Don’t Let The Hunter Become The Hunted

Zuly Gonzalez's work on protecting online research networks was featured at Techno Security Myrtle Beach 2018.

Zuly Gonzalez: Alright, so we’re going to go ahead and get started. Sorry about that – there were a couple of technical issues there, getting started. But good morning everybody, thank you for joining my talk. My name is Zuly Gonzalez and I’m going to talk to you today about malware and how that can impact your online investigations and research activities, and how you can protect yourself while you’re on the web.

So, we’ll just dip right into it. I was told to remind you guys in the beginning, if you’re using the mobile app, to use the feedback mechanism built into the app.

Just before we dive in, to give you a little background on myself: I am the cofounder and CEO of Light Point Security, and Light Point Security – we pioneered the concept of remote browser isolation, which is really a way to provide malware-free and anonymous web browsing. Prior to Light Point Security, I spent over a decade at the NSA.

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Despite timestamps being ubiquitous, the understanding of their exact meaning is mostly overlooked in favor of fully-automated, correlation-based approaches. Existing work for practitioners aims at understanding Windows and is not directly applicable to Unix-like systems.

In this paper, we review how each layer of the software stack (kernel, file system, libraries, application) influences MACB timestamps on Unix systems such as Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and macOS.

We examine how POSIX specifies the timestamp behavior and propose a framework for automatically profiling OS kernels, user mode libraries and applications, including compliance checks against POSIX.

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Based on 187 compliance tests and automated profiling covering common file operations, we found multiple unexpected and non-compliant behaviors, both on common operations and in edge cases.

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