Malware software developers are IT experts who reverse engineer security solutions based on active malware threats. Also known as anti-malware software developer, these professionals keep users, companies and the government safe from malicious software.
Malware software developers analyze, reverse engineer and document malware source code in order to identify structures, functions and vulnerabilities. Their ultimate goal is to exploit weaknesses using software sockets and encryption and obfuscation techniques. They perform computer and network exploitation evaluations through vulnerability research and embedded reverse engineering. In order to accomplish this, they develop prototypes, conduct tests and support simulation results.
In collaboration with other IT professionals, they conduct vulnerability analyses and survey network services in order to determine weaknesses and potential exploitation loopholes. Senior malware software developers create specialized firmware and software, implement specialized systems and appraise and document cyber security tools. They are sometimes called upon to join elite response teams who deal with major data breaches and security attacks.
Most malware software developers have at least a few years of experience related to cyber-security, such as design, coding, review and application development. Malware software developers should be fluent in specific application development languages, such as C, C++, Java and Python. They must have proven experience in using open source platforms and reverse engineering cyber tools to develop malware that exploits vulnerabilities.
Most employers prefer job candidates with experience in object oriented programming languages, leading projects that develop software and developing operating system applications with programs like .NET, Unix and Visual Studio. Strong experience is preferred with system debugging and overseeing software life cycle management. Knowledge of cyber-forensics and malware analysis is always desired, according to PC Tools.
Some students may qualify for malware software developer jobs with a general degree in computer science or software engineering, but a bachelor of science in IT security or cyber-security is becoming the new education standard. These programs will teach students about the foundations of applications and information technologies, such as new mobile and web-based platforms. These programs also teach students about network, mobile and application security basics.
There are always classes in scripting, programming and data management. Classes on algebra, critical thinking and operating systems are common. Most employers prefer candidates who have industry standard certifications, such as Cisco’s Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential or CompTIA’s A+, Network+, Security+, Project+ or Linux+ certifications.
Once a malware software developer has enough experience, they can obtain additional education and certification to advance their career. For example, they may become software engineers who build systems that analyze mobile apps or traditional software programs. Their goals are to detect and prevent malicious apps or programs that leak data and threaten individual privacy. A mobile software engineer who deals with security must be familiar with Java Virtual Machine, Android development tools and operating systems.
A malware security engineer identifies vulnerabilities in targets so that they may develop prototypes that neutralize security risks and backdoors. They may develop mobile, wireless or network defensive and offensive cyber-security tools and techniques. They also develop anti-malware signatures to mitigate the effects of major security threats.
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In the end, most malware software developers spend their time reverse engineering anti-malware signature updates for popular cyber-security programs.