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Malicious Life

Malicious Life

Malicious Life by Cybereason tells the unknown stories of the history of cybersecurity, with comments and reflections by real hackers, security experts, journalists, and politicians.


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Marcus Hutchins: A Controversial Hero

In May 2017, Marcus Hutchins - AKA MalwareTech - became a hero for stopping WannaCry, a particularly nasty ransomware that spread quickly all over the world. Yet his fame also brought to light his troubled past as the teenage Black Hat hacker who created KRONOS, a dangerous rootkit. Should a criminal-turned-hero be punished for his past crimes??
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Operation GhostShell [ML B-Side]

In July, 2021, Nocturnus - Cybereason?s Threat Research and Intelligence team - was called to investigate an espionage campaign targeting Aerospace and Telecommunications companies, mainly in the Middle East. Their investigation resulted in the discovery of a new threat actor that has been operating since at least 2018, and new and sophisticated malware that abuses Dropbox. Nate Nelson, Our Sr. producer, spoke with Assaf Dahan - senior Director and Head of Threat Research at Nocturnus - about the investigation. Find the full report about "Operation GhostShell" at:
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Smart TVs: A New Battlefield

Smart Homes are slowly but surely becoming a part of our everyday lives, and so far it seems that Smart TVs - equipped with microphones, cameras, and an internet connection - are the weakest link. What are the current and potential threats against smart TVs - and is a person's smart home, still his castle?...
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The MITRE ATT&CK Framework [ML B-Side]

In some ways, cyber security is like Art - and that?s not a good thing? MITRE?s ATT&CK framework tries to make sense of the collective knowledge of the security community, and share that knowledge so that cyber defence become less an art form, and more about using the correct tools and technique. Nate Nelson, our Sr. producer, talks with Israel Barak - Cybereaon?s CISO and a regular guest of our podcast - about MITRE ATT&CK, and how it can help your organization stay safe.
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Should The U.S. Ban Chinese and Russian Technology?

Every year, seemingly, there?s a new story of some software - like 'Tik Tok' or 'FaceApp' - from a hostile country that may or may not be a security threat to us in the west. So what should be done in cases like this? What if the U.S. just banned all technology from Russia and China? Is it a good idea? Is it even possible?
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Jack Rhysider, Darknet Diaries [ML B-Side]

Darknet Diaries, Jack Rhysider's show, is the most popular cyber security podcast - and one of the most successful tech podcasts in the US in general. Eliad Kimhy spoke with Jack about the origins of Darknet Diaries, his heroes and role models, and the effect the show?s success has had on his personal life - which, you might be surprised to discover, wasn?t always 100% positive.
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The Tesla Hack

It's every company's nightmare: a mysterious stranger approached an employee of Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada, and offered him 1 million dollars to do a very simple job - insert a malware-laden USB flash drive into a computer in the company, and keep it running for 8 hours.
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Understanding China [ML B-Side]

Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Bill Hagestad talks to Nate Nelson about how China's culture and troubled history of western colonialization influence its goverment views and actions regarding the global internet, and its interactions with western technology companies such as Google and Nortel.
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John McAfee

What do you get when you take a hypersexual, drug enthusiast gun-toting paranoid - and add some serious amounts of money to the mix? You get a life so bizarre, so unbelievably extreme, that people will tell its story even after you?re long gone. Murder, rape, drugs, lies and a possible Dead Man's Switch... it's all part of John McAfee's story.
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RSA Breach FollowUp: Are We Doing Security Right? [ML B-Side]

Nate Nelson talks to Art Coviello, Former CEO of RSA Security, and Malcolm Harkins, Vice President & Chief Security Officer at Intel, about the current cyber security landscape - 10 years after the RSA Breach.
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DeadRinger [ML B-Side]

Nate Nelson talks to Assaf Dahan, Sr. Director and Head of Threat Research at Cybereason?s Nocturnus team about a recent attack they uncovered, on multiple major Telecommunication companies.
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The Jester

The Jester is a patriotic, pro-American Hacktivist that since 2010 has waged a personal cyberwar against an array of targets he considers to be ?the bad guys.? But detractors have insinuated that some of the Jester's operations were little more than internet sleight-of-hand. So, who is The Jester and what can we make of his reported exploits?
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The State of Credit Card Security [ML B-Side]

