Fifteen engineers from seven different countries traveled to St. Pölten to take part in the Blackhoodie Workshop, a reverse engineering workshop for women. The fifteen ladies had prepared for the workshop about a month in advance by accomplishing four online assignments, then came to the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten to attend the two day course.
The workshop, organized Marion Marschalek who studied at the Department of Computer Science and Security at the St. Pölten UAS, was intended to help young engineers overcoming barriers which many newcomers face when starting on this challenging field of engineering. Turning binaries inside out is frequently seen as complex science, while learning material is sparse and difficult to find. The main motivation for a workshop for women is the disturbingly low number of female engineers in the field. Countering this situation will help the tech industry by raising diversity and the overall number of engineers, as well as by helping confidence and success of the female engineers themselves.
Goal of the workshop preparations was to explore the theoretical background of Windows binaries and how they are treated by the Windows operating system, as well as the setup of an analysis environment and getting familiar with the handling of common binary analysis tools. During the on-site classes the ladies were taught how to perform static and dynamic analysis of binaries and together with their instructor analyzed the runtime packer of a recent piece of malware. The attendees left the campus of the UAS St. Pölten with fresh skills and many happy faces, awaiting another set of instructions on how to go on from here.
Marion Marschalek is a Senior Malware Researcher on duty for Cyphort, Inc., focusing on the analysis of emerging threats and exploring novel methods of threat detection. She teaches malware analysis at University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten and frequently appears as speaker at international conferences. She recently held a talk at the famous Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas. Two years ago Marion won Halvar Flake's reverse engineering challenge for females, since then she set out to threaten cyber criminals.