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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Back from AVAR 2007

I just came back to the States after attending the AVAR 2007 conference in Seoul, and a detour to Singapore to visit my family & friends.

The organizers made a great decision in arranging for the papers with related subjects to be presented within the same session. The whole session on anti-malware testing kept everyone in thinking how such issues affect the industry.

The conference this year had a few papers that focused on hacking or malware on online gaming, which reflected the massive online gaming market in South Korea.

Two other local presenters, one from my company, and is a immediate team member of Jeanette, did a paper on Vista technology, while a representative from KISA showcased the botnet mitigation efforts in Korea.

Another interesting paper was on the research and defense against password stealing trojans in China. It gave a different flavor to what most of the attendees have seen outside of China.

I believe having more and more regional based presentations will make AVAR a much more unique conference as compared to the other major anti virus conferences. Having the local presenters present in a language that they're comfortable in also make good sense, as that will increase the quality of the presentation to the local attendees, but will increase some operational costs on the organizers to provide real-time translations and the equipment required for such a service.

Randy Abrams did a very interesting paper on heuristics. It was unique in the sense that he described a highly technical subject matter in a very easy to understand manner, as the WebSense folks mentioned,.. ".. moved the audience deeply."

It's quite funny to find that oftentimes, i have to go to a conference overseas to meet up with someone else in the company. I finally got a chance to meet up face-to-face with Dan, who's a great guy to be with, and Jaime, who is a fellow Singaporean that moved to Redmond, instead of just shooting each other emails.

Of course, meeting up with members from the various AV companies, and my company's other colleagues, and having a great time doing such discussions make any conference fun, and make the 20+ hour travel a lot more easier to handle.

The post-conference tour was unique in the sense that we got to visit the DMZ. The most memorable thing on that tour was something that was totally unscheduled. It was a group of guys in the thirties-to-fifties, in a volleyball-like court, playing something that's quite similar to Asia's Sepak Takraw, but with a soccer ball. The energy and excitement these folks had in their games totally impressed the tour attendees, who were mostly tired from walking down a path that probably was designed for hobbits rather than typical humans nowadays.

I thank the AhnLab folks that organized this year's conference for being able to provide such a great conference!


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