The ethics and perils of APT research: an unexpected transition into intelligence brokerage

Friday 2 October 09:30 - 10:00, Green room

Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade (Kaspersky Lab)

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The top tier of the information security industry has undergone a tectonic shift. Information security researchers are increasingly involved in investigating state-sponsored or geopolitically significant threats. As a result, the affable and community-friendly information security researcher has become the misunderstood and often imperilled intelligence broker. In many ways, researchers have not come to accept this reality, nor have they prepared to act out their new role. Similarly, our industry has yet to gain insights into the complicated playing field of geopolitical intrigue it has set foot into, and as such has fallen into an identity crisis.

Both individual researchers and top-tier infosec firms face drastic changes in embodying their new role as intelligence brokers. Necessary areas of improvement beyond dispute include the enhancement of geopolitical analysis skills and analytical frameworks, coordinated operational security, and strategic decision-making based on a political calculus befitting heightened stakes and disproportionately powerful players. As this new playing field comes into clear view, so will the perils and ethical conundrums that are its permanent features. In the face of investigations with geopolitical weight and consequences, whose final attributions entail unmasking nation-state operations, even the most capable security researcher among us will need drastic preparations, not only to excel but to survive.

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Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade

Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade

Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade joined Kaspersky Lab in 2014. His research interests span government surveillance, intelligence analysis and cyber espionage. Before joining Kaspersky Lab, Juan Andrés worked as Senior Cybersecurity and National Security Advisor to the President of Ecuador. Juan Andrés holds a Master's degree in philosophical logic from the University of St Andrews and a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and political science. As a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford, Juan Andrés' research focused on placing intricate philosophical systems and logic in a dialogue with specialized and often inaccessible topics in computer science and information security.

@juanandres_gs