About Counter-Ransomware™

Counter-Ransomware (C-RW) is an innovative business that offers a unique solution to one of society’s most pressing challenges.

C-RW has grown out of a strategic risk advisory business that manages complex problems, solves difficult challenges and builds risk management capacity. Prior to forming Counter-Ransomware the directors reached senior levels in National Security (intelligence agencies and special operations forces) and between them have over 250 years of security and intelligence experience, often in the most challenging of situations.

As a values-driven company our purpose is central to what we do. The longer-term impact we seek is that

the world is a better place because Counter-Ransomware has applied its unique people and skills to solve the single-biggest threat to business in the early 21st century.

Powered by Othrys. C-RW grew from Othrys and still draws on the stellar expertise of the Othrys Association, which is a community of more than 250 ethically minded and service-focused individuals and partner companies, who provide an ecosystem of peerless solutions.


Core Team

Strategy and Partnerships
Richard Stephens MBE MA MSc FCMI CMgr

Richard Stephens is a senior leader of broad national and international experience who has worked extensively across the fields of security, risk and intelligence in the public and private sectors.

Over a 23-year career in the specialist military Richard commanded teams from 12 to 1000 people on operations in hostile environments. He has led cross-departmental think tanks for the UK Government, has authored policy for several overseas administrations, he has conducted complex investigations for the Lloyd’s insurance market and helped to establish a leadership development programme in Iraq for oil executives. He has directed war crimes investigations in Syria and has established a law firm in the City of London that specialised in high-risk jurisdictions. Latterly he was managing director of a global risk advisory firm.

Richard was awarded MBE for his leadership on counter-terrorism operations. He has a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College, London and a Master of Science (Distinction) in Leadership and Management, his research area being Middle Eastern leadership and specifically ‘An Investigation Of The Kurdish Leader - Leadership Insights In Northern Iraq’. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, is a Chartered Manager and a Henley Business School accredited executive coach.

Operations and Marketing
Alison Norwood BSc MA

Alison spent the first 20 years of her career working across a number of political desks within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office focusing on security and analysis. Following the arrival of her family, Alison began her academic studies and holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology from The Open University and an MA in Terrorism, Security and Society from King's College. She also worked part time in the NHS within the Child Protection team.

Alison has been working in commercial and business security and intelligence since 2018. She uses psychology as a tool within her work and is a member of the British Psychological Society including the Cyberpsychology and Defence & Security sections.

Alison joined the C-RW team in 2022 and brings her operational, cyber and psychology expertise to the role. She particularly enjoys challenging barriers to good cyber hygiene and how group psychology can be used to solve issues in cyber, including online behaviours and messaging.

Alison also works within training both as a role player in set piece scenarios and as a content creator and delivery.

Investment and Creative Content
Nick Catliff MBA

Nick is a highly experienced media executive and business leader. A BBC graduate trainee he worked as a producer and journalist in News, Current Affairs and Documentaries before moving into independent production as co-founder and MD of Lion Television. He grew Lion from a start-up to become a highly respected international production company with bases in London and Glasgow as well as a US subsidiary based in New York. Lion built a reputation as a producer of high-quality factual content working with broadcasters and digital platforms in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia and has won many industry awards including BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Emmys. He led Lion as it became one of the founding companies of All3 Media which, through acquisition and organic growth, is now one of the largest production groups in the world. Nick left Lion in 2021. As chairman of the Indie Training Fund and as a board member of the training organisation ScreenSkills Nick has taken a leading role in issues around diversity and inclusion in the screen-based industries. Nick has an MBA from The Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

Business Manager
Carol Wilkins

Carol is a highly effective administrator possessing a rounded skillset, deep experience and a proven record of success. Over a 40-year career she has developed high emotional intelligence to go with her discretion, characteristics that helped her to function as a well regarded, long-term executive assistant to two CEOs.

A personable individual, Carol enjoys the workplace and interacting with her colleagues, principals and clients. Her positive attitude, attention to detail and conscientious nature also make her a team-player as her ability to diligently see tasks through to completion are highly valued.

In addition to her general administrative skills, her financial administration is also excellent. Advanced book keeping, account reconciliation, payments, cash-flow management and online accounting are all strengths that she deploys across a number of challenging roles.


Expert Advisors

Technology and Innovation
Seamus Tucker CMG OBE

Seamus spent thirty years working for the British Government. He served overseas with the Foreign Office in Eastern Europe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and the United States. He specialised in national security issues, counterterrorism, organised crime and state threats. In the UK he spent time in the Home Office where he led the CT Science & Technology unit and the CBRNE unit, providing security support for the 2012 Olympics. In the latter part of his Civil Service career his focus was on delivery of cyber security and digital transformation programmes.

Seamus is a graduate of the Civil Service High Performance Development Scheme (HPDS) and of the UK Defence High Command Staff Course (HCSC). He received a CMG for services to National Security in 2019.

Information and Intelligence
Andrew Brear

Serving in operational, liaison and leadership roles, Andy has over 20 years of experience as a British diplomat specialising in intelligence and security. He was deployed to Pakistan and Afghanistan several times between 1999 and 2011 and held diplomatic posts in Northern and Southern Europe, Latin America, and South Asia. In the late 1990s, Andy was seconded to the Ministry of Defence in a counter-terrorism operational role and later to GCHQ as an operational adviser. He also served as a Deployable Civilian Expert of the British Government’s Stabilisation Unit.

An expert in cross-cultural communication, intelligence capability building, and the application of security technologies, Andy has delivered security advisory services to governments in Europe, the Middle East, East Africa and the Gulf.

