Posted by Virus Bulletin on Aug 23, 2013
We speak to Gunter Ollmann about the growing need to assess corporate security defences from a hacker's perspective.
The VB2013 conference takes place this autumn (2-4 October) in Berlin, with an exciting programme that covers many of today's most pertinent security-related topics.
In the build-up to the event we are running a series of blogs in which we introduce the speakers and find out a bit more about their research interests and what they aim to bring to the conference.
Today, we speak to Gunter Ollmann who will speak at VB2013 on the subject of pentesting with live malware.
Tell us a little bit about yourself - your job and your responsibilities.
"I'm the Chief Technology Officer at IOActive Inc. and am responsible for pulling together the strategy for the delivery of new service offerings and making the tough decisions on when to retire less valuable or commoditized service offerings."
Can you give us a brief outline of what you will be speaking about at VB2013?
"This year at VB2013 I'll be talking about the growing need to assess corporate security postures with real 'live' malware. A lot of people have tippy-toed around the topic and claimed how bad it can be, but nowadays with layered defences and a reliance upon dynamic content inspection technologies at the perimeter, it has become critical that those defences in turn be assessed from a hacker's perspective. Despite investment in these layered defences the bad stuff continues to get in - so there's a growing need to evaluate these defences with a targeted attacker's eye."
Why is your presentation particularly relevant to the security community?
"The game has changed over the last half-decade. Much of the penetration testing being done commercially today is for the sake of compliance testing or for the sake of replicating pentest methodologies - not what real hackers actually do to compromise corporate networks. Malware is still the primary vehicle for breaching the perimeter defences, yet people shy away from testing the latest breed of defences against the threat."
What can delegates learn from your presentation?
"I aim to impart the need for inclusion of real 'live' malware usage in penetration testing methodologies, and some of the steps and tactics that can be used to prevent run-away malware scenarios."
What other presentations are you looking forward to?
"I'm looking forward to seeing the 'Mac hacking: the way to better testing?' presentation because it sounds like it could be somewhat related to what I'll be discussing. I'm also interested in hearing the 'Hacking Team and Gamma International in 'business-to-government malware'' presentation because of my previous analysis of the software and having come up against it in lawful intercept investigations."
Have you visited Berlin before? What are you looking forward to doing/seeing in the city this time?
"Yes, I've visited Berlin before. If you have a spare day on your itinerary then I'd recommend the museums on and around Museum Island. The Pergamon Museum is fantastic!"
What else are you looking forward to at VB2013?
"VB for me is really about catching up with former colleagues and friends - and trying to hire them! :-)"
Gunter Ollmann will present 'Pentesting with live malware' at 10:00 on Thursday 3 October.
The full programme for VB2013, including abstracts for each paper, can be viewed here.
Read more about why you should attend VB2013 - and download our letter templates as a guide for justifying to your budget holder why you should attend VB2013.