• Silent Firewalls: The Underrepresentation of Women in Cyber

    In the vast landscape of STEM, women constitute a mere 28% of the workforce. Yet, when we zoom into the realm of cybersecurity, the number dwindles even further to a startling 20 to 24 percent. What are the underlying reasons behind this disparity?

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    29m | Oct 2, 2023
  • Operation Kudo

    In 1981, during the G7 Summit in Quebec, French president Francois Mitterand handen President Raegan a top secret collection of documents, called "Farewell Dossier." The information found in the dossier allowed the US to devise a cunning plan - the very first supply chain attack, if you will - to bring a firey end to one of largest industrial espionage campaigns in history. 

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    33m | Sep 20, 2023
  • Can We Stop the AI Cyber Threat?

    Much of the cybersecurity software in use today utilizes AI, especially things like spam filters and network traffic monitors. But will all those tools be enough to stop the proliferation of malware that will come from generative AI-driven cyber attacks? The potential of AI to disrupt cyberspace is far greater than any solutions we’ve come up with thus far, which is why some researchers are looking beyond the traditional answers, towards more aggressive measures.

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    27m | Sep 4, 2023
  • Is Generative AI Dangerous?

    Every so often, the entire landscape of cybersecurity shifts, all at once: The latest seismic shift in the field occurred just last year. So in this episode of Malicious Life we’re going to take a look into the future of cybersecurity: at how generative AI like ChatGPT will change cyberspace, through the eyes of five research teams breaking ground in the field. We’ll start off simple, and gradually build to increasingly more complex, more futuristic examples of how this technology might well turn against us, forcing us to solve problems we’d never considered before.

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    37m | Aug 22, 2023
  • Why aren't there more bug bounty programs?

    On the face of it, there's an obvious economic incentive for both vendors and security researchers to collaborate on disclosing vulnerabilities safely and privately. Yet bug bounty programs have gained prominence only in the past decade or so, and even today only a relatively small portion of vendors have such programs at place. Why is that? 

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    33m | Aug 8, 2023
  • The Voynich Manuscript

    The constant battle between those who wish to encrypt data and those who wish to break these ciphers has made modern encryption schemes extremely powerful. Subsequently, the tools and methods to break them became equivalently sophisticated. Yet, could it be that someone in the 15th century created a cipher that even today’s most brilliant codebreakers and most sophisticated and advanced tools - cannot break?...

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    29m | Jul 25, 2023
  • Roman Seleznev: Did the Punishment Fit the Crime?

    In 2019, Roman Seleznev, a 34 years-old Russian national, was sentenced to 27 years in prison: A sentence that’d make any criminal quiver. Seleznev's deeds had a horrendous effect on the 2.9 million individuals whose credit cards he stole and sold to cyber criminals for identity theft and financial crimes. On one hand, it’s hard to imagine any nonviolent computer crime worth 27 years in prison. But then what is an appropriate sentence for such a man as Seleznev?

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    38m | Jul 10, 2023
  • Sony BMG's Rootkit Fiasco

    "We made a mistake and Sony paid a terrible price.” A terrible price indeed: an arrogant and ill-advised decision to include a rootkit in its music CDs cost Sony BMG a lot of money - and painted it as a self-centered, self-serving company that cares more about its bottom line than its customers. Why did Sony BMG make such a poor decision?

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    41m | Jun 27, 2023
  • Ad Fraud, Part 2

    In the last episode of our show, we heard the story of Methbot: an army of hundreds of thousands of bots, programmatically viewing thousands of advertisements on thousands of made-up websites in order to siphon away millions of dollars worth of ad revenue. But even the giant Methbot scam was just a drop in the ocean that is ad fraud. Putting Zhukov in jail made hardly any difference at all, because of how many other people just like him are still out there today.

    What makes ad fraud so successful, and so prevalent, and why can’t we stop it? The answer isn’t technical at all. It’s not hard to understand. But it’s a harsh reality that many people are simply not willing to face.

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    28m | Jun 9, 2023
  • Ad Fraud, Part 1

    Right now, a man named Aleksandr Zhukov is sitting in jail for one of the most financially ruinous schemes ever invented for the internet. Zhukov is guilty. He was caught and convicted under a mountain of evidence against him.

    Except the deeper you look into it, the deeper the well goes. In this episode, we’ll learn how Aleksandr Zhukov defrauded some of the biggest American corporations for millions of dollars. And we’ll ask the question that hardly anyone else is willing to acknowledge: Was this clever, successful, guilty cybercriminal merely a fall guy for everybody else playing his twisted game?