Networks and Intellectual Property
Nick Watson

Nick is a former senior British diplomat and Arabic-speaker who served in a range of Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Egypt. More recently, Nick spent nine years as a partner at Hakluyt, a network-based advisory business, including three years in Tokyo working with leading Japanese companies and three years running the firm’s Middle East business.

Nick’s career in both the public and private sectors has been based around the development, structuring and leveraging of professional networks as a basis for providing high quality insight, advice and judgement to senior decision-makers. He has recently founded a company that takes a network-based approach to providing impartial, expert advice on technology innovation and its protection. Other areas of interest include coaching and mentoring, education and cross-cultural communication. He acts as board adviser to Adeptis Group, a recruitment business specialising in cyber security, and also sits on the Council of the University of Sussex, its governing body and on the Advisory Council of UC Berkeley’s AMENA Center for Entrepreneurship and Development.

Strategy and Risk
John O’Callaghan FIET

Former British diplomat specialising in the application of science and technology to national security issues. Expert in strategic risk management, digital innovation and transformation, cyber security, and the exploitation of publicly available information to provide strategic advantage. Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, Department of War Studies.

High Trust Search
Tim Cook

Based in London, but operating internationally, Tim Cook has 20 years of executive search and assessment experience, covering both Egon Zehnder and Russell Reynolds where Tim co-led the Global Cyber and CIO Practices before setting up Kafue Consultants.

Tim is focused on helping clients understand what good looks like in digital as well as cyber security leadership. He has previous experience in both large and small-scale technology companies, from time spent at Fujitsu Services and Cherwell Scientific, where he was the CEO. Earlier in his career, Tim served in the UK MOD. Tim’s work has covered Cyber as well as CIO, CTO and other senior digital roles in analytics. He has worked across most sectors and geographies on both search and assessment projects. Tim invented a maturity model for cyber security leadership called CIRO (Cyber and Information Risk Officers) to help organisations and individuals understand what good looks like in cyber leadership, this has been widely used internationally in search and assessment assignments.

Tim has a degree in English Literature, a postgrad diploma from the LSE, an MBA from London Business School, and an MSc from UCL.

Nic Miller

With over 15 years spent working in cyber security, both within GCHQ and the private sector, Nic is an experienced cyber security leader with specialist expertise in building highly effective cyber security programmes within small to medium sized companies.

Having started his career at GCHQ, inside the precursor to the National Cyber Security Centre, Nic has also previously held the role of Chief Information Security Officer for a global, multi-billion dollar hedge fund. He now acts as a virtual CISO, advising firms on security strategies and cyber risk.

Head of Finance
Gerry Defries FCA CF

Gerry is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and a Fellow of the British Institute of Management, with Corporate Finance qualifications and deep experience in that field.

As well as running his own thriving Chartered Accountancy firm successfully for 45 years, he has been part time FD on several boards and floated one of the turnarounds on AIM.

His input at Othrys combines technical skills in commercial analysis, financial controls, governance and general management with a creative and independent mentality able to visualise change strategies that inspire trust and buy-in from stakeholders at every level. Gerry is acting as a part-time, interim advisor pending an appointment to the Board.

Head of Legal
Dominic Prentis

A French-English bilingual lawyer for nearly 20 years, Dominic has wide-ranging transactional and operational experience in the CIS, Africa and Europe. He advises companies and their owners on cross-border transactions and operations, working closely with local counterparts to ensure that commercial objectives are achieved in compliant with applicable laws. He advises listed companies and London Stock Exchange advisers on corporate governance and regulatory issues.

PR and Marketing Advisor
Paul Borselli

Paul Borselli serves as a marketing and communications advisor for C-RW. He has over 30 years international sales and marketing experience, working with startups to Fortune 100 brands, leading advertising agencies, top media and publishing networks, and innovative AI & SaaS technology firms. Paul currently serves as a fractional CMO for start-up AI & SaaS tech firms, after working in leadership positions with The Walt Disney Company, Comcast, Verizon Wireless, Cellular One, Macy's, iProspect, Digiday Media and Xtract One Technologies. Paul holds a BA in Political Science & Economics from Western Washington University, and earned professional certificates in Public Relations and Marketing Communications from the University of Washington.

Our Clients

Our focus is on small- to medium-sized entities (SMEs). While we advise the boards of large corporates, place CISOs in high-profile positions and support companies managing large budgets or valuable portfolios, we choose to focus on SMEs as well as the supply chains that service large commercial entities as our research and experience shows that this is a particularly under-served segment.

Our clients often work in regulated industries, where the penalties for being ransomed are particularly severe.

Our clients need something that is designed for their needs, giving a service that offers more assurance than an off-the-shelf solution.

Common challenges include:

  • How to prepare for the uniquely complex nature of a ransomware attack

  • How to access ransomware expertise, without the budget to own it in-house

  • How to secure a network that has evolved over time and caters to staff with varying levels of IT skill

  • How to manage the conflicting data requirements of security, privacy and compliance

  • How to respond effectively and rapidly to an attack, including negotiation, arranging payment and informing statutory bodies

Find Out More

We like to make the world just a little safer every day so there's an action sheet we want to share, to help you become ransomware resilient.

If you fill out the form below we'll send the sheet to you: if you opt in, it also means we can send you other useful material (but not too much of it).

You can also use the form if you would like a no-obligation discussion about Counter-Ransomware or other cyber security issues.

We treat all enquiries with absolute discretion and without any implied commitment.

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