This episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast features Jon DiMaggio, a Senior Threat Intelligence Analyst at Symantec. Jon is a researcher and longtime bad guy chaser, and Ron and Chris fill this installment of Hacker Valley Blue with Jon’s thoughts on ransomware, threat research, attribution, and more!
Jon introduces himself to listeners who may not yet know much about him, explaining that he started his career as an engineer and that his work for the government in the early 2000s forced him to focus a lot on defending against nation-state attacks. He developed into an expert in the field, and transitioned about 13-14 years ago into his current line of work. He now teaches alongside his work as an analyst, and he moved from a government position to Symantec in 2014. Jon’s specialty is still nation-state, but he has also ventured into enterprise ransomware. He shares about these areas of specialization with Ron and Chris, detailing what a nation-state is and how to combat it within the context of threat intelligence, and addressing the economics of ransomware.
As the conversation continues, Ron and Chris raise a variety of other topics for Jon to address. Jon considers the threat of a future major worm attack, and provides listeners with insight on how to become established in his line of work. There are a lot of available resources that people can use to develop their own skills and increase their visibility. However, becoming a government hacker, and so having an offensive rather than a defensive role, is much more challenging. Moving toward the conclusion of the conversation, Jon offers tips on navigating attribution and bias (such as being sure to have evidence before making public claims!), explains how he mentally organizes and recalls information, and speaks to the nature of strong communication.
1:41 - Listeners are introduced to Jon DiMaggio and the episode before Jon explains his background..
5:04 - The first major topic Jon shares about is that of nation-states, specifically speaking to the work of combating nation-state attackers.
12:57 - The conversation turns to the economics of ransomware.
18:39 - What are Jon’s thoughts on the possibility of another major worm attack?
20:26 - Jon is asked about how people can enter his field or that of hacking.
24:54 - How should listeners approach attribution and bias, and how has Jon navigated bias in his own life?
31:31 - The group considers Jon’s mental organization, his recall of information, and the topic of communication.