TeamRed Founder Chronicle #1: Where it all Began

Dec 3, 2018
5 min read

An author types on a laptop.

It all started with an email from my dad.

The message said “Miko, will you be able to handle a transfer to Hong Kong today? Here are the bank details.”

I knew it was strange because my dad wasn’t the type of person to request for a fund transfer through email. He would certainly follow up with a call if he needed it.

So, I called him right away, and he immediately confirmed that he had never sent such an email. I then went to his office and did a scan of his computer, quickly discovering that there was a keylogger installed that was masquerading as anti-virus software.

That particular piece of malware had even used PowerShell commands in windows 10 in order to disable windows defender, remove malware definitions, add an exclusion path to windows defender, and even turned Windows AmsiUtils (its Anti Malware Scan Interface) off.

There are many people, just like my father, who have had their identities and accounts stolen through this method. It was fortunate that I checked with my father before beginning the wire transfer. However, nearly 1 in every 5 phishing emails are opened and followed through. For malicious actors, this is an extremely lucrative proposition. This is why phishing attempts laced with malware will only increase moving forward.

This got me thinking about an idea I had in 2008.

Back then, I felt that edge devices were outdated. They were also either too expensive and/or did not provide adequate security. To make matters worse, most solutions, such as router-based firewalls, required technical knowledge in order to be implemented properly. Even in 2008, misconfigurations in networking and/or security solutions were one of the most common avenues of attack for malicious hackers.

Today, the state of home network security has barely improved. However, security threats ranging from massive phishing attacks, ransomware, and keyloggers have increased in both frequency and sophistication.

I saw a clear need for a robust cybersecurity solution and was then inspired to implement my idea for what would eventually become Pangolin.