Computing That Serves

Career Seminar: Internet Malware Vectors


Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 11:00am


Chris Larsen
Senior Malware Researcher
Blue Coat Systems

How the Bad Guys try to get malware onto your computer when you browse the web, and how the Good Guys try to thwart their evil plans.

More formally: A look at the major malware vectors on the internet today: a combination of social engineering tactics used to trick you into downloading malware, and some nasty technical know-how making it hard to detect. What steps can you take to protect your computer and your data?


Chris got his CS degree at BYU back in the VAX era (the IBM PC was just beginning to be used in the Freshmen classes his Senior year, but Real Men wrote all their code on a VT100 -- or via a 300 baud modem). While at BYU, he discovered a love of Linguistics, and co-founded LinguaTech International with Dr. Alan K. Melby of the Linguistics department (thereby becoming perhaps the only CS grad of that era who has never worked for Novell or Word Perfect). After a 15-year run as VP of Technology at LinguaTech, during which he returned to BYU to earn a Masters degree in Linguistics, he spent a few years doing corporate Web development. Five years ago, he discovered Blue Coat Systems, which let him resume Natural Language Processing as the lead engineer and linguist on Blue Coat's DRTR (Dynamic Real-time Rater) software. DRTR currently recognizes 50+ languages, and can categorize content in 17 languages (18 if you count "Pornovian" -- an artificial language Chris developed to help filter pornography). In recent years, as web-based malware has become the leading concern for web filtering companies, Chris has transitioned to become one of Blue Coat's senior malware researchers, specializing in "malware vectors" on the Internet. He still finds time to work on the Asian language modules in DRTR.