Senior Principal Researcher, Symantec Advanced Threat Research Group
Ramzan, 31, a cryptographer with a PhD from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science, has been in on nearly all the key developments in Web security in the past decade. But as he says, understanding the technology behind cybercrimes isn't all it takes to stay ahead of the bad guys.
"The goal is to figure out the crime before the criminals. But that's not really a matter of technology. Web security from a cryptographic perspective is largely solved, so what's crucial now is deciphering the human component. A simple shift can transform a basic attack into a devastating one.
That's the sort of thing we have to predict. Where are people going online? What are they doing? What vulnerabilities do effective attacks exploit? I stare at the overall Web-security picture for a long time and from a lot of angles, and eventually, it comes to me as a eureka moment. Often, the solutions are as simple as the evolution of the crime; in the case of drive-by pharming, protecting your network is as easy as changing your router's password."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.