’s capabilities, Fox-IT is always looking for talented individuals, that have proven that they have what it takes to be ‘a foxer’.

At Fox-IT we hold our colleagues to the highest (technical) knowledge standard. If everyone is held to this high standard, we can insure the quality of our products and services, as well having capable colleagues in a challenging but foremost exciting environment.

Internships are an excellent method of engaging in research that can be futuristic or visionary. Not all research however leads to positive expected results, but that’s why it’s called research after all. Typically, a student will research, and then PoC (Proof of Concept) one of the many processes or technologies that we need. We introduce the student to the world of IT security, in a very focused manner.This usually involves a very narrow area of research that concentrates on only one problem. Supervision by ‘a foxer’ that knows the intricacies of the problems that we are trying to solve, allows us to get the best out of the student. “The more focused the research the better” is the motto here. Students usually spend 5 months on their project, which is quite short for research, testing and quality work, especially if you include all the documentation that is needed for the educational institutes as well.

How does one enrol for security research at Fox-IT?

I’ll start with an example of how our enrolment process works. A student will look at the list of available projects that we have on our website: https://www.fox-it.com/nl/werken-bij-fox-it/stage-afstuderen/. They register by sending an email to vacature@fox-it.com, with their CV, which projects interest them, and why. This email is then forwarded to the responsible division student coordinators for processing. Let me just say that there are always custom projects for capable motivated students. This online list can never be considered complete or extensive. If you have a brilliant idea of your own, do not hesitate to submit that as a proposal.

I will get the students details that relate to MSS (Managed Security Monitoring), send them an email or ring them for a time for an interview at Fox-IT HQ. As part of the process, I will interview the candidate. This will allow me to get to know them, their capabilities and guide them towards projects that best suit their skills (that they already have). At this stage, we will figure out the best course of action. In the end, we have a research proposal that describes what will be done during the internship.

Different types of Internships
There are three types of interns inside Fox-IT. The first is what I would call a standard internship, which involves working inside our dedicated intern room, focusing on the research and producing results. The second type is external or very short internships. These internships are done externally without the student coming to Fox-IT every day. I’m personally not a big fan of these internships, and they are rare. The third type of internship is MSS specific, as the intern is also tested for acceptance into the SOC excellence program, otherwise they can always be a standard intern. See https://www.fox-it.com/nl/vacancies/7384/. Their research projects are enriched by the front line experience that they gain working in our SOC (Security Operations Center) on a part-time basis.

Over the years we have gotten interns from many different countries and educational institutes. Most are from inside the EU (such as myself), but also from other places such as Mexico, India or Jamaica. For these students or others to far away from Delft, we offer a temporary place to rent, we very originally call the ‘Fox House’.

The difference between Fox-IT and others
I frankly can only speak for how it is at MSS, and how we do things, but everyday is guaranteed to be different. New exploits needing to be analysed, new interesting incidents to investigate or new detection methods to develop are the norm. As a principle of Fox-IT, technical creativity is encouraged. Giving us the room for cutting edge innovation, such as Quantum Insert detection (https://github.com/fox-it/quantuminsert) that allows us to make a difference for not only our customers but also the wider community. So if you want to participate in our continuous innovation, consider a Fox-IT internship.

As a side note, a substantial minority of the staff are international and many of our processes are in English. So I wouldn’t call Fox-IT your typical Dutch company. In short, Fox-IT offers students a friendly, technically competent and international environment to do their research, and progress their career.

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Barry Weymes
Senior Security Expert at MSS