Geek Of The Week: Joanna Rutkowska

Geek Of The Week: Joanna Rutkowska

Joanna Rutkowska is a computer security expert from Poland. Though she’s not commonly known to the general population, her achievements are well known throughout the IT Security community. Few people in recent years have done more for operating system security than Rutkowska.

Joanna Rutkowska 2 Geek Of The Week: Joanna Rutkowska

Unlike former GOTW Kristina Svechinskaya, Rutkowska is an ethical hacker, this means she does not user her skills to steal information, but to protect other people’s information. In August of 2006, she presented at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Her presentation, dubbed “The Bill Pill”, showcased some of the flaws in Windows Vista. This exploit directly led to Microsoft fixing several critical bugs in the OS kernel. Windows users everywhere have her to thank for these improvements.

Rutkowska continued researching and presenting at conferences throughout 2007, 2008, and 2009. She made some major advancements in virtualization malware that forced vendors like VMWare to react to this changing threat landscape. She even opened her own company, Invisible Things Laboratories, in Poland to further the research of virtualization exploits and general operating system security.

Joanna Rutkowska 3 Geek Of The Week: Joanna Rutkowska

In 2010, Rutkowska, and partner Rafal Wojtczuk, set out to build their own Linux distribution, Qubes OS. This security-oriented operating system provides security through isolation. It allows users to run all their common computing tasks in separate virtual machines within the Qubes OS environment. Version 1 of the OS shipped in 2012. The distirbution was recently nominated for the Access Innovation Prize for Endpoint Security. Needless to say… this lady is 100% geek. Now she can add GOTW to her resume.

About the Author

avatar KALE: A geek who works in the IT Security field and lives in Dallas, TX. He is also a music geek who has played in several local bands. Previous to his IT career, Kale worked as a photojournalist. He brings technical advice and artistic counterpoint to the podcast.