Cyber Vulnerabilities Scientist/Engineer

Last updated 7 hours ago
Job Type:Full Time, Part Time


Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire

About the job


Are you looking for a career with a difference by contributing to the defence and security of the UK?
Do you have an interest in making systems do something they were never designed to do?
Do you have a flair for problem solving and a passion for new technologies?

We’re looking for motivated individuals who understand how technology and systems fundamentally operate.

At Dstl, we harness science and technology to protect our nation – bringing together the best people with the best ideas, and applying them in unexpected ways. Because we provide the UK government with specialist science and technology research, advice and analysis, what we do is often sensitive or international in nature. Much is operationally critical and has the potential to save many lives.

Together with other forward-thinking organisations around the country and overseas, we conduct leading cyber research, and support UK operations now and into the future. Here, you’ll help us establish a world class cyber vulnerability capability for the UK. It means applying your skills and knowledge to advance the tools, techniques and tradecraft we use.

Job description

You’ll work closely with experienced colleagues to perform vulnerability research on a wide variety of systems and technologies.

These exciting roles require a breadth of specialist skills in technology and cyber vulnerability research combined.

You’ll face technical challenges working with a variety of technologies which will involve:
  • Developing tools and techniques to aid our understanding of vulnerabilities.
  • Applying your excellent technical skills and knowledge in lab-based research, practical technology projects, or military systems evaluation.
  • Clearly communicating your work through demonstrations and presentations to a variety of stakeholders (including internationally).
  • Expertly documenting findings of your research.

Day to day life includes programming, lab-based research, or evaluating new tools and techniques in the field. No two roles at Dstl are the same, but your work at Dstl will make a difference to the Defence and Security of the UK. You will not have any direct line management responsibility, but you will be encouraged to develop members of staff working with you on your projects.

At Dstl, we strive to provide an inclusive working environment and give our employees as much flexibility as possible to undertake their role. It’s about creating an environment where everybody’s voice is heard and valued, where individuals can reach their full potential, and deliver as part of high performing teams. To support our goals of increasing our diversity, ensuring equality of opportunities for all and creating an inclusive environment we have a number of internal employee support networks :EnableD (covering both visible and non-visible disabilities with sub-groups covering neurodiversity through to mobility and dexterity) #Prism (LGBT+), Integr8 (Faith and Culture), GEN (Gender Diversity)and Parents & Carers Support Network) to support staff, and promote diversity and inclusion across the lab.

You will also be supported to develop technical and non-technical skills and have access to online learning, as well as our own development programmes and schemes. We pay for professional memberships and run a number of mentoring/coaching schemes to help you achieve your potential. We also support and encourage staff to gain Chartered and Fellowship status.


What does a Cyber Vulnerability Scientist/Engineer need?
We encourage applicants to have technical experience or skills in one of the team areas listed below. You will be assessed on the technical skills presented in your application at interview

Specific Team skills

Software Coding & Concepts Team
o Strong skills with at least one high level Programming language C/C++, Python to aid developing and debugging software across a variety of systems.
o Able to demonstrate good knowledge of algorithm design / problem solving / problem decomposition.
o Good understanding of computer architecture concepts.

Software Analysis Team
o Knowledge of static and dynamic analysis of software systems from source code or binary using Ghidra, IDA, radare2, or other similar tools.
o Expert knowledge of at least one of C, C++, Assembler (x86, ARM, or other).
o Proficient at understanding source code for analysis, characterisation, or running within a test harness.

RF & Electronics Technologies Team
o Practical experience using Electronics or RF testing and measurement equipment e.g. Oscilloscopes/ Spectrum Analysers/ Signal Generators.
o Good understanding of Analogue Electronics or Digital Electronics or RF Comms for design or reverse engineering tasks.
o Knowledge/ Experience of hardware description languages e.g. VHDL and/or Programming languages e.g. C / C++ / Python.

Algorithms, Data & Protocol Analysis Team
o Strong experience developing, analysing or reverse engineering communication protocols or packed data structures.
o Practical knowledge of compression, obfuscation and/or encryption techniques.
o Experience developing complicated machine algorithms, including pattern recognition, state machine transitions and/or machine learning.

System Characterisation & Understanding Team
o Strong experience of systems thinking/ systems theory and decomposition of systems.
o Practical knowledge of large interconnected systems (incorporating several processing elements and datalink connectivity at some level).
o Experience of delivery of projects/ technical leadership with many sub-tasks with different complexity.

A degree, advanced professional qualification or equivalent experience in one of the following:

  • Computer Science, Cyber Security, Ethical Hacking
  • Mathematics, Physics, Artificial Intelligence
  • Electronics/RF/Microwave Engineering, Communications Engineering, Signal Processing, System Engineering, Software Engineering, Systems Architecture

If you have a passion for technology and want a career that makes a positive difference to the Defence and Security of the UK then these roles could be right for you. Even if you are unsure that you meet all the criteria you may well have skills we need so please do apply.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Changing and Improving
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Working Together


We'll provide a great range of benefits including;
  • Fully flexible working, including alternative working patterns, annualised hours, compressed hours and job share, to name a few.
  • Flexible Working hours, a 12 month reference period and the ability to bank hours. Up to 20 hours can be taken in any calendar month
  • Excellent learning and development to ensure everyone fulfils their potential.
  • Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay.
  • Chartership and accreditation support.
  • Pension.
  • Generous annual leave, with the ability to buy and sell up to 5 days holiday per year.
  • A competitive salary.
  • Onsite gyms and restaurants.
  • Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Our Diversity Networks

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution. We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work.

These include the following;
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network
- Faith and Culture Network
- Parents and Carer Support Network
- Alternative Working Network
- Gender Equality Network
- New Starters Network
- Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

For further information about Dstl please check out our LinkedIn page

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is developed vetting.
People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.
The selection process, if successful at each stage will be as follows:

  • Telephone interview (20 – 30 mins) - a short discussion about your application and an opportunity for you to discuss the role with us.
  • Formal Virtual Interview- Under covid-19 restrictions, interviews will be held virtually. S

Please Note Sifting & telephone interviewing will take place throughout the advertising period. Formal virtual interviews will be held w/b 14th December 2020.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :Name : : Recruitment team :Email :

Further information

Should you wish to raise a formal complaint about the Dstl recruitment process you should email stating the nature of the issue. We will respond within 5 working days.

Share this page

Civil Service Commissioners website (opens in a new window)
Disability Confident employer scheme and guidance (opens in a new window)
Civil Service Commissioners website (opens in a new window)
Disability Confident employer scheme and guidance (opens in a new window)