In 2005, when Albert Gonzalez was hacking his way into the networks of many retail chains in the US, credit cards were still very insecure: magnetic stripes and signed receipts did little to stop smart hackers such as Gonzalez and his crew. Sherri Davidoff talks to Nate Nelson about the past and present state of credit card security.
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Albert Gonzalez, Part 3

In early 2007, a Secret Service agent operating out of San Diego takes a flight halfway across the world. He?s going to meet with Europe?s most prolific stolen card salesman. It is this meeting that will be the beginning of the end for Albert Gonzalez and his 'All Star' crew of hackers, international businessmen and mules.
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DerbyCon – Dave Kennedy [ML B-Side]

DerbyCon was all about making the community - a family. Dave Kennedy, one of the founders of DerbyCon, talks about the unique vibe of the conference, his fear of clowns, and why he'll never - NEVER - listen to a Busta Rhymes album again.
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Albert Gonzalez, Part 2

Working with the Secret Service, Albert Gonzalez was outstanding. He was such a good employee, in fact, that they had him do seminars, and speak at government conferences. At one point he met personally with the then Director of the Secret Service. Albert gave a presentation, and got to shake the man?s hand. It?s a remarkable redemption story, you?d have to say. There was just one caveat. You see, Albert Gonzalez went from stealing millions of credit cards to quarterbacking the largest cyber crime bust in U.S history. And then? He went back to the Dark Side.
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Jeff Moss: DEF CON [ML B-Side]

Jeff Moss, founder of the DEF CON Hacker convention (and also the BlackHat convention), talks to Eliad about the origins of DEF CON, its "interesting" relationship with law enforcement agencies, and some of the notable shenanigans the conference attendees pulled off over the years...
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Albert Gonzalez, Part 1

It was as a teenager that Albert Gonzalez--one of the few greatest cybercriminals in history--developed the obsession that would go on to ruin his life. Gonzalez and some of his friends would go on to pull off some of the most remarkable crimes in the history of computers - but they just didn?t know when to stop. If they did, they might have gotten away with it. They might not have ruined their lives.
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The History of THOTCON Hacking Conference [Malicious B-Side]

THOTCON is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill security conference - and it's even obvious from the moment you browse their website. How did a local, small-scale event in Chicago, grow to become a major cybersecurity conference, and what is its connection to The Matrix movie? Producer Eliad Kimhy talks to Nick Percoco and Jonathan Tomek, two of THOTCON's founders.
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China’s Unrestricted Warfare, Part 3

For more than a decade, China orchestrated a sophisticated espionage campaign against Nortel Networks, using Huawei, Chinese civilians working in Canada, and even organized crime gangs to steal important technical and operational information. When Nortel finally fell, the Chinese were there to reap the rewards of their death.
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Colonial Pipeline & DarkSide: Assaf Dahan [B-Side]

On Friday, May 7th, 2021, Colonial Pipeline suffered a cyberattack that forced the company to shut down its operations. As a result, gasoline outages were reported in many East Coast states. The entity behind the attack is a criminal group known as DarkSide. Nate Nelson, our Sr. producer, spoke with Assaf Dahan - Head of Threat Research at Cybereason - about the Colonial Pipeline attack: how & why it happened, and its implications - both for the security of critical infrastructure in the US, and for the criminal underworld of Ransomware groups. That last one is particularly interesting, since it seems that the Colonial Pipeline attack has set off a somewhat unexpected trend on the dark web.
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RSA Breach, Part 2

In the wake of RSA's disclosure of the breach, the company cyber analysts chose not to boot the attackers of their network - but followed their activities closely, trying to figure out their identities and motives. For the first time since the actual breach, a decade ago, we'll get the (surprising) answers to those questions - and more.
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RSA Breach: The Untold Story, Part 1

In the early 2000s, Nortel was consciously, intentionally, aggressively positioning itself as a partner and a friend of China. At the same time, it was China's number one target for corporate espionage - and an early victim of its new 'Unrestricted Warfare' doctrine.
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China’s Unrestricted Warfare, Part 2

