Malware is a software that is intentionally created to harm a computer system, server, or computer network. There are several types of Malware such as worms, viruses, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, and rogue software.
HOW DOES MALWARE SPREAD?
Every type of Malware has its own way of causing damage to a computer system and most of them are initiated by an action that a user takes. Usually, they are sent through spam emails via
a link or executable files. Others are delivered by window pop-ups as well as cookies and links. When the user of the system clicks on the corrupted link or email, it opens up a gateway for the attacker to access your computer and they are able to control your PC remotely. They can also modify files or even steal sensitive information.
WHAT IS MALWARE ANALYSIS?
Malware Analysis is the process of analyzing the behavior, functionality, and impact of a suspicious file, virus, root-kit or Trojan, to determine its effects and the potential threats that it
poses to a system. The result of the analysis will reveal what type of files were infected by the Malware and the extent of damage caused to the files.
TYPES OF MALWARE ANALYSIS
There are three types of Malware Analysis:
• Static Malware Analysis
• Dynamic Malware Analysis
• Hybrid Malware Analysis
Static Malware Analysis:
Static Malware Analysis identifies the Malware in the software system without executing the code. It is the safest way to analyze the Malware in the system’s files because code execution
can cause time delays and also infect the system further. It is the most basic form of Malware Analysis where metadata such as file names, hashes, strings, IP addresses, domain names, and
file headers can be used to determine whether or not the files are infected with Malware. Static Malware Analysis also uses tools like disassemblers and network analyzers to identify Malware
in the files without running the code so that information regarding how the Malware affects the system can be collected.
Dynamic Malware Analysis:
Dynamic Malware Analysis also known as Malware Behavior Analysis, involves the execution of a program to find Malware in the affected system. How Dynamic Malware Analysis differs from
Static Malware Analysis is that it involves code execution and because of this, Dynamic Malware Analysis should be performed in a safe environment, one known as a “Sandbox”.
A sandbox is a virtual environment that is isolated from other network systems and runs the Malware without harming the other files. Once the code is executed, the Sandbox is set back to
its original position without changing its permanent state. Dynamic Analysis software monitors the modifications done by the executed code in the Sandbox. The modifications may include domain names, file names, IP addresses, and file paths, etc.
Hybrid Malware Analysis:
Hybrid Malware Analysis is the combination of both Static Malware Analysis and Dynamic Malware Analysis. By combining both Malware techniques, a more reliable way for testers to
analyze the software system is created. Firstly, it can detect the malicious code that was initially hidden and extract the Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) by unseen code through the Static
Malware Analysis technique.
TOP MALWARE ANALYSIS TOOLS
As mentioned, Malware is becoming a huge threat that many organizations face across the globe. The idea that a single user can open up an email that contains a single malicious link and
could end up costing the company millions of dollars in damages is terrifying. To help combat this, here are the top Malware Analysis tools:
2. Process Hacker
3. Process Monitor (ProcMon)
10. Cuckoo Sandbox
PURPOSE OF PERFORMING MALWARE ANALYSIS
Malware Analysis is performed by keeping the proactive approach to underestimate the possible security threats to the organization. Here are some reasons to perform Malware
• Checking the extent of damages caused by an intruder.
• Identifying the indicators of compromise and pointing out the affected area.
• Determining the level of sophistication of the Malware.
• Identifying any loopholes or weak points in the security infrastructure.
• Identifying the vulnerabilities in the network system and patching them.
• Identifying the source of the malicious attack.
• Learning from the current incident and taking appropriate measures to avoid it in the
• Preventing damage to the organization’s reputation by building a strong security infrastructure before an attack happens.
BENEFITS OF MALWARE ANALYSIS
Malware Analysis is an important part of detecting and preventing cyber attacks. Here are some benefits of Malware Analysis:
• Helps you understand the strategy that attackers use to access and control the affected
• Increases awareness about the potential harm that cyber attacks can cause.
• Improves the efficiency of IOC alerts and messages which helps to reveal hidden
Indicators of Compromise (IOC) that should be blocked.
• Provides automated analyses to improve the effectiveness of the security system
• Greatly reduces business and financial risks.
According to studies, 2017 was the year of the most severe ransomware and Malware attacks. Malware has harmed many businesses and has been one of the most prominent cyber attacks
to date. Whenever a security breach occurs, there is usually some form of Malware behind it. Malware Analysis or investigations has become a fundamental aspect of incident response and
it has helped organizations to understand these digital attacks so that the necessary measures to prevent potential losses can be taken.