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Chapter 15. Malicious Code Analysis Techniques

" Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory."

Leonardo da Vinci (14521519)

Previous chapters have discussed the different antivirus defense strategies. This chapter gives a short introduction to malicious code analysis, which can provide invaluable information to the defender. Although some of the methods and tools were demonstrated previously, this chapter discusses some of their more interesting aspects.

Some of the techniques described in this chapter relate to reverse engineering of malicious code. Because the relevant law differs from country to country, please be advised to follow your local requirements regarding it. I also regret that not all of the discussed techniques are directly available to readers outside the antivirus research community because some analytical tools have not been commercialized. I have tried to minimize the discussion of these systems, but they are included for the sake of completenessmalicious code analysis techniques could fill an entire book of their own!

The manual process of malicious code analysis is closely related to the automated detection and removal of computer viruses. Furthermore, the Digital Immune System (DIS)1 developed by IBM is discussed and compared to the process of manual analysis.

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