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Virus Bulletin news

Call for Papers: VB2015 Prague

VB seeks submissions for the 25th Virus Bulletin Conference.

Virus Bulletin is seeking submissions from those wishing to present papers at VB2015, which will take place 30 September to 2 October 2015 at the Clarion Congress Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic.

Originally started as an annual gathering of anti-virus experts, the VB conference has since evolved to become one of the world's leading security conferences, covering a broad range of topics in the realm of IT security. It is also one of the longest-running security conferences, and will celebrate its 25th edition next year.

The conference will include a programme of 30-minute presentations running in two concurrent streams. Presentations vary from the very technical to those aimed at a broader security audience. Like last year, submissions are invited on topics that fall into any of the following areas:

  • Malware & botnets
  • Anti-malware tools & methods
  • Mobile devices
  • Spam & social networks
  • Hacking & vulnerabilities
  • Network security

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Book review: Countdown to Zero Day

Kim Zetter's book on Stuxnet is a must-read for anyone interested in malware - or in 21st century geopolitics.

There is a tendency among the media to call every hack 'advanced', to blame every attack on a nation state, and to label every industrial failure as 'cyber'. It is good to approach such stories with a healthy dose of scepticism, yet that doesn't mean that such cases only exist in the realm of fantasy.

Enter Stuxnet: malware written by the NSA, probably with the help of Israel's intelligence agencies, which found its way onto the air-gapped computer systems of a nuclear plant in Iran, where it did serious damage to the centrifuges and thus ultimately to the country's uranium enrichment program.

It was Mikko Hyppönen who said that, with Stuxnet, computer science lost its innocence - like nuclear science had done in August 1945 when nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After that day, the atom bomb was no longer something that could happen: it was something that actually had happened. Likewise, a destructive malware attack on an industrial facility isn't something that could theoretically happen: it is something that has happened, and Stuxnet was the first time we learned about it.

It was thus with much eagerness that I looked forward to reading Kim Zetter's book on Stuxnet, Countdown to Zero Day, which came out last month.

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Virus Bulletin announces platinum sponsors for VB2015

More sponsorship opportunities available.

While the opening of VB2015 in Prague is still more than nine months away, we have already started with the preparations for what will be the 25th Virus Bulletin conference. And we're not the only ones looking forward to the conference: several companies have already been eager to associate themselves with and give their support to one of the longest running and most international security conferences.

We are pleased to announce that all four of the platinum sponsors of VB2014 in Seattle have also committed to platinum sponsorship of VB2015: Avast, ESET, HP and Qihoo 360. Moreover, both IKARUS and OPSWAT have signed up as silver sponsors of VB2015.

There are still many more sponsorship opportunities available, and we are open to suggestions as to what companies can do to make the most out of sponsorship of the conference. Please contact to learn more about these opportunities.

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VB2014 paper: Smart home appliance security and malware

Jeongwook Oh demonstrates how to hack a Samsung smart TV.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'Smart home appliance security and malware', by HP researcher Jeongwook Oh.

The (in)security of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a major concern among security professionals, and one is right to wonder whether it is a good idea for refrigerators, thermostats and light bulbs to be connected to the Internet.

But with TVs things are different. Services such as YouTube, Netflix and BBC iPlayer have blurred the distinction between TVs and computers, and it seems natural for many modern TVs (called smart TVs) to be connected to a LAN and thus to the Internet. However, as HP researcher Jeongwook Oh showed in his VB2014 paper, the security of these devices is not as strong as it should be.

In particular, Jeongwook looked at the security of the 55UF6350, a TV from Samsung's F-Series range that he had recently purchased. As is the case for many IoT devices, the TV runs a Linux operating system and Jeongwook had little trouble obtaining root on the TV, installing backdoors and uploading binaries, all of which could be used for further attacks.

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Virus Bulletin is hiring

VB seeks a Perl Developer / Security Engineer.

2014 has been an exciting year for Virus Bulletin: we went through some personnel changes, made all of our content freely available, and ran our best attended conference thus far.

Behind the scenes, we have also been working on some other exciting things such as a new version of our website and developing new tests to add to our suite of security product testing programmes. And you could become part of that!

We are currently looking to hire a "Perl Developer / Security Engineer" - a role which involves full responsibility for the Virus Bulletin website, and which also involves becoming part of our growing test team, running a wide range of security testing and certification programmes.

Do you want to work for a company that is right in the heart of the security industry? Do you have the required skills? Are you fully authorised to work in the UK? Then this job could be ideal for you!

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