Becoming an Expert in 4 Stages of the Malware Analysis

Malware is a threat that affects an increasing part of the online world, according to several reports conducted by security experts and companies related to technology security. In the form of an example, Kaspersky Lab has reported the increase of financial malware (or else financial malicious software) to 28.4 million in 2013 and this has been an increase of 27.6%. Of course, this is just a drop in the ocean and therefore the problem of malware is growing to be a giant with every single day passing by.

If we want to prevent this phenomenon from taking even greater proportions, we need to be kept vigilant and come up with some simple and yet efficient guidelines that will keep us on course. First of all, though, we have to learn as many details as possible regarding malware: types of malware that we need to keep our eyes open for, symptoms of malware and of course the 4 stages of malware. So, first things first and we will initiate our in depth guide with the display of the most frequently found malware.

Types of Malware

As you can imagine, malware is not singular and there is not a single type that you should beware of. If this were the case, it would be rather easy for antimalware software to identify the maliciously intended software and deal with it efficiently. So, let’s have a look at the various types of malware that we can come up against:

  • Spyware: Among the most usual types of malware, there is definitely spyware. This aims to collect information from the person whose computer has been compromised. In addition, with spyware there is the possibility of gaining control over the computer where such software has been planted.
  • Virus: When we refer to a computer virus, we mean the malware that crawls into programs and files of computers. After having been multiplied by itself, it infects these programs and files.
  • Phishing: Phishing malware seeks to lure Internet users and redirect them to suspicious sites or make them offer their personal information. So, obtaining sensitive data is the major purpose of phishing malware.
  • Trojan horse: This is a clear and straightforward reference to the ancient myth of the Greeks having used a wooden horse with ample interior space, in order to enter Troy. Trojan horse malware leads to data loss, after having been executed without the consent of the Internet user.
  • Bot: A bot is malware that can take a lot of forms and result in negative consequences. For instance, there are spambots and there are bots that lead to DDoS attacks.
  • Ransomware: Another type of malware is indeed ransomware. Once you get infected with ransomware, you are instantly informed that you need to pay some kind of ransom for getting your data and full control back.

Now that we have had a glimpse of the malware types found on the web, it is fair for us to move forward to the identification of malware. This is of course crucial, so as to determine what needs to be done for being protected from the menace. Upon having found that, it will be time for malware analysis techniques.

Symptoms of Malware

Below, you can find some really important symptoms that may reveal the presence of malware on your computer. Let’s hit it, then!

  • Freezing or crashing: If you experience such symptoms way too often, you have to start wondering why this is happening. It is really possible that you have been compromised with malware.
  • Slow computer: You may notice that your computer is not performing as well as it once did. This can be the result of malware, slowing the performance of your computer to a great extent.
  • Strange computer behavior: Even if your computer performs fast enough, perhaps it starts working strangely. Even without your knowledge, new programs may be added or you might see that a program has been launched without your permission.
  • Modified or deleted files: Although you have saved all your files neatly at your documents, you may see that some of these files have been altered or even erased. Unless you have done so yourself, this is a strong indication that something is wrong.
  • Strange files appearing: When watching that some strange files appear (either on your screen or at your documents and files), you had better search where they have come from.
  • Increased CPU usage: Unlike in the past, your computer uses a lot more CPU space. This is clearly a sign that your device needs checking for malware!
  • Emails and PMs sent automatically: Your friends might alert you on having been sent something from your account, without appearing to be your own email or message. This can lead to severe problems and it is most likely related to malware.

Next, let’s start analyzing malware and see how we can get rid of such problems, shall we?

Malware Analysis: How-to Guide

Let’s find out more on some really important malware analysis methods for you to consider, OK?

  • Allocate physical or virtual systems for the analysis lab: One of the things that you can do is in fact to infect a system with malware and then take a look at how it reacts. In this way, you get to see the device’s behavior close up and thus you examine any possible methods of tackling with the infection. Of course, such a method is typically performed in the lab. However, if you wish to do so yourself, you can try out some virtualization software solutions that are going to shed light on any malware issues emerging. Examples of such software feature VirtualBox, VMware vSphere Hypervisor and Microsoft Virtual Server. Otherwise, you would be risking the infection of your own computer and you would potential cause irreparable damage to your system.
  • Make use of online analysis tools: You can get automated behavioral analysis and track down some truly important details about the malware that you supply to them. You can also get information on websites that are infected with malware. According to their features, you can use more than a few of these online analysis tools and get all the details that you are after. To help you get started, some of these tools include Anubis, EUREKA, Malwr and ThreatExpert.
  • Static properties analysis: Another one of the malware analysis techniques that you can use has to do with the analysis of its static properties. This technique digs deeper and actually determine whether or not a system has been compromised. If you are interested in such an analysis, you can turn to VirusTotal and detect worms and Trojans, viruses and so on.
  • Interactive behavior analysis: For taking a closer look at the malware specimen, you can interact with the malware yourself and check how it reacts to your own actions. This is another deep analysis option that you can use, so as to better comprehend the way the malware operates.
  • Manual code reversing: With manual code reversing, you can succeed in decrypting the data saved or transferred or determine the generation algorithm of the malware. In addition, you will be able to fully comprehend the features of the malware sample that you had not been able to comprehend with the previous methods highlighted.
  • Combining malware analysis steps: Examining the malware in a thorough manner can only be completed through the use of a detailed layering of different steps. So, the most fruitful method for you to go ahead with is in fact the combination of malware analysis stages in an efficient way. As a result, you will have the opportunity to combine the benefits offered by multiple analysis methods and you will get the maximum effect.

How to Prevent or Remove Malware

In avoidance of unnecessary trouble and in order to be able to deal with the catastrophe upon emerging, you have to be kept vigilant and proceed with the following:

  • Keep software and OS up-to-date: It is crucial that you update your software and your operating system at a regular basis. Only in this way can you rest assured that you have got a powerful weapon, which has been thoroughly informed of the threats that it can come up against.
  • Install and run antimalware and firewall: Whether you have had your system compromised or you wish to keep it safe over time, it is essential that you frequently run antimalware and antivirus software. This will enable you to be kept efficiently protected at all times. On top of that, firewall installation is a great addition to your defensive line.
  • Beware of downloading files: Though it is true that many people are tempted to download anything from the web, it is imperative that you remain extremely cautious and that you do not engage in downloading from un-trusted sources. Otherwise, the risk of getting infected by malware becomes too high to be worth trying out in the first place.

Conclusion

Mastering the 4 stages of malware analysis can offer you a way out of a terribly disappointing situation. Since there is elevated risk of being harmed from malware, it is extremely recommended that you act wisely and that you take our instructions and suggestions into consideration. If you do, you will not have to worry any more about malware and its increased occurrence on the Internet. It is your choice, remember that!

Top/Featured Image: By geralt / Pixabay

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Becoming an Expert in 4 Stages of the Malware Analysis

by Stella Strouvali time to read: 6 min
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