In the early 2000s, Nortel was consciously, intentionally, aggressively positioning itself as a partner and a friend of China. At the same time, it was China's number one target for corporate espionage - and an early victim of its new 'Unrestricted Warfare' doctrine.
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The History of Security BSides Conferences with Jack Daniel [ML B-Side]

Security BSides - or just 'BSides', for short' - is the first grassroots, DIY, open security conference in the world - with more than 650 events in more than 50 countries. Jack Daniel, one of BSides' founders, recalls how the conference started, and what do such 'community-oriented' events contribute that other events often cannot.
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China’s Unrestricted Warfare, Part 1

Back in the 1990s, Cyberwarfare was a word rarely used in the West - and definitely unheard of in China, which was just taking it's first steps in the Internet. Two Chinese military officers, veterans of the semi-conflict with Taiwan, helped shape the role of cyber in modern warfare in China and beyond.
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Can Nuclear Power Plants Be Hacked?

Andrew Ginter, VP of Industrial Security at Waterfall Security Solutions, speaks to Sr. Producer Nate Nelson about the cybersecurity of Nuclear facilities. How protected are modern nuclear power plants?
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Shutting Down The Internet in 30 Minutes: Chris Wysopal [ML B-Side]

Chris Wysopal, a cyber security pionneer and one of L0pht's founding members, talks about the group's 1998 testimony in the Senate, how they used shaming to force cooporations to fix their software, and the (not so fortunate) consequenses of the sale to @stake.
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‘L0pht’, Part 2 – The End

In the early days, the L0pht guys tinkered with what they already had laying around, or could find dumpster diving. But things change, of course. By the end of the ?90s many of the L0pht hackers had quit their day jobs, incorporating under the name ?L0pht Heavy Industries?, and moving into a nicer space, the ?new L0pht.? Seven days after Y2K, they merged with @stake, an internet security startup. It was a signal that hacking wasn?t just for the kids anymore.
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The Story of ‘L0pht’, Part 1

'L0pht', or 'L0pht Heavy Indutries', was one of the most infuencial hacker collectives of the 90's: it's members were even invited to testify infront of the Congress on the current state of Internet security. In this episode, four L0pht's founding members - Count Zero, Weld Pond, Kingpin & Dildog - talk about the begining and influence of the L0pht on cyber security.
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The MS Exchange Hack [ML B-Side]

Israel Barack, Cybereason's CISO and an expert on cyber-warfare, on the recent MS Exchange hack that hit thousands of organizations worldwide: what happened, what were the vulenrabilites expolited in the attack - and what can we do to defend against such attacks in the future.
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NotPetya, Part 2

When the NotPetya pandemic hit, Cyber Analyst Amit Serper was sitting in his parents' living room, getting ready to go out with a few friends. He didn't have most of his tools with him, but he nonetheless took a swipe at the malware. An hour later, he held the precious vaccine.
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NotPetya, Part 1

On June 28th, 2017, millions of Ukranians were celebrating 'Constitution Day.' Their national holiday turned into a nightmare, as tens of thousands of computers all over the country were infected by a mysterious malware. By that afternoon, the cyber-pandemic was already going global.
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Facial Recognition in Law Enforcement, Pt. 2

It seems likely that legislation alone won't be able to regulate the widespread use of facial recognition. Andrew Maximov, who uses AI to fight Belarus's dictatorship, shows us another way facical recognition can be used - this time for us, instead of against us.
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Should Law Enforcement Use Facial Recognition? Pt. 1

There are plenty of reasons why Police should use AI for facial recognition: after all, Humans are notoriously bad eye witnesses. However, placing AI in the hands of law enforcement does have its dangers - due to the limitations of the technology itself, and the biases of the officers who use it.
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Clearview AI

Clearview AI scrapes billions of images off social media and the open web, applies facial recognition algorithms on them - and sells that data to law enforcement agencies all over the world. But who are the people behind this secretive company, and what did a breach into its databases reveal?
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Breaking Into Secure Buildings

