Adrian Hada

Principal Security Researcher Ixia, a Keysight Business


Adrian Hada works as Principal Security Researcher at Ixia, a Keysight Business. Adrian holds a MSc in Information Security from Military Technical Academy in Bucharest. Adrian specializes in gathering Threat Intelligence on the latest Malware, Botnets, and exploitation practices being seen in network attacks. Adrian continuously improves the ATI Research Centers ability to detonate and analyze malware, providing Ixia’s customers with actionable intelligence and protection from the newest evolved threats.

Emulating Packed Linux Malware Using the Unicorn Emulator Framework

Binary packing has been around for a good number of years now. Uses include both benign – such as software and intellectual property protection – as well as malicious – malware authors use packing to avoid detection by common security products. The latter is of utmost interest in the security world.

Although most packed executables reside in the world of Windows malware, the past couple of years have shown more and more Linux threats adopting packing for the same purpose.

While common off-the-shelf packers, such as UPX, allow simple decompression of the packed binary, some malware authors rely on minor modifications or custom code to break the decompression process. Analyzing these samples is, generally, a complicated act of manual labor that requires a skilled analyst to break through the layers of obfuscation or relying on the automated yet resource-intensive sandbox. Analyzing malware samples at scale can’t rely on either of these approaches easily or cheaply.

In this presentation I’ll explain a work-in-progress project of emulating packed Linux binaries up to the point that we’re able to dump the underlying executable. This is achieved using the Unicorn Emulator, a framework that is based on QEMU but is much more customizable and easier to use. Although Unicorn is able to execute sequences of CPU instructions extremely well, the project doesn’t aim to perform full-binary execution leaving steps such as loading the binary, handling system calls, library functions and others to the person using the engine. I will explain the challenges of such an undertaking and offer a couple of examples of how this approach can actually work, as well as what its limitations are.

Are you the next cyber security superstar?

If you are passionate about an information security topic or you have strong technical skills developing researches on your own, you should definitely Apply at Call for Papers. By submitting you will have the chance to showcase your work to +2000 attendees.

Other speakers joining this year

Mihail-Iulian Pleșa

Engineer Military Technical Academy

Luca Pellegrino

Penetration Tester Dionach

Maksim Iavich

Professor, Head of cyber security direction at Caucasus University, President Scientific Cyber Security Association (SCSA)


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Orange Romania is the leader of the local telecom market and part of the Orange Group, one of the largest global telecommunications operators, connecting hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. With over 11 million customers and an annual turnover exceeding 1.5 billion euros, Orange Romania connects 1 in 2 Romanians and offers an extensive range of communication solutions to its customers, both individual users and companies, from basic services up to complete voice services, fixed and mobile data, TV services or smart home services, but also mobile financial services. Orange is also a leader in innovation investing yearly over 200 million euros in network infrastructure and R&D initiatives in Romania. In the past 3 years Orange has launched two 5G Labs in Bucharest and Iasi, that aim to support researchers, startups and companies to test their 5G solutions in advance. In addition, Orange is a long-term supporter of the startup ecosystem through the Orange Fab accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurs in the development of innovative products and their distribution locally and internationally. 

Orange Services was created in 2013 and is a 100% owned subsidiary of Orange Group. As a technology services company, our DNA is in IT, but our teams also work in other domains including mobile networks and a number of commercial and business functions. Orange Services is one of the largest technology hubs in the Orange Group, working internationally for both Orange corporate functions and country operations. Through a unique combination of cutting edge know-how and expertise, our teams provide a broad range of services: development and supervision of IT services in domains such as Big Data, Cloud, M2M, IoT, TV, Connected Objects; design and development of IT infrastructure and desktop solutions; testing & planning for mobile networks; implementation of supply chain solutions and also improvement of commercial & business performance including BI, CRM, Analytics, Digital learning and Customer Care. Visit us on LinkedIn.

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