Dmitry Marinov: ANY.RUN’s CTO on TI Lookup, Security Best Practices, how AI impacts Security Industry

Our CTO, Dmitry Marinov, was recently interviewed by the prestigious CIO World magazine. Today, we’d like to congratulate Dmitry and share some interesting highlights from his interview. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what motivated you to get into this field? 

Absolutely! I’m Dmitry Marinov, and I currently serve as the CTO of ANY.RUN. My journey in cybersecurity began eight years ago when I joined a small startup as a front-end developer. That startup eventually evolved into ANY.RUN, the pioneering sandboxing service that introduced interactive malware analysis. I progressed from front-end lead to back-end engineer, then took on the role of Head of Development, and now I’m the CTO. 

I’ve always had a deep-rooted passion for making the digital world a safer place. As CTO, my primary focus is ensuring that every step we take as a company empowers our clients with the tools they need to effectively combat cyber threats. I take immense pride in the work we’re doing. 

Can you give us a brief overview of your company and how it got started? 

From the very beginning, our goal was to revolutionize how we in the industry analyze malware. Recognizing the limitations of slow, automated analysis we decided to create an interactive sandbox that could replicate a real malware analysis lab and allow users to work with samples through an intuitive platform, with near-instant insights into threats. That’s ANY.RUN in a nutshell, and we’re continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of malware analysis.

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What strategies do you use to drive innovation within ANY.RUN and how do you align projects with the company’s goals? 

I really try to foster a culture of creativity and align our tech initiatives with our overall business objectives. We use agile methods to develop rapidly and always put the customer first when creating solutions. 

Emerging technologies are also key to our product strategy. We dedicate a significant portion of our budget to R&D, not just for new products but also for exploring long-term, forward-thinking projects. 

You must have overseen some successful technology implementations. Can you walk us through one that really made an impact on ANY.RUN? 

Oh, definitely! One that stands out is when we developed our Threat Intelligence Lookup platform. We have a diverse user base — cybersecurity experts, researchers, all sorts of professionals— and they were all struggling with the same thing: quickly identifying and understanding cyber threats. They needed instant access to data on IOCs and all associated details like registry and file activities. 

So, we put our heads together and came up with TI Lookup. It’s a service where users search for threats and contextual information related to existing IOCs by plugging in various identifiers — domain names, IP addresses, file hashes, command lines, and many others. 

The cool thing is that you can combine search parameters to get very precise results. As soon as you hit submit, we pull data from millions of interactive malware analysis sessions from the ANY.RUN sandbox and get you all the relevant threat information: related sandbox interactive session records, hashes, network activity logs, file samples — basically everything you need to get a holistic picture and go from “I wonder what that weird connection in the logs is” to “Now I know exactly what threat I’m dealing with and what else it’s doing on my system or network”. 

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How do you make sure the organization’s technology infrastructure is secure and maintains its integrity? 

I think security relates to both people and technology. That’s why we hold regular staff training to keep everyone up to speed on the latest threats and best practices. As for the tech side, we deploy a multi-layered defense-in-depth strategy. It comprises access control, intrusion detection, endpoint protection, and secure web gateways. All sensitive data is secured with encryption. 

What steps do you take to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in technology? 

I’m always eager to listen to what everyone around me has to say — employees, peers at conferences, friends in IT, even insights from blogs. That being said, I’m cautious about jumping on the bandwagon with brand new solutions — their novelty often comes with a side of instability. 

That’ said, I can’t ignore the rapid expansion of AI in virtually every field, and cybersecurity is no exception. At ANY.RUN, I’ve made it a policy for every engineer to take a basic AI course. Having that essential understanding really helps us anticipate how AI might shape future projects. 

Lastly, I’m a firm believer in the power of a strong computer science foundation. When our team has that solid groundwork, they can readily adapt to new technologies and be proactive in our solutions. This approach ensures we’re not just keeping pace but actually contributing to the evolution of the industry. 

How do you promote collaboration between the technology team and other teams in ANY.RUN? 

Collaboration between the tech team and other departments is absolutely essential at ANY.RUN. We promote open communication across the board and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. We have regular cross-departmental meetings and joint planning sessions. 

We also create opportunities for mutual learning, where team members can share their insights and expertise. This really fosters understanding and respect for each other’s roles. And we don’t forget to celebrate our successes together — it’s a great way to build unity and a shared sense of purpose. 

Can you talk about any challenges you’ve faced as a CTO and how you’ve overcome them? 

Building the Threat Intelligence Lookup was a challenge. We were venturing into uncharted territory, and we knew we had to create a unique value proposition. We didn’t want to just copy what others were doing. 

So, I took a good hard look at what our competitors weren’t offering and led the team to develop a one-of-a-kind solution. We focused on in-depth search capabilities and presented new ways to hunt malware. And we’re not stopping there, as this year we will expand the service’s capabilities even further. 

Can you share some insights on how you foster a culture of continuous learning and professional development within your tech team? 

I encourage my team members to pursue projects they’re passionate about, making learning a fulfilling and integral aspect of their job. In this rapidly evolving field, it’s crucial to stay up to date, so I always emphasize the importance of continuous self-improvement and staying ahead of the curve.  

With emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and IoT gaining prominence, how do you think they’ll impact your industry in the coming years? 

AI can change the landscape of cybersecurity, and that goes for offense and defense. In ANY.RUN, we take advantage of its learning capabilities and use AI to analyze massive amounts of data and identify anomalies that could signal potential cyber threats. It’s more effective than the old-fashioned, purely algorithmic approach. 

We also have a feature that allows you to ask an AI chatbot to describe the task as a whole or specific parts that you’re interested in, and this allows you to get a kind of overview of potentially malicious activity explained in plain English – another way that ANY.RUN makes malware analysis more approachable. We’ll continue to work on and invest in AI-driven solutions, so we’re excited to see what the future will bring. 

That said, it’s a double-edged sword; as much as AI advances our defenses, it also gives cybercriminals new offensive tools, so it’s up to us to innovate and outmaneuver them. 

The post Dmitry Marinov: ANY.RUN’s CTO <br>on TI Lookup, Security Best Practices, <br>how AI impacts Security Industry appeared first on ANY.RUN's Cybersecurity Blog.

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