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Best Graduate 2019 - 7th Nov, 2019

Meet Azqa Nadeem, #BestGraduateTUDelft from the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science!
In her thesis, Azqa explores the possibility to use malware’s “sequence of actions” to build a simplified analysis pipeline, and use that to identify malware’s attacking behaviours. She also introduced a visualisation technique to assist investigators in better understanding malware. The method she proposed uncovers interesting behaviours like multiple malware families being controlled by the same attacker, and device scanning behaviour before an attack happens.

Azqa Nadeem was first introduced to the world of cybersecurity during a Bachelor’s internship. It was a subject where she could combine her experience in computer technologies with her interest in finding what makes devious people tick. She realized that antiviruses were not as good at protecting computers from cybercriminals as she had thought. She also found that the lack of transparency in detection methods makes it more difficult to build systems that consistently improve security. The choice of her thesis topic was rooted in the idea that better security can be achieved by making it easier for the defenders to understand attacks. 

Working on her MSc thesis made her realize how fundamentally difficult it is to understand a piece of malicious software, and that a mere nine month project would only just scratch the surface. She now works as a PhD researcher and junior lecturer at the Cyber Security Group. In both her MSc and PhD projects, she aims to uncover hidden relationships between different pieces of malicious software, and then use these relationships to predict the future of malware and understand how to detect it before it even exists.