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When I was a kid, I want to become a Malware Analyst and work in a Antivirus company. At that time, I love to try out different antivirus solutions and did a research project on Computer virus/antivirus back in High school. I'm interested in knowing how malwares got into my system and malware removal.

Today, I'm unemployed again and looking for a new career and this thought came to my mind. I suddenly have the urge to pursue my childhood dream as a malware analyst. I don't have much computer programming job experience before (only couple of months in a game company) and my previous job was an accountant. (Not related to computer programming).

I got my computer science degree 5 years ago and currently taking some part-time courses in Software QA/Testing in College. (Because I'm also considering to change career into Software QA field)
I also know that in order to work in a security field, you must be an expert in that field first. Do you think working as a Software QA/Tester would be a good starting point for the career path as a Malware Analyst? Or it's totally unrelated?

Would appreciate if anyone can provide some guidance as to pursuing a career in malware analysis.

edit

I heard about Security+, CISSP, CISA, CEH, SSCP etc. But don't know which one is related to malware analysis.

Thanks

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I am happy that this question was not closed. We need to have more career related questions on all SO websites. –  FirstName LastName Feb 5 '13 at 10:27
    
I want to add to your question - 1 - Which of these certs require prior job experience and/or other certifications/CS degrees? 2 - Arrange the certs in order of difficulty/value in the industry. –  FirstName LastName Feb 5 '13 at 10:30
    
tuts4you.com/index.php is good website for learning ASM and reversing. –  talfiq Feb 28 '13 at 7:15
    
@FirstNameLastName, on career tag questions, see meta.serverfault.com/questions/5270/why-does-career-tag-exist –  mathStudent Mar 2 '13 at 9:18
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's surely a lot of relationship between Software Quality and Testing and Malware analyst. The basic principals of looking into how something works, testing out it's boundaries of operation, and delving into the extent of its functions are common to both. That being said, it would also depend on the type of software you are looking for.

I know of several people who left college and went out into the 'malware' (perhaps not that specific.. but general computer protection/analysis) field straight out of college, so that is a possibility too.

If you want a leg up, look into colleges that offer Information Assurance, or Computer Forensics degrees. (Perhaps a master's program).

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Thx for your reply. Is there any related certification to start off? –  Shawn Jun 24 '11 at 19:05
    
Forensics is closer to malware analysis than QA/testing is, +1 for mentioning it. –  AviD Jun 26 '11 at 8:52
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UNITE affiliated computer help forums offer training programs (for free) in malware removal which is probably a good place to start. I don't think they go in depth into dissecting malware rather focusing on diagnosis and cleaning.

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I believe for Malware research, SANS GREM is the closest and highly regarded: SANS-GREM

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SANS-GREM is good place for certification; but for the study you need to have good understanding of x86 assembly language, IDA pro tool, also couple of good books. For assembly - Step by step assembly by Jeff Duntemann and Practical Malware Analysis | No Starch Press. Good start and SANS reading room some samples analysis papers.

Also need to setup lab in your PC with virtual machine to do the real world analysis.

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