David Harley

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David Harley
Alma materBangor University
Open University
Known forIT security research
Scientific career
Information security

David Harley is an IT security researcher, author/editor and consultant living in the United Kingdom, known for his books on and research into malware, Mac security,[1] anti-malware product testing[2] and management of email abuse.[3]


After a checkered career that included spells in music, bar-work, work with the mentally handicapped, retail and the building trade, Harley entered the IT field in the late 1980s, working initially in administration at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and in 1989 went to work for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now merged into Cancer Research UK), where he held administrative and IT support roles and eventually moved into full-time security. In 2001 he joined the National Health Service where he ran the Threat Assessment Centre.[4] After leaving the NHS in 2006 to work as an independent consultant,[5] he worked closely with the security company ESET[6] where between 2011 and 2018 he held the position of Senior Research Fellow,[6] working with the Cyber Threat Analysis Center.[7] In 2009 he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO).[8] He stood down in February 2012, when Righard Zwienenberg, president of AMTSO, joined ESET, as the AMTSO bylaws don't allow more than one Board member to represent the same AMTSO member entity.[9] He ran the Mac Virus website,[10] and formerly held an undefined executive role[11] in AVIEN. He is a former Fellow of the British Computer Society: he explained in a blog article [12] in 2014 that he was dropping his subscriptions to the BCS Institute and (ISC)2 (and therefore would no longer be entitled to continue using the acronyms CISSP, CITP and FBCS), and his reasons for so doing.

In January 2019 he announced that he was no longer working with ESET and was reverting to his former career as a musician, but indicated that he was still available for one-off authoring and editing work.[13] He subsequently contributed content, reviewing and translation for the English edition of the book Cyberdanger by Eddy Willems.[14]


Harley was co-author (with Robert Slade and Urs Gattiker) of Viruses Revealed,[15] and technical editor and principal author of The AVIEN Malware Defense Guide for the Enterprise.[16]

He has also contributed chapters to a number of other security-related books, and sometimes writes for specialist security publishers such as Virus Bulletin[17] and Elsevier.[18] He has often presented papers at specialist security conferences including Virus Bulletin, AVAR, and EICAR. Until the end of 2018 he blogged regularly for ESET,[19] and on occasion for Infosecurity Magazine,[20] SC Magazine,[21] (ISC)2,[22] SecuriTeam,[23] Mac Virus,[24] and Small Blue-Green World.[25] His Geek Peninsula[26] metablog lists many of his papers and articles.

Other work[edit]

Some recordings, miscellaneous prose and verse are posted to or linked from his personal blog page.[27]

Miscellaneous prose – some but not all connected to the security industry – is posted to the Miscellaneous Prose[28] page.

Family life[edit]

Harley was born in Shropshire and educated at the Priory Grammar School for Boys, Shrewsbury.[29] He hardly ever talks publicly about his private life, but a biographical article for Virus Bulletin,[30] and the dedications page to Viruses Revealed indicate that he has a daughter. He lives with his third wife in Cornwall, in the UK.


