Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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Study of Malware Obfuscation Techniques



Malware is widely acknowledged as a growing threat with hundreds of thousands of new samples reported each week. Analysis of these malware samples has to deal with this significant quantity but also with the defensive capabilities built into malware. Malware authors use a range of evasion techniques to harden their creations against accurate analysis. The evasion techniques aim to disrupt attempts of disassembly, debugging or analyse in a virtualized environment.

This talk catalogs the common evasion techniques malware authors employ, applying over 50 different static detections, combined with a few dynamic ones for completeness. We validate our catalog by running these detections against a database of 4 million samples (the system is constantly running and the numbers will be updated for the presentation), enabling us to present an analysis on the real state of evasion techniques in use by malware today. The resulting data will help security companies and researchers around the world to focus their attention on making their tools and processes more efficient to rapidly avoid the malware authors’ countermeasures.

This first of its kind, comprehensive catalog of countermeasures was compiled by the paper’s authors by researching each of the known techniques employed by malware, and in the process new detections were proposed and developed. The underlying malware sample database has an open architecture that allows researchers not only to see the results of the analysis, but also to develop and plug-in new analysis capabilities. The system will be made available in beta at Black Hat, with the purpose of serving as a basis for innovative community research.

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