Threat Analysis Unit

See Yourself in Cyber: 5 Questions with Takahiro Haruyama

In celebration of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme – See Yourself in Cyber – we are spotlighting five VMware security pros to ask them five questions about their career path.

Takahiro Haruyama is a senior threat researcher on the VMware Threat Analysis Unit (TAU) with over ten years of extensive experience and knowledge in malware analysis and digital forensics. He previously worked on reverse-engineering cyber espionage malware with Symantec’s threat intelligence team. He has spoken at several notable conferences including REcon, Virus Bulletin, HITB, DFRWS, SANS DFIR Summit, and BlackHat Briefings USA/Europe/Asia. He lives in Tokyo, Japan.

1. How did you get involved in cybersecurity?

As a student, I researched OS security, specifically host-based intrusion detection systems by monitoring system calls. This experience kept me working in cybersecurity.

2. Explain your career path. Did you take any detours?

Initially, I was a research engineer working on an authentication technology for intelligent home appliances. After that, I got interested in incident response, especially digital forensics. I’ve since changed jobs a few times to step into unknown territories such as malware reverse-engineering and threat intelligence.

3. Was there anyone who has inspired you in your career to help you see yourself in cyber?

There are two distinguished engineers in Japan who have inspired me – Hideaki Ihara in digital forensics and Hiroshi Suzuki in malware analysis.

4. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Keep doing what you are interested in and focus on outputs and outcomes.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring security leaders?

Brian Baskin, my current manager, introduced TAU to me 4 years ago because he watched my research presentations at conferences. I recommend to output whatever you are interested in and continue learning. This will help get the attention of leaders in the industry who can connect with you to help further your career in cybersecurity.