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Ian is a journalist by training. He covered business and technology for the Sunday Times before becoming a long-time foreign correspondent in Russia and then Asia. During a 25-year career overseas, he was based in bureaus in Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok for Channel 4 News and then NBC, the American network. He has also covered conflicts in the Middle East, Balkans and Ukraine.

Upon returning to the UK he obtained an MSc in Information Security at Royal Holloway, University of London, for which he wrote a dissertation on the use of cyber tools against the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

He is a member of Chatham House, the IISS, RUSI, KCL’s Cyber Security Research Group, and the College of Experts Offensive Cyber Working Group. 

Research Interests

  • The use of cyber tools by authoritarian states
  • The convergence of the offensive cyber strategies of Russia and China
  • China’s cyber power
  • The political economy of the cyber security industry
  • The use and market for spyware and other surveillance tech. What is driving this, and how is the market developing. 


Ian has written two novels - both cyber thrillers and two non-fiction books. 

  • Beijing Smog is a novel set in China, the main character being an internet meme that goes viral and causes all sorts of problems for a cast of unlikely characters.
  • Zero Days, a more mainstream thriller about the search for the bug of the title..

Ian’s non-fiction books are:

Ian is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times and The Spectator, Times Radio and LBC on international affairs, with a particular emphasis on China, as well as on cyber issues.