Péter Szőr Award

The Annual Péter Szőr Award for Technical Security Research

In November 2013, the security community lost one of its brightest lights with the death of security researcher and VB advisory board member Péter Szőr.

As a way of celebrating Péter's life and work on an ongoing basis, and keeping his memory alive, VB set up an annual award, which is known as the "Péter Szőr Award".


The award aims to recognise the best piece of technical security research published each year. Nominations for the award are sought from the security community at large, and a final shortlist voted on by the VB advisory board. The award is presented each year at the annual VB conference.

Péter Szőr contributed almost 40 articles to Virus Bulletin over the years, spoke at several VB conferences, and served for more than ten years on the VB advisory board. Péter was also well known as the author of the popular The Art of Computer Virus Research and Defense — a book which, for many, served as their first introduction to and basic grounding in computer security. Most importantly, he was known by everyone who encountered him for his great kindness and generosity.


2017 Award

The winner of the 2017 Péter Szőr Award – for the best piece of technical security research published between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017 – was AKBuilder – the crowdsourced exploit kit by Sophos researcher Gabor Szappanos.

The award was presented during VB2017 in Madrid.


The other nominees were:

  • Iran threats by Collin Anderson & Claudio Guarnieri
  • The first collision for full SHA-1 by Marc Stevens (CWI Amsterdam), Elie Bursztein (Google Research), Pierre Karpman (CWI Amsterdam), Ange Albertini (Google Research) & Yarik Marko (Google Research)


The 2018 Péter Szőr Award will be for the best piece of technical security research published between 1 July 2017 and 30 June 2018 and will be presented at VB2018 in Montreal, Canada. Nominations will open in spring 2018.



Past winners


Mofang: A politically motivated information stealing adversary by Fox-IT researcher Yonathan Klijnsma (published here).

The award was presented during VB2016 in Denver. The other nominees were:

  • Reversing Internet of Things from Mobile Applications by Axelle Apvrille (Fortinet)
  • Targeted ransomware no longer a future threat by Andrew Furtak and Christiaan Beek (Intel Security)
  • Lucrative Ransomware Attack: Analysis of the CryptoWall Version 3 Threat by Ryan Sherstobitoff (Intel Security), Christiaan Beek (Intel Security), Josh Grunzweig (Palo Alto Networks), Jinghao Li (Symantec) and Aamir Lakhani (Fortinet)
  • Distributing the Reconstruction of High-Level IR for Large Scale Malware Analysis by Alex Matrosov (Intel Security), Eugene Rodionov (ESET), Gabriel Negreira Barbosa (Intel Security) and Rodrigo Rubira Branco (Intel Security)



Catch Me if You Can by Intel Security researchers Anand Bodke, Abhishek Karnik, Sanchit Karve and Raj Samani (published here).

The award was presented during VB2015 in Prague. The other nominees were:

  • Operation 'Oil Tanker' - The Phantom Menace by Luis Corrons (PandaLabs)
  • Mobile Users Exposed: SSL/TLS Vulnerabilities Live by Carlos Castillo, Alex Hinchliffe and Rick Simon (Intel Security)
  • Chinese Chicken: Multiplatform DDoS Botnets by Peter Kalnai and Jaromir Horejsi (Avast Software)



Operation Windigo by ESET researchers Olivier Bilodeau, Pierre-Marc Bureau, Joan Calvet, Alexis Dorais-Joncas, Marc-Etienne Léveillé and Benjamin Vanheuverzwijn (published here).

The award was presented during VB2014 in Seattle, WA, USA. The other nominees were:

  • Security Applications of Formal Language Theory by Len Sassaman, Meredith Patterson and Sergey Bratus
  • Research on 'Hacking Team' spyware by Citizen Lab
  • A journey to abused FTP sites by Hendrik Adrian of MalwareMustDie


VB Conference


VB2017 Madrid: 4-6 October 2017.

Conference Archive

Details of past VB conferences

Péter Szőr Award

The Annual Péter Szőr Award for Technical Security Research

VB Conference Testimonials

Some of the comments made by delegates of recent VB Conferences.