Introducing Swiss Cyber Storm 2017 Speaker Dhia Mahjoub
When we think of Bulletproof Hosting, we usually think of shady firms in the style of the Russian Business Network that dodge all inquiries and take-down notices from governments and potentially operating in corrupt legislations where such behaviour is accepted. Nowadays, this traditional centralized Bulletproof Hosting no longer works, although it did not disappear. It has in fact morphed into a more modern flexible and elusive style where hosters diversify their footprints across various spaces and jurisdictions and act as dynamic business partners for criminals that want to host illegal contents online. Copyright infringement? Not all country prosecute it. Illegal Porn? Better know the jurisdiction. Stolen data? We have servers in locations were your government won’t be able to reach them.
Dhia Mahjoub, Head of Security Research at Cisco Umbrella
As Head of Security Research at Cisco Umbrella (formerly OpenDNS), Dr. Dhia Mahjoub has excellent insight into the various moves of these shady web citizens. The key is of course making good use of the data and it takes a data scientist like Dhia to discover usage patterns in Autonomous Systems (AS) that allow to predict which IP space or domain names will be used for cybercrime before it actually happens.
Dhia Mahjoub leads the core research team focused on large scale threat detection, threat intelligence and advises on Research and Development strategy. Dhia has a background in networks and security and holds a PhD in graph algorithms applied on Wireless Sensor Networks problems.
Graphics and visualisation is in fact a key to his work. Dhia enjoys drawing in his free time and is a frequent visitor to art museums during his frequent travels. A vivid reader, he is interested in history and exploring new cities. Dhia told me that he sees his research as a fusion of science, engineering and art. It’s the combination of these disciplines that help to solve existing and novel problems in a creative and unconventional ways. This is mirrored in his research and development team at Cisco Umbrella and reminded me - once more - that IT security is opening up to new ideas, just like I explained in my last blog post about Daniela Oliveira.
Dhia Mahjoub with Thibault Reuille at Virus Bulletin 2014
When I met Dhia at Usenix Enigma in January 2017, I immediately realized he is a very skilled speaker. Looking up his bio underlined that impression and revealed dozens of presentations at the biggest security conferences all over the world: Black Hat, DefCon, RSA, ShmooCon, InfoSec Europe, BotConf, etc. But then he continued and explained to me how he thinks that there is a bullet proof hoster operating from Switzerland and I was sold: Here is a perfect Swiss Cyber Storm speaker! Even more so as Dhia shares my belief that conferences are an inspiring place to learn about the experiences of peers of various backgrounds.
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