The methods and mechanisms we use to understand and protect ourselves from the dangers lurking in cyberspace come from the exacting, often painstaking investigations of researchers all over the world. Each Saturday, we’ll talk to those dissecting the malware that’s disrupting business or stealing our personal information, identifying the vulnerabilities in our electronic and human cyber defenses, ferreting out the hidden surveillance features in the products we buy, and hunting down the threats to our increasingly interconnected world. We’ll also hear from researchers in industry and academia working to solve the hard problems of security in a rapidly evolving technological landscape, all while society grapples with the challenge of balancing security and privacy.
Research Saturday Episode List
Thrip espionage group lives off the land. — Research Saturday
Researchers at Symantec have been tracking a wide-ranging espionage operation that's targeting satellite, telecom and defense companies. Jon DiMaggio is a senior cyber intelligence analyst at Symantec, and he takes us through what they've discovered.
Cortana voice assistant lets you in. — Research Saturday
Researchers at McAfee recently discovered code execution vulnerabilities in the default settings of the Cortana voice-activated digital assistant in Windows 10 systems. Steve Povolny is head of advanced threat research at McAfee and he shares their findings.
BabaYaga strangely symbiotic Wordpress malware — Research Saturday
Researchers at Defiant recently analyzed a malware family they named "BabaYaga," which has the curious behavior of clearing out other malware and keeping infected sites up to date. Brad Hass is a senior security analyst at Defiant, and he guides us through their findings.
Measuring the spearphishing threat — Research Saturday
Researchers Gang Wang and Hang Hu from Virginia Tech recently conducted an end-to-end measurement on 35 popular email providers and examining user reactions to spoofing through a real-world spoofing/phishing test. Gang Wang joins us to share the sobering results. End-to-End Measurements of Email Spoofing Attacks
A new approach to mission critical systems — Research Saturday
Andy Bochman is senior grid strategist for Idaho National Lab’s National and Homeland Security directorate. Today we’re discussing the research the INL has been doing, developing new approaches to protecting mission critical systems.
No Distribute Scanners help sell malware — Research Saturday
Sellers of malware on Dark Web forums often use No Distribute malware scanning tools to help verify the effectiveness of their wares, while preventing legitimate virus scanning tools from adding the malware to their database. Daniel Hatheway is a Senior Security Analyst at Recorded Future, and he takes us through their recently published research, Uncover Unseen Malware Samples with No Distribute Scanners.
VPNFilter malware could brick devices worldwide — Research Saturday
Researchers from Cisco Talos continue to track malware they've named VPNFilter, a multi-stage infection with multiple capabilities, targeting consumer-grade routers. Craig Williams is head of Cisco Talos Outreach, and he joins us with the details.
LG smartphone keyboard vulnerabilities — Research Saturday
Researchers at Check Point Research recently discovered vulnerabilities in some LG smartphone keyboards, vulnerabilities that could have been used to remotely execute code with elevated privileges, act as a keylogger and thereby compromise the users’ privacy and authentication details.
Cyber bank heists — Research Saturday
Carbon Black's Chief Cybersecurity Officer Tom Kellermann shares the results of their recent report, Modern Bank Heists: Cyberattacks & Lateral Movement in the Financial Sector. For the report, they interviewed CISOs at 40 major financial institutions, revealing attack and mitigation trends.
Winnti Umbrella Chinese threat group — Research Saturday
Researchers from ProtectWise's 401TRG team recently published research linking a variety of new and previously reported Chinese cyber threat groups. Tom Hegel is a Senior Threat Researcher with the 401TRG, and he joins us to share their findings.
Islamic State propaganda persistence — Research Saturday
Researchers from Flashpoint recently explored ISIS' ability to distribute propaganda across the internet, and their use of major internet service providers to help them achieve persistence. Ken Wolf is a Senior Analyst at Flashpoint, and he describes what they learned.
UPnProxy infiltrates home routers — Research Saturday
Researchers at Akamai recently published a white paper titled UPnProxy: Blackhat proxies via NAT Injections. In it, they describe vulnerabilities with Universal Plug and Play capabilities in home routers, and how malicious actors could take advantage of them. Chad Seaman is a senior SIRT engineer at Akamai, and he's our guide.
Threat actors hijack Lojack — Research Saturday
Researchers from Arbor Networks' ASERT Threat Intelligence Team recently published a report titled, "Lojack Becomes a Double Agent." It outlines how threat actors are altering legitimate recovery utility software and simulating its command and control servers to gain access to target machines. Richard Hummel is manager of the ASERT Threat Research Team, and he joins us to describe their work.
Three pillars of Artificial Intelligence — Research Saturday
Bobby Filar is a Principal Data Scientist at Endgame, and coauthor of the research paper, The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation. The report surveys the landscape of potential security threats from malicious uses of AI, and proposes ways to better forecast, prevent, and mitigate these threats. Bobby Filar joins us to discuss the paper, and his views on the evolving role of AI in cybersecurity.
BlackTDS and ThreadKit offered in criminal markets — Research Saturday
Kevin Epstein is Vice President of Proofpoint's Threat Operations Center. We’re discussing two bits of research with him today. The first is about BlackTDS, a traffic distribution tool for sale in dark web markets. A little later in the show, he’ll tell us about ThreadKit, a document exploit builder.
New MacOS backdoor linked to OceanLotus — Research Saturday
Researchers at Trend Micro recently discovered a backdoor targeting MacOS users that they believe is the work of the OceanLotus threat group, an organization previously thought to have launched targeted attacks against human rights organizations, media organizations, research institutes, and maritime construction firms.
InnaputRAT exfiltrates victim data — Research Saturday
Researchers with Arbor Networks ASERT team have been tracking a malware campaign targeting commercial manufacturing, and have uncovered various samples dating back to at least 2016. Richard Hummel is Threat Intelligence Manager for Arbor Networks' ASERT Team, and he takes us through what they've discovered. Read more about it here.
Energetic Dragonfly and DYMALLOY Bear 2.0 — Research Saturday
Researchers at Cylance recently uncovered the malicious use of a core router in a campaign aimed at critical infrastructure around the world. Kevin Levelli is Director of Threat Intelligence at Cylance, and he takes us through what they've discovered.
Crypto crumple zones — Research Saturday
In their recently published paper, "Crypto Crumple Zones: Enabling Limited Access Without Mass Surveillance," coauthors Charles Wright and Mayank Varia make their case for an alternative approach to the encryption debate, one based on economics as a limiting factor on government overreach and surveillance.
Chasing FlawedAMMYY — Research Saturday
FlawedAMMYY is a newly discovered remote access trojan (RAT) that’s been used in malicious email campaigns, as far back as 2016. Ryan Kalember is Senior Vice President of Cyber Security Strategy at Proofpoint, and he takes us through their research.