“Hello from Russia!” These were the opening words from Vitaly Kamluk for his Defcon presentation. Before I get to the details of his presentation, first, picture the scene. The room was packed .. beyond packed…standing room only. The overflow chose either to stand, or sit, along the sidelines of the room – a scene common for only the most popular of presenters.

Vitaly may not be a big name (yet!), but the title of his presentation obviously piqued people’s curiosity: “Fighting malware on your own”. Imagine fighting malware on your own, without purpose-built tools, and without the benefits of commercial antivirus (or other) security software. Now imagine this information being presented by a representative of a commercial antivirus software manufacturer!

Taking the audience through a series of exercises, this is exactly what Vitaliy did. Granted, a modicum of technical knowledge was necessary to immediately understand what he presented. Sitting up front and watching the reaction of the audience as Vitaly revealed the thought processes of a malware researcher, I could tell they fully appreciated the content. Knowing that his presentation (with some of the more complex sections conveyed in 3-dimensional graphic renderings) would ultimately be available from the conference CD, I have a gut feeling that many IT personnel will go home much better armed with manual virus isolation and removal techniques.

Breaking down complex problems – which included projects such as manually removing several well-known Trojans and viruses – and using readily-available tools built in to the (Windows) operating system, Kamluk explained the individual steps in a manner that most attendees could easily understand. At the end of each exercise, Kamluk polled the audience: “Now that we have all the information we need, can you guess what the final step is in the process?” Few in the audience actually raised their hands, but most sat with silent grins on their face, knowing the final step would be just as straightforward as the previous. And he didn’t disappoint. Without fail, I noted on more than one occasion somebody mouthing the word “Wow”, – for once not referring to an online game.

For those who were at Vitaly’s presentation, way to go! I think you will agree with me when I say it was a well-spent hour. For the rest, the Defcon CD may be available for purchase. :))


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APT trends report Q1 2024

The report features the most significant developments relating to APT groups in Q1 2024, including the new malware campaigns DuneQuixote and Durian, and hacktivist activity.

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