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April 10th, 2014

Behind the CARO conference’s curtains: Meet AVAST speakers!

For seven years, the CARO Workshop has been hosted in Europe. It is an outstanding technical meeting, attended by some of the best malware researchers in the world. In 2014, the CARO workshop comes to America. ~CARO’s conference official website

We are proud and happy to introduce you to our AVAST speakers and Security Experts from the Virus Lab. Peter Kálnai and Filip Chytrý are going to CARO’s (Computer Antivirus Research Organization) workshop to“Declare war against Android Malware.” We sat together and talked about their presentation, mobile malware, and general trends in the security industry.

Meet our security experts: Peter and Filip.

 

The theme for this year’s CARO conference is Mobile Space: Malware in a mobile world. As security experts, what changes and specific trends in malware development have you observed?

FILIP Well, this may sound cliché,  but the amount of mobile threats are rising and more sophisticated attacks appear every day. A few years ago, we would observe mostly primitive malware with only one or two capabilities such as to send paid SMS or track your movements. Now, however we have malware that can root your phone and became a device administrator, or command and control Apps which take control of your device by attackers. That’s why I believe we can stay tuned for more conferences concentrated on Android malware.  CARO is first, but hopefully not the last, conference focused on Android and mobile threats.

PETER I can’t recollect a different example, but this year’s CARO Workshop seems to be the first IT security conference completely devoted to mobile malware. The topic of our talk reflects trends in the Android threat landscape. Security experts nowadays observe an increased ratio of total malicious Android packages to unique malware families. Two particular cases appear most: The expansion of usage of Android packers and repackaging benign application with malicious code, so called piggybacking.

CARO is a very prestigious conference in the IT and Security Industry.  Its also a great opportunity for networking and exchanging knowledge. Is there any particular topic that you look forward to discussing with other researchers?

FILIP The official program for the conference hasn’t been published yet. But I believe we should be prepared for any interesting topics, and I’m really looking forward to see all those security experts under one roof and discuss threats which may harm anyone.

PETER I’m looking forward to see the announced keynote presentation ‘The changing enemy’ from F-Secure’s CRO Mikko Hypponen. Additional topics that are pretty interesting include revealing methods of taking down mobile botnets and analyzing devices with manufactured bootkits, because these are the things which we usually don’t encounter.

Our audience already had an opportunity to get familiar with a teaser of your presentation on our blog. Why, based on your daily research, have mobile threats became a hot topic in the security industry?

FILIP Three words: Mobiles are everywhere! If you go out you can see that everyone own a cellphone or tablet. Android is the most popular platform with approximately 70% of mobiles running on Android. Everyday more than 1 million new Android devices are activated worldwide. What I’m trying to say? If we have such a popular platform spread worldwide, it opens a wild opportunity for attackers and bad guys. Our role is to deal with it.

PETER I agree with my colleague. Moreover, the prevalence of malware is related to the openness of the platform that is targeted. Android was meant to be open by design.

Let’s go back to your presentation and the topic of Mobile Security. For those who can not attend CARO, but are interested in this subject, could you tell where and when else they can meet you or other AVAST experts?

FILIP Join me for jogging and we can discuss themes you are interested in and grab a few drinks after that. :) But probably there will be more options over the upcoming months to meet us on other conferences. Or we planning some other interesting inputs with marketing team so stay tuned.

PETER AVAST, the company, supports security research. The most important findings can be usually obtained from the AVAST blog and from the official download sources of security conferences that we spoke at.

What is your dream conference that you would like to present at?

FILIP Probably TEDx. It is a specific conference, sort of semi-educational channel, to spread knowledge. I would like to talk to a non-geeky audience about online and mobile security and build awareness about this subject. But as most of my colleagues, I’m enjoying all security-related conferences, such as VirusBulletin, Caro, RSA, AVAR and others. This year’s target would be probably AVAR, where I haven’t been yet.

PETER My personal IT security Grand Slam consists of Virus Bulletin, the RSA Conference, CARO Workshop and AVAR. Especially the first one, Virus Bulletin, has a very friendly atmosphere, with AV vendors providing an amusing program during conference breaks. So the dream is to be an attendee or a speaker there every year.

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