'Windigo' research wins first annual Péter Szőr award

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Sep 26, 2014

The first of many awards to commemorate brilliant researcher.

When, in November last year, we heard of the passing of Péter Szőr, we wanted to do something to keep the memory of Péter alive.

Not only was Péter a long-serving member of the VB advisory board, a regular contributor to Virus Bulletin magazine and a regular speaker at the VB conference, he was also one of the industry's brightest researchers - and of course, the author of the classic book The Art of Computer Virus Research and Defense. Perhaps more importantly than all that, he was a very kind and genuine person.

Following some suggestions, we decided to set up a Péter Szőr award, to be awarded annually at the VB conference for the best piece of technical security research. The first such award was presented during the gala dinner at VB2014 last night.

Four pieces of research were nominated for this award:

  • Security Applications of Formal Language Theory by Len Sassaman, Meredith Patterson and Sergey Bratus, published in IEEE's Systems Journal.
  • Operation Windigo by ESET researchers Olivier Bilodeau, Pierre-Marc Bureau, Joan Calvet, Alexis Dorais-Joncas, Marc-Etienne Léveillé and Benjamin Vanheuverzwijn (published here).
  • Research on 'Hacking Team' spyware by Citizen Lab (published in three parts: 1, 2, 3).
  • A journey to abused FTP sites by Hendrik Adrian of MalwareMustDie (published in two parts: 1, 2).

We sent these nominations to the VB Advisory Board for their consideration, and 'Operation Windigo' was the clear winner. Congratulations to ESET researchers Olivier Bilodeau, Pierre-Marc Bureau, Joan Calvet, Alexis Dorais-Joncas, Marc-Etienne Léveillé and Benjamin Vanheuverzwijn!

Jeannette Jarvis, a member of the VB advisory board and a colleague of Péter's at McAfee presented the award last night, we would like to thank Jeannette for the part she played. We would also like to thank Luis Corrons for the original suggestion of setting up the award.

If you want to appreciate Péter's contributions, you could do worse than read his book that remains very relevant today. We also recommend the touching in memoriam by his friends Mikko Hyppőnen, Vincent Weafer and Jeannette Jarvis.



Posted on 26 September 2014 by Martijn Grooten
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