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    23m | May 30, 2023
  • The Economics Of Cybersecurity

    The numbers can’t be any clearer: a DDoS attack costs less than a hundred dollars, while the price tag for mitigating it might reach tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. A single well crafted phishing email can easily circumvent cyber defenses which cost millions of dollars to set up. How can we change the extreame cost asymmetry between attackers and defenders in cyberspace?

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    26m | May 15, 2023
  • The Reason You Don’t Have Data Privacy

    We’ve all experienced the creepiness of modern data trafficking, but that kind of daily annoyance is the surface of a much bigger issue: Big Tech companies such as Amazon & Microsoft are lobbying policymakers to veto laws that harm their business, and often hide their lobbying behind industry coalitions or organizations with names that are vague and seemingly harmless. Will current and future privacy laws actually protect your information, or will they protect the companies collecting your information?

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    37m | May 1, 2023
  • How Entire Countries Can Lose the Internet

    Disruptions to the world’s internet cables happen more often than you think: Whether it be ship anchors or animals or saboteurs, cut a few wires in the right places and at nearly the speed of light you can disrupt or shut off the internet for broad populations of people at a time. It is an immense power that runs through these lines -- a power that can be sabotaged or, in the right hands, weaponized.

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    32m | Apr 17, 2023
  • Olympic Destroyer

    In the midst of 35,000 exhilarated spectators eagerly chanting the time-honored countdown to kick off the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a sinister malware crept through the games' network, threatening to disrupt the highly-anticipated event. The obvious question in everyone’s minds was - who was responsible for the attack? Who was vile enough to launch such a potentially destructive attack against an event which, more than anything, symbolizes peace and global cooperation?

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    35m | Apr 3, 2023
  • The Lawerence Berkeley Hack, Part 2

    Oמ May 23rd, 1989, Karl Koch - a 23 years old West German hacker who worked for the KGB -  took a drive, from which he would never return: Nine days later his charred remains were found by the police in a remote forest. Was Koch assasinated by the US or the Sovient Union, or is there another, more 'mystical' explanation for his death?

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    35m | Mar 20, 2023
  • The Lawerence Berkeley Hack, Part 1

    Four decades ago, three quarters would’ve gone a lot further than they do today. With that kind of loose change you could’ve picked up some milk from the grocery store, or over half a gallon of gas, or a bus ticket. But that doesn’t explain why, on one fateful day in 1986, a systems administrator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California made such an issue over 75 missing cents.

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    29m | Mar 8, 2023
  • Russian Propaganda, Explained [ML B-Side]

    You may have heard of the cyber operations performed by Russia. You definitely heard about the missiles being fired by Russia at Ukraine - but how about the propaganda being distributed through the different media platforms?

    In this B-Side episode, our Senior Producer Nate Nelson interviewed Dr. Bilyana Lilly - CISSP, a leader in cybersecurity and information warfare with over fifteen years of managerial, technical, and research experience, and author of "Russian Information Warfare" - about the Russian use of instant messaging and social media platforms such as Telegram and Twitter in their war efforts. Dr. Lilly discusses who they are targeting and the real-world impact their propaganda has on various populations.

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    33m | Feb 28, 2023
  • Operation Ivy Bells

    In the early 1970's, US intelligance pointed at the possibility that the Russians have laid an underwater communication cable between two important naval bases in the Far East. The dangerous mission of installing a listening device on that cable was given to the navy most secretive and unusual submarine.

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    44m | Feb 20, 2023
  • Why Do NFTs Disappear? [ML BSide]

    What happens when an NFT marketplace goes under, and disappears? You would imagine that the users’ NFTs are perfectly safe: after all, the blockchain itself is still there, right? But that’s not how things work in the real world. 

    Jason Bailey is the co-founder and CEO of ClubNFT, a company  building the next generation of tools to discover, protect, and share NFTs. Jason is an early collector and proponent of CryptoArt, and he spoke with Nate Nelson, our Sr. producer, about the risks facing sellers and buyers who are unfamiliar with this new technology.

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    27m | Feb 13, 2023
  • The (Other) Problem with NFTs

    Physical artworks in museums are usually well-guarded - but digital artworks are something else entirely: in 2021 alone, scammers successfully stole 100 million dollars worth of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. Yet blockchain technology, where most NFTs live - is one of the most secure technologies in history. Why, then, are NFT collectors keep getting hacked? 

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    27m | Feb 6, 2023
Malicious Life