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Infected with malware fever

Adam Pilkey

26.11.18 3 min. read

To commemorate F-Secure’s 30th year of innovation, we’re profiling 30 of our fellows from our more than 25 offices around the globe.

Many people get into cyber security out of a general love of technology. Or video games. But F-Secure’s Victor Juarez Sixto’s interest in security began with a malware infection.

“It all started when a worm infected the computers we used for practice during my studies,” explains Victor.

The worm spent weeks infecting his classmates over and over again. So he did what any cyber security enthusiast in waiting would do.

“I decided to take the malware home.  I infected myself on purpose to see if I could understand how it worked. Then I coded a simple vaccine, let the teacher review it, and distributed it to the other students.”

Fast forward to today. Victor’s now a Technical Team Lead for F-Secure’s anti-malware unit. It’s the perfect job for him because it combines two things he learned after helping protect his classmates from the worm: helping others and seeing how malware works.

While Victor says that no two days are the same, malware eats up most of his time. Some people might find that boring. But Victor says those people don’t know what really happens when there’s a malware outbreak.

“A lot has been written about WannaCry and NotPetya, but people don’t write about what happens behind the scenes. There’s a lot of work involved with coordinating research,  analysis, sample hunting, detection capabilities testing, and customer communications. It ensures that customers are not only well protected, but also well informed when it comes to understanding how the threat operates and how to defend against it,” explains Victor.

Victor’s job keeps him interested because it’s constantly changing, growing, and throwing new problems and challenges his way. He spends hours reading, researching, learning, and doing what it takes to get to the bottom of security issues facing F-Secure’s customers.

It’s a process that Victor enjoys because it absorbs him into the problem. Victor doesn’t really worry about work because he thinks this is something about working in security that will never change.

“Social engineering and extortion schemes are getting more realistic every day, and they will continue to perfect themselves,” he says. “We often think of authentication as an access control barrier, but attackers can abuse the same principals to gain trust and increase their chances of success. They can provide you with something you know (such as one of your leaked passwords), through something that you have (email, SMS) and portray they have something that you are (like a pervert, based on your browsing habits). This way the attacker ‘authenticates’ against you, a human with emotions, rather than attacking a software or hardware mechanisms.”

“Always stay curious, and never stop learning new things!” advises Victor.

Check out our open positions if you want to join Victor and the hundreds of other great fellows fighting to keep internet users safe from online threats.

Adam Pilkey

26.11.18 3 min. read

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