Author
David Harley
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David Harley
Senior Research Fellow
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Education? Academic background in modern languages, social sciences, and computer science.

Highlights of your career? I was a late starter (1986) as an IT professional, beginning at the Royal Free Hospital, then with the Human Genome Project (1989), then at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (1991-2001), where I wrote/co-wrote/edited a number of Internet FAQs and my first articles on programming and security. I presented my first conference papers in 1997 (at Virus Bulletin and SANS). In 2001 Osborne published Viruses Revealed (co-written with Robert Slade and Urs Gattiker): VR and the later AVIEN Malware Defense Guide (Syngress) – to which Andrew Lee also contributed – are probably the best known of my books. When I rejoined the UK’s National Health Service in 2006, I ran the Threat Assessment Centre and was the go-to person nationally for malware issues. I left to work as a freelance author and consultant in 2006, which is also when I began to work with ESET.

Position and history at ESET? Senior Research Fellow at ESET N. America. Primarily, I’m an author and blogger, editor, conference speaker, and commentator on a wide range of security issues. Like the rest of the industry, they put up with me because I’ve been around so long.

What malware do you hate the most? Malware is just code. It’s malicious people I detest. While I’ve no love of scammers, I can see that it’s easier to be honest in a relatively prosperous environment – if there is such a thing anymore – and that cybercrime can be driven by an economic imperative. But I have nothing but contempt for those sociopaths who cause harm to others for no reason except that they can.

Favorite activities? The guitar (I still gig and record when time allows), other people’s music. I love opera but don’t attempt to sing it. Photography, art, poetry, country walking – well, ambling is about as much as I can manage at my age – good food and wine, good television when I can find it...

What is your golden rule for cyberspace? Scepticism is a survival trait: don’t assume that anything you read online is gospel truth, even this adage.

When did you get your first computer and what kind was it? Amstrad PCW (primarily a word-processor) in 1986. What else would you expect a not-very-rich author to buy in 1986? :)

Favorite computer game/activity? Extra-curricular writing (blogging, verse and lyrics, articles). Digital photography and miscellaneous artwork.

Stuxnet Paper Updated

…the “Stuxnet under the microscope” has been updated.today on the white papers page: details as following…

Virus Bulletin Seminar

Our friends at Virus Bulletin are hosting a seminar later this month … organized by the security-knowledgeable but vendor-agnostic magazine whose annual conference is one of the major highlights of an anti-malware researcher’s year.

Boonana Threat Analysis

Our interim analysis of a version of the malware we detect as Java/Boonana.A or Win32/Boonana.A (depending on the particular component of this multi-binary attack) differs in some characteristics from other reports we've seen. The most dramatic difference is in the social engineering hook used in messages sent to an infected user's friends list. Other reports

NHS Security: a Retrospective View

…While there are those who think that I’ve been in the anti-virus industry since mammoths roamed the Surrey hills, most of my computing career has actually been in medical informatics, though as you might expect from what I do now, documentation, security and systems/user support played a large part most of that time….

Limewire Livewire

Clearly, the news about the demise of the Limewire service hasn’t reached P2P Technologies yet, or, more likely, they’re hoping it hasn’t reached you…

Bredolab and the Computer Misuse Act [Update]

…It’s likely that there has been a technical breach in countries that have legislation like the CMA, though I can’t imagine that many people would want to put the Dutch police in the dock On this issue, at any rate. :) …

Limewire, free software, and for-fee membership

…there are a number of other potential risks from offers like this (as I’ve pointed out before) … Paying for software that’s actually free and for services that aren’t worth the money … Paying for software that turns out to be malicious … Parting with credit card and other data that might be misused…

AMTSO: Members or Subscribers?

…one of the most interesting results is the approval by the members present of a planned low-fee subscription model which will enable individuals and small organizations to participate…

Stuxnet Under the Microscope: Revision 1.11

Tip of the hat to Bruce Dang and Dave Aitel for flagging an inaccuracy in ESET's Stuxnet report. And, indirectly, leading us to a blip in some PoC code which now looks even more interesting. (But that isn't going public yet.) The paper has been updated to remove the offending item. David Harley CITP FBCS

Facebook survey scam alert [updated]

…fake survey scam…

Fake Adobe Update Update…

Larry Seltzer and David Phillips have kindly sent me the full text of the fake Adobe update messages I previously mentioned…

Fake Adobe Updates

An email headed “ADOBE PDF READER SOFTWARE UPGRADE NOTIFICATION” has been spammed out recently: of course, it’s a fake, linking to a site that isn’t Adobe’s.

Stuxnet Paper Revision

The Stuxnet analysis “Stuxnet under the Microscope” we published a few weeks ago has been updated…

Win32k.sys: A Patched Stuxnet Exploit

…we also indicated in that paper that there are two Elevation of Privilege (EoP) vulnerabilities that we chose not to describe while patches were pending. One of these has now been patched, so we’re now able to publish some of the information we have on it. (When the other vulnerability has been patched, we plan to update the Stuxnet paper with information on both issues.)

Stuxnet the Inscrutable

This is an item you may not have seen amid all the speculation about Stuxnet, Iran and Israel.

A Little Light Reading

1) Another Virus Bulletin conference paper has just gone up on the ESET white papers page, by kind permission of the magazine. Large-Scale Malware Experiments: Why, How, And So What? by Joan Calvet, Jose M. Fernandez, our own Pierre-Marc Bureau, and Jean-Yves Marion, discusses how they replicated a botnet for experimental purposes, and what use they

Virus Bulletin 2010 papers

By kind permission of Virus Bulletin, we’ve already put two of the papers written or co-authored by ESET researchers up on the White Papers page.

Images are not always what they seem

So what we really have is a file with a filename extension that looks like a jpg image, but which really acts as a container for a file with a deceptive double extension.

Yet more Stuxnet

Just in case you haven’t heard enough from me on the topic of Stuxnet, the Security Week article I mentioned in a previous blog is now up at http://www.securityweek.com/stuxnet-sux-or-stuxnet-success-story. ;-) David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP ESET Senior Research Fellow

Cyberwar, Cyberhysteria

I guess I wasn’t forceful, or controversial, or sensationalist, or ungeek enough to rate any column inches. So I’m going to give you a sneak preview … in the light of all the speculation today on whether Stuxnet is an attack by Israel on Iran.

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