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My internship at Riscure: Simon Gao

Author: Simon Gao, Valeria Vatolina

Meet Simon Gao, who has recently completed his internship at Riscure. With prior experience as a Security Analyst in China, Simon felt ready to take the next step and seek deeper knowledge, enrolling for a master’s degree in the Netherlands.

Which study did you follow?

After a few years of working post-bachelor’s in China, I decided to challenge myself to gain international experience. Seeking deeper knowledge in the security field, I enrolled for a master’s degree at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, specializing in Computer Security. The coursework delved into various aspects of systems security, covering software hardening, exploitation, binary analysis, micro-architectural attacks, software testing, side channels, and reverse engineering.

What is the topic of your research?

My master’s research focused on a security component in a mobile device. With limited knowledge and a black-box approach, I aimed to find vulnerabilities, specifically targeting arbitrary code execution within the security component. This involved a combination of reverse engineering and fuzzing of software, exploring the mechanisms of running code within the component.

How did Riscure support you in carrying out the research?

Riscure’s Innovation Hub team played a key role in supporting my research. They provided a supportive environment with a dedicated supervisor who checked on my progress and engaged in weekly discussions. I had the opportunity to connect with many fellow interns, building meaningful connections and learning from each other’s work.

What is your impression of the Riscure team and culture?

The Riscure team and culture are different from larger corporations. The team’s friendly and supportive nature creates a space with less performance pressure, allowing interns like me to thrive and explore our potential. Working in an English-speaking environment used to be something outside of my comfort zone, but at Riscure I was met with a friendly company of many different nationalities. It made it a comfortable place to work and develop myself.

What do you like the most about working at Riscure?

One thing I really appreciate about working at Riscure is the relaxed atmosphere and a culture of mutual respect and accountability. There’s a more flexible approach to work here, as well as a strong sense of trust between teammates. Additionally, being based in Amsterdam while working with Riscure in Delft has its perks—I have the flexibility to work remotely when needed. Despite the distance, the projects I’ve been involved in are both challenging and incredibly fascinating, which keeps me motivated and excited to dive into work each day!

What made you choose Riscure for your internship assignment?

I chose Riscure for their reputation as a leader in Fault Injection and Side-Channel Analysis. The company’s supportive and knowledgeable environment made Riscure the ideal choice for my internship assignment.

Who should consider doing an internship at Riscure?

Riscure is an ideal choice for those eager to delve deep into hardware attacks, including Fault Injection and Side-Channel Analysis. Whether you’re a master’s or bachelor’s student, Riscure offers a rich learning experience in various domains within device security, from embedded systems to mobile security. The supportive research community and diverse learning opportunities make Riscure a compelling choice for interns passionate about device security.

What inspires you in your work?

Coming from a background in electronic engineering, my curiosity about how things work naturally drew me to security. To effectively attack a target, you need to understand it well. Reverse engineering allows me to delve into the lower levels, understanding the intricacies of software and hardware. My experience in finding vulnerabilities in Android devices through penetration testing adds to the excitement of unravelling new puzzles, defending against digital threats, and contributing to the ongoing mission of making the digital world safer for all. The ever-evolving world of new technological breakthroughs is what inspires me to give my best every day as a security analyst.

Looking for an internship in the device security domain? At Riscure, we’re always on the lookout for new interns! Read more and apply here.

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