Some of the best heads in IT


Valdimar Óskarsson
CEO of Syndis

Globetrotting CEO

Valdimar Óskarsson is the CEO of Syndis. He holds an M.Sc. in Information Technology/Security and has extensive experience in the field of security and information security management. Another native Icelander, Valdimar has been living abroad since 2002, spending a decade in Denmark where he worked for Betware (now Novomatic) as an operational manager, Sensa as a consultant, and nSense as a PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). Valdimar was appointed as CSO of the Betsson Group in Malta in 2012. In 2015, he became CISO at Transfast, which is a US based money transfer company with offices across the globe.


Theódór R. Gíslason
Co-founder & CTO

Information security professional, with decades of experience in information security

Theódór has decades of experience of working professionally in the space of offensive information security with his interests focusing on penetration testing, exploit development, offensive tooling and vulnerability research. Theódór has performed security assessments, penetration testing, incident response, and security consulting for many of large global organizations, including financial, government, and other technology oriented companies. Theódór currently leads the operations team at Syndis and is helping to drive the Syndis vision forward.

He is a popular instructor and speaker in Iceland, having for instance taught university-level technical computer security courses at both the University of Iceland and Reykjavik University between 2012-2015. Theódór has also presented at various conferences on state-of-the-art topics relating to information security.

Prior to co-founding Syndis, Theódór worked for Capacent, TERIS, and KPMG, where he performed technical offensive security consulting and assessments.


Charlie Eriksen
Principal Security Engineer

Information security professional with focus on development, coding genius

Charlie has spent his last few years doing application security in the gaming industry, and spent countless hours doing security research against both open and closed source applications. He has worked with major vendors on vulnerabilities he has discovered during his research. He has already presented at multiple conferences, including Nordic Security Conference. He has also done work on anomaly detection in video games and related systems, which he has presented about.

He has also done work on incident response situations relating to malware attacks, system breaches, and denial of service attacks for various organizations.


Ýmir Vigfússon, PhD
Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer

Professor in residence, security educator and system builder

Ýmir is Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Emory University and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Reykjavik University. He leads the research strategy of Syndis. Ýmir obtained a PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University in 2009, where his dissertation was nominated for the ACM Doctoral Dissertation award, and worked as a research scientist at IBM Research on innovations in distributed systems.

With more than 16 years of experience in computer security, Ýmir is a pioneer in offensive exploitation of computer software. He invented various techniques to leverage security vulnerabilities in software, and wrote many of the first "Format string" and "Heap overflow" exploits. His TEDx talk on why he teaches people how to hack went viral in 2014. Ýmir has published over 30 academic articles, holds 4 patents and loves cats. His professional web site is

Rich Smith

Rich Smith

Information security expert, leader in offensive research

Rich has worked professionally in the space of offensive security for over 10 years where his research has been focused on the areas offensive tooling and framework design, post-exploitation strategies along with continual vulnerability research and exploit development. In addition to his research, Rich performs consulting and attack services across a range of verticals including National Security, Financial, Technology, and the Entertainment industry.

Prior to co-founding Syndis, Rich led the Attack Technology Division at Kyrus Tech (DC), held a Vice President role at Morgan Stanley (NY) as the lead cyber-threat specialist, was a senior researcher at Immunity Inc (FL) and led the Research In Offensive Technologies and Threats group at Hewlett-Packard's European Labs (UK). He is currently the Director of Security at DUO security Inc.


Bergsteinn Karlsson
Team Lead & Security Engineer

Law enforcement professional

Bergsteinn has worked in law enforcement for the past decade both as a patrol officer and as a detective. His experience ranges from local to internationally cooperative cases in fields such as narcotics, cyber and organized crime. 

He has in recent times been more involved in cybercrime investigations. His work for the police has given him a valuable insight into the workings of the legal administration and judicial system in addition to a comprehensive understanding of criminal mentality. As a first responder he learned to deal with critical situations and work under pressure whilst having to keep his composure.

Bergsteinn has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Reykjavik University where he was first introduced to Syndis through their security course TOOR.


Heiðar Karl Ragnarsson
Security Engineer

Offensive information security frontrunner

Heiðar has completed his B.Sc. degree in Computer Science at Reykjavik University. He is a part of the Adversary team that is developing an educational platform for training developers to adopt a richer security mindset while designing systems and writing code. 

Heiðar has been heavily involved in offensive information security community over the past few years. His focus is on the offensive side of security, ranging from penetration testing to code reviews to participating, playing and organizing security competitions, including IceCTF.


Hjalti Magnússon
Security Engineer & Chief Carbonation Officer

Coding genius 

Hjalti's background is both in academia and software development. After completing his B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from Reykjavík University, he went on to become adjunct lecturer at the university. As an educator his focus was mainly on improving students' problem solving skills by developing automated grading and feedback systems.

Prior to joining Syndis, Hjalti worked as a developer for two software companies.


Jóhann Þór Kristþórsson
Security Engineer

Engineering and hardware nut

Jóhann joined Syndis after a 5 year career in software development where he held positions as both a senior developer and an engineering lead. He completed his BSc degree in Software Engineering from Reykavík University in 2012 and in 2016 he graduated with distinction from UCLs MSc program in Software Systems Engineering. He is an avid hardware nerd and in his spare time he builds things ranging from automated gardening systems and keyboards to remote control airplanes.


Alex Már Gunnarsson
Security Engineer

Web cracker 

Alex completed his B.Sc degree in Computer Science at Reykjavik University. His final project in Reykjavik University was done in collaboration with Syndis, where he, Niels and Sindri explored the potential of the data from Syndis’ preliminary research project Heimdallur. In Reykjavik University Alex became a Teaching Assistant in various courses as well as working for a startup to teach children how to code. On his way to the goal of becoming a Security Engineer he built a good foundation in web development.


Níels Ingi Jónasson
Security Engineer

Professional tinkerer

Níels has been surrounded by computers since birth and amazed by their capabilities since the age of five. At fourteen years old, he taught himself programming, tinkered a bit too much and accidentally destroyed his first computer. He went on to study more programming and eventually won himself a scholarship at Reykjavík University where he got a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Discrete Mathematics. Whilst attending Reykjavík University he found a passion for both automation and security.