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Notes from the AVAR Conference

Allan Dyer

The seventh Anti-Virus Asia Researchers International Conference was held this year on the 25th and 26th November in Tokyo Bay, Japan. The conference theme was "Eutaxy or Chaos, Network Security Present and Future". Sessions included detailed discussion of the computer security situation in Japan, featuring speakers from the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the National Police Agency. Another session had Government representatives from Japan, Korea and China on-stage together discussing computer security in their countries.

More technical sessions included the cell phone environment in Japan, and how to script anti-virus definition updates for multiple products. I was honoured to chair a panel session on Microsoft's progress in security, with Mr. Takahiko Higashi, Microsoft's Chief Security Advisor on one side and five top anti-virus researchers on the other.

Another topic was how malware writers are changing, and how the good guys are catching them. I think a common thread through a lot of the talks and discussions was cooperation and coordination. The bad guys are already working together: virus writers are creating viruses that drop backdoors to make zombie networks; spammers are purchasing zombie networks to act as spam relays; phishers are using spam to attract victims to their fake sites and so on. Although they have disparate aims and methodologies, they are united in their greed and criminal intent. We need to improve how we work together, between ordinary users, companies and Government, to bring together the education, technology and laws to build an effective defence in depth.

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