Thursday, October 9, 2008

Virus Bulletin Conference 2008, Ottawa, Canada

I had the opportunity to present at the Virus Bulletin Conference this year in Ottawa, Canada. This is one of the big security conferences and a lot of well known personnel from the AV-industry attend it. It was really good interacting with the attendees, developing relations, and learning about new cutting-edge technological developments in the area of anti-malware.

My presentation was about "Applying User-mode Memory Scanning on Windows NT based systems". A copy of this paper can be downloaded from here.

The keynote talk on the first day of the conference by Alex Eckelberry from Sunbelt Software was interesting and explained the expectations of a typical desktop consumer and enterprise customer from AV-vendors. He stressed the importance of customer support in gaining consumer confidence and keeping the business running. The presentation about MBR rootkit by Kimmo Kassilin from F-Secure was very technical and particularly gripping to me. This explained one of the most sophisticated piece of malware we have seen in recent times.

There were some thought provoking discussions and presentations surrounding AV-software testing and one of them was by Dr. Igor Muttik from McAfee. There was also the new proposal from Dr. Richard Ford from Florida Institute of Technology about malware sample sharing that seemed very practical. His new approach and concept is sure is help the AV-industry. Last but not the least, the one presentation I was really looking forward to was by Peter Szor from Symantec, along with Dimitris and Adami from Graduate Institue of Applied Life Science. The presentation was about the evolution of computer programs (such as malware) into new forms that are functionally different from their parent, much like mutation creating new species in biological life. The presentation was very interesting and clearly exceeded my expectations.

The gala dinner on the second day of the conference was simply fun. They had each table form a team and compete against other teams in a frenzy of intelligent questioners. Although our team did not win, we still had a good time. All in all, the conference was informative and fun.

I got to stay around Ottawa a day after the conference, rent a car, and drove up the mountains in Quebec to look at the beautiful fall foliage. The sights were really pretty.