  • Willems, Eddy (2019). Cyberdanger. Springer. ISBN 978-3-030-04531-9. (Contributed content and some editing and translation.)
  • Bidgoli, Hossein; et al. (2008). The Handbook of Computer Networks. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-78460-9. Volume 3, "E-Mail Threats and Vulnerabilities."
  • Baccas, Paul; et al. (2008). OS X Exploits and Defense. Syngress. ISBN 978-1-59749-254-6. Chapter 3: "Malicious Macs: Malware and the Mac." Chapter 4: "Malware Detection and the Mac."
  • Harley, David; et al. (2007). AVIEN Malware Defense Guide for the Enterprise. Syngress. ISBN 978-1-59749-164-8. (Editor, technical editor, several chapters.)
  • Schiller, Craig A., Binkley, Jim; et al. (2007). Botnets: the Killer Web App. Syngress. ISBN 978-1-59749-135-8.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Co-wrote Chapter 5, "Botnet Detection: Tools and Techniques" with Jim Binkley.
  • Bidgoli, Hossein; et al. (2006). Handbook of Information Security. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-64833-7. Volume 3, "E-Mail Threats and Vulnerabilities."
  • Paulus, S., Pohlmann N., Reimer, H.; et al. (2004). ISSE 2004: Securing Electronic Business Processes. Vieweg. ISBN 978-3-528-05910-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Massmailers: New Threats Need Novel Anti-Virus Measures.
  • Bosworth, Seymour, Kabay M.E.; et al. (2002). Computer Security Handbook. John Wiley. ISBN 0-471-41258-9.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Co-wrote Chapter 49, "Medical Records Security" with Paul Brusil.
  • Anonymous; et al. (2002). Maximum Security Fourth Edition. SAMS. ISBN 0-672-32459-8. Revised Chapter 17 "Viruses and Worms", Chapter 18 "Trojans."
  • Anonymous; et al. (2001). Maximum Security Third Edition. SAMS. ISBN 0-672-31871-7. Chapter 17 "Viruses and Worms", Chapter 18 "Trojans."
  • Harley, David, Robert Slade and Urs E. Gattiker (2001). Viruses Revealed. McGraw-Hill Companies. ISBN 0-07-213090-3.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) Co-Author.


Harley published white papers, conference papers and presentations, and on-line articles with or on behalf of ESET between 2006 and 2018. Some previous and subsequent papers, articles and presentations are available from his Geek Peninsula blog.


  1. ^ "OS X Exploits and Defense". Syngress.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Making Sense of Anti-Malware Comparative Testing « Small Blue-Green World". Smallbluegreenblog.wordpress.com. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Check Chain Mail and Hoaxes". Chainmailcheck.wordpress.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  4. ^ Dan Raywood (25 October 2010). "SC Magazine interview: David Harley, senior research fellow at ESET". SC Magazine UK. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  5. ^ David HarleySmall Blue Green World, UK (1 January 2007). "Virus Bulletin : From immunology to heuristics". virusbulletin.com. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Malware Protection & Internet Security".
  7. ^ "Malware Protection & Internet Security".
  8. ^ "Boards – Board of Directors". AMTSO. Archived from the original on 25 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  9. ^ "About the Anti-Malware Testing blog « AMTSO". antimalwaretesting.wordpress.com. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  10. ^ "About Us « Mac Virus". Macviruscom.wordpress.com. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  11. ^ Aryeh Goretsky says (28 February 2011). "20 years of Windows Malware « The AVIEN Blog". Avien.net. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Maybe I should be certified... « Small Blue-Green World". smallbluegreenworld.wordpress.com. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  13. ^ "End of an era « Geek Peninsula". geekpeninsula.wordpress.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. ^ Willems, Eddy (2019). Cyberdanger. Springer. ISBN 978-3-030-04531-9.
  15. ^ Viruses Revealed: Amazon.co.uk: David Harley, Urs E. Gattiker, Robert Slade: Books. ASIN 0072130903.
  16. ^ "The AVIEN Book". 20 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Virus Bulletin : Searching for 'david harley'". virusbulletin.com. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Information Security Technical Report : Making sense of anti-malware comparative testing". Information Security Technical Report. 14: 7–15. doi:10.1016/j.istr.2009.03.002.
  19. ^ "Infosecurity – Blog". Infosecurity-us.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  20. ^ "David Harley | ESET ThreatBlog". Blog.eset.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Cybercrime Corner". SC Magazine US. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  22. ^ "(ISC)2 Blog: Authors". Blog.isc2.org. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  23. ^ "Securiteam Blog". blogs.securiteam.com. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Search Results for "david harley"".
  25. ^ "Welcome « Small Blue-Green World". Smallbluegreenblog.wordpress.com. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  26. ^ "Geek Peninsula". Small Blue-Green World. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  27. ^ "David Harley Words & Music". Small Blue-Green World. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  28. ^ "David Harley Words & Music". Small Blue-Green World. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  29. ^ "About David Harley". Wheal Alice Music. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  30. ^ "From Immunology to Heuristics" (PDF). Virus Bulletin. Retrieved 29 September 2018.

External links[edit]