FC, aka 'Freaky Clown', is an expert in "Physical assessments" - otherwise known as breaking into ultra-secure office buildings. FC shares some of his (incredible) adventures, as well as some tips and tricks on how to protect your organization's HQ from hackers such as himself.
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Special: The SolarWinds Hack

Ran talks to Israel Barak, Cybereason's CISO and a Cyber-defense and Warfare expert, about the recent SolarWinds hack that impacted upto 18,000(!) enterprise organizations in the US. What is a Supply Chain Attack, how can organizations defend against it - and what does all this have to do with Evolution and Natural Selection?...
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100th Episode Special

For our 100th episode, we bring you three stories that tie in to previous episodes of the show: Shadow Inc. (Election Hacking), J&K (Max Headroom) and T-Shirt-Gate (Yahoo's Ugly Death). Enjoy :-)
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Jan Sloot’s Incredible Data Compression System

In the mid-90's, a Dutch TV repairman claimed he invented a revolutionary data compression technology that could compress a full-length movie into just 8KB.
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Op. GUNMAN & The World’s First Keylogger

In 1983, the US got word that an ally's embassy - probably France's - was bugged by the Soviets. This reports triggered Operation GUNMAN: a complete removal & de-bugging of *all* electronic devices in the US embassy in the USSR. This secretive operation resulted in a surprising discovery - and made the NSA what it is today.
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Election Hacking, Part 2

Georgia's elections infrastructure had been hacked multiple times since 2014 - both by Russian Intelligence and local White Hat hackers. The upcoming elections are plagued with uncertainty - and uncertainty and democracy go together like wet hands and electrical outlets.
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Election Hacking, Part 1

Today we?re talking about just one state. One which, depending on which way it leans, might bring the entire electoral college with it. One which, as of this writing, is absolutely, positively, neck and neck. Dead heat. A few votes one way or the other could swing it. In other words: this is the kind of state that cannot afford to be hacked. But might be.
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MDR Vs. The TrickBot Gang

About a year ago, Cybereason's Managed Detection and Response team (aka MDR) stumbled upon a attack involving Russian cybercriminals, POS devices and an entire new family of previously undiscovered malware.
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Yahoo’s Ugly Death, Part 2

Between 2010 and 2014, Yahoo was hacked numerous times - each time setting a new 'world record' for the largest data breach in history. It also hid those breaches from it's investors, customers and the SEC.
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Yahoo’s Ugly Death, Part 1

When Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo as CEO, the company's stock rose 2% the day of the announcement. But the new CEO was basically initiated into her job by a major data breath - and the worst was yet to come.
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The Great Firewall of China, Pt. 2: Cisco’s Trial

Falun Gong is a religious movement heavily persecuted in China. In 2017, members of the movement sued Cisco Systems for aiding and abetting the Chinese government in this persecution - since Cisco helped China erect 'Golden Shield'": the massive Chinese IT infrastructure project which combined internet censorship and pervasive Chinese state cyberspying.
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The Great Firewall of China – Part 1

The Great Firewall is just mind-bogglingly big, repressing freedom of speech and information for over 800 million Chinese internet users every year. The Great Firewall is so big that it?s worth asking: how did the Chinese manage to build it in the first place? 20 years ago, our info-sec technology was much less advanced than it is today. China was a second-rate technology power, not even comparable to their position today. Most of all: a firewall, like the one they proposed, had never existed before--or, for that matter, since. How, then, did they pull it off?
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Multi-Stage Ransomware (Live!)

Ran & Israel Barak, Cybereason's CISO, discuss the latest development in ransomware evolution: multi-stage attacks in which the attackers infiltrate the target network, steal data and gather intelligence - before detonating the ransomware to cause maximal denial-of-service to the victim organization. What does this new tactic mean for the use of backups as a mean to mitigate the risk from ransomware? This episode was recorded live on July 29th, 2020.
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Protecting The “Panama Papers” Whistleblower

In 2015 Bastian Obermayer, an investigative journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, received a message every journalist dreams of: the biggest leak in journalism history. But dealing with the massive 2.7 Terabyte data-dump, 11.5 million documents - while making sure his source's identity could not be uncovered, turned out to be a huge challenge.
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