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Dmitry Marinov

Dmitry Marinov: Combating Cyber Threats with Technical Mastery and Creative Flair

The extent of people’s digital footprints grows along with society’s dependence on digital technology. Online platforms and services receive enormous volumes of sensitive and personal data. The growing digital footprint of individuals increases the possibility of security lapses and amplifies the consequences of cyberattacks on their money, privacy, and even physical safety.

These enhanced footprints generate the need to make the digital world safer and this is where the role of Chief Technology Officers is crucial. Along with playing an important role in ensuring cybersecurity, these strategic leaders chart the technological course of their companies.

Among the most influential CTOs in the Middle East, Dmitry Marinov, Chief Technology Officer of ANY.RUN is a noteworthy name. He focuses on driving transformative solutions that redefine cybersecurity standards.

During our conversation with him, we discussed his role in orchestrating complex projects with technical mastery and creative flair.

Below are the highlights from the interview!

Could you please tell us about yourself and what motivated you to embark on this sector?

My name is Dmitry Marinov. I am the Chief Technology Officer of ANY.RUN. My adventure in cybersecurity began eight years ago as a front-end developer at a tiny startup that evolved into ANY.RUN, the sandboxing service that pioneered interactive malware analysis. I went from front-end lead to back-end engineer, Head of Development, and finally CTO. This journey reflects not only my own growth but also ANY.RUN’s transformation into an industry leader.

As for my motivation, I always had a deeper commitment to making the digital world safer, that is why as a CTO, I make sure that every step we take as a company equips our clients with better tools to combat cyber threats. And I am proud of what we are doing.

Could you please brief us about your company and its Inception story?

At ANY.RUN, from the very beginning, we were driven by a clear vision: to revolutionize malware research. We saw the limitations of slow, automated analysis and envisioned an interactive sandbox mimicking a real malware analysis lab. As a result, we have built a user-friendly platform capable of delivering almost instant insights into threats that have completely transformed the landscape of malware investigations. Today, ANY.RUN stands as a testament to our ambition and expertise, and we continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in malware analysis.

What strategies do you employ to drive innovation and technological advancement within your organization, and how do you prioritize technology projects and initiatives to align with the company’s goals and objectives?

I foster a culture of creativity, aligning tech initiatives with business objectives and using agile methods for rapid development. Customer-centric solutions and the use of emerging technologies are key to enhancing our product offerings. A significant portion of our budget goes to R&D, not just for new products but also for exploring long-term, forward-thinking projects.

Can you share an example of a successful technology implementation that you have overseen and its impact on the organization?

Certainly, leading the development of Threat Intelligence Lookup was a major achievement. Our diverse user base, from cybersecurity experts to researchers, struggled with quickly identifying and understanding cyber threats. They needed instant information on Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) and intricate details like registry and file activities.

In response to this need, we developed the unique TI Lookup platform. This service allows users to search for threats and contextual information related to existing indicators of compromise by searching for various identifiers, including domain names, IP addresses, file hashes, and command lines.

Users can combine these search terms for more comprehensive results. Upon submitting a query, the application retrieves and presents relevant threat intelligence data extracted from millions of interactive sessions in ANY.RUN. This data may include details about associated threats, interactive session information, related hashes, network activity logs, file samples, and other important contextual information.

How do you ensure the security and integrity of the organization’s technology infrastructure?

In my view, security is something that applies to both people and technology. This is why we conduct regular staff training programs on the latest threats and best practices. We employ a multi-layered defense-in-depth strategy with access control, intrusion detection, endpoint protection, and secure web gateways. All sensitive data is encrypted, and data management policies ensure integrity and confidentiality.

What steps do you take to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in technology?

First of all, I am eager to listen to what everyone around me has to say – employees, peers at conferences, friends in IT, and even insights from blogs. The tech community keeps me informed about noteworthy technologies. While I’m cautious about adopting brand new solutions, as their novelty often comes with instability.

Secondly, I recognize AI’s rapid expansion in virtually all areas and cybersecurity is no exception here. At ANY.RUN, I’ve initiated a policy for every engineer to take a basic AI course. This essential understanding fosters innovation and helps us anticipate how AI can shape future projects.

Finally, I firmly believe that prioritizing a strong computer science foundation allows our team to readily adapt to new technologies and be proactive in our solutions. This approach ensures we’re not just keeping pace but contributing to the industry’s evolution.

How do you foster a collaborative and productive relationship between the technology team and other departments within the organization?

At ANY.RUN, collaboration between the technology team and other departments is crucial. Open and frequent communication across all levels ensures everyone’s voice is heard. Regular cross-departmental meetings and joint planning sessions align our tech initiatives with broader goals.

We create opportunities for mutual learning, where team members share insights and expertise, fostering understanding and respect for each other’s roles. Feedback mechanisms and celebrating successes together build unity and shared purpose. This collaborative spirit, with empathy, understanding, and a user-centric approach at the forefront, drives productivity and fuels innovation through diverse perspectives.

Can you discuss any challenges you have faced as a CTO and how you have overcome them?

The Threat Intelligence Lookup presented a significant challenge. Venturing into this new territory involved creating a unique value proposition, not just copying what others have done.

I identified what competitors weren’t offering and led the development of a unique solution with in-depth search capabilities, presenting new ways to hunt malware. And we’re not stopping there, as this year we will expand the service’s capabilities even further.

How do you promote a culture of continuous learning and professional development within your technology team?

I focus on creating an environment where growth stems from daily activities. Team members are encouraged to engage in projects that spark their passion, making learning an integral and fulfilling part of their work. Staying current is essential, so I emphasize continuous self-improvement and staying ahead in this fast-evolving field. Our team explores and engages with new technologies, nurturing an innovative mindset driven by curiosity and experimentation. Regular knowledge-sharing sessions foster collaboration and strengthen our team spirit.

What are your thoughts on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things, and how do you see them impacting your industry?

AI is revolutionizing cybersecurity by automating threat detection and response. Its ability to learn and adapt significantly enhances our capabilities. At ANY.RUN, we leverage AI to analyze vast amounts of data efficiently, identifying anomalies that could indicate cyber threats.

Recognizing its critical importance, we’re actively working on and continuously investing in AI malware research within ANY.RUN to further refine and enhance our services’ capabilities.

However, it’s a double-edged sword; as much as AI advances our defenses, it also empowers cybercriminals with sophisticated tools for attacks, necessitating ongoing innovation on our part.

Please give us a few testimonials from your clients and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in the corporate niche.

Our work at ANY.RUN has received recognition from both top awards and users around the world. In 2023 alone, the platform was awarded:

Additionally, ANY.RUN boasts over 60 verified reviews on G2, a popular review service, with a 4.6 out of 5-star rating.