What Is the Method of Malware Analysis? Harnessing Cybersecurity Techniques.


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Let me start by asking you a question: how would you feel if your personal information, like your social security number or credit card details, were stolen from your digital devices? Not a pleasant thought, right? Unfortunately, in today’s digital landscape, these kinds of scenarios are not rare. Malware attacks on individuals and businesses alike are on the rise. So, what can we do about it? The answer lies in the method of malware analysis. I can tell you that properly analyzing malware is crucial in detecting and preventing attacks. In this article, I will delve into what exactly malware analysis is and how it harnesses cybersecurity techniques to keep you and your data safe.

What is the method of malware analysis?

Malware analysis is a crucial step in cybersecurity. It allows professionals to gain insights into the behavior and motive of a particular malware sample. There are two main methods that malware analysts employ for this purpose

  • static analysis and dynamic analysis.
  • Static analysis involves examining the code of the malware sample. It allows the analyst to understand how the malware functions without running it. This method involves looking at things like the type and size of the file, the API calls, and any obfuscation techniques that are used. Static analysis is incredibly useful for identifying malware, analyzing its structure, and reversing engineering the code.
  • Dynamic analysis involves running the malware in a controlled environment, like a virtual machine. This method allows analysts to observe the behavior of the malware in a safe manner. Dynamic analysis involves monitoring activities like file system changes, network traffic, and system call executions. This method is useful for identifying malware behavior that might not be apparent from a static analysis. It is particularly helpful in identifying and analyzing more sophisticated malware that might use anti-analysis techniques to avoid detection.
  • In conclusion, malware analysis is vital in the field of cybersecurity, and by employing static and dynamic analysis techniques, malware analysts can comprehensively analyze the potential risks and motives of a particular malware sample.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Stay updated: Keep yourself updated with the latest malware analysis techniques and trends. With new malware emerging every day, it is essential to keep track of the latest developments in malware analysis.

    2. Use specialized tools: Leverage specialized malware analysis tools such as sandboxes, disassemblers, and debuggers to identify the behavior and characteristics of malware. These tools can help you extract valuable information such as file system activity, registry keys, and network traffic.

    3. Study malware behavior: Study the behavior of malware and its impact on the system. This can help you identify the malware’s tactics and techniques, such as its vector of attack, propagation methods, and payload delivery.

    4. Collaborate: Discuss and collaborate with other cybersecurity professionals and online communities to gain insights into malware analysis and learn new techniques. Collaborating with others can also help you to keep up with the latest industry trends.

    5. Stay focused: Analyzing malware requires focus and a keen eye for detail. Be patient, meticulous, and thorough in your analysis to uncover valuable insights that can help protect against future malware attacks.

    Introduction to malware analysis

    Malware is one of the most severe and widely spread online threats today, causing significant damage to individual users, businesses, and governments globally. Malware is a type of malicious software that is designed to harm computer systems and steal sensitive information from victims. Malware analysis is a process of examining malware to understand how it works, identify its behavior, and develop a countermeasure to protect computer systems from it. There are two primary methods of malware analysis, static analysis, and dynamic analysis.

    Static analysis: Understanding the code

    Static analysis is a process of analyzing malware by examining its code without running it. In a typical scenario, analysts use programming tools such as disassemblers, debuggers, and decompilers to dive into the malware code. The goal of static analysis is to learn malware’s functionality and isolate strings within it that might be linked to command-and-control servers.

    Steps involved in static analysis:

    • Binary analysis: examining malware at the binary level using a disassembler to convert the executable code to human-understandable assembly language code.
    • Code analysis: The static code analysis process involves reviewing the code for vulnerabilities, logic flaws, coding errors, and other issues that could potentially harm a system or organization.
    • Malware research: Research the latest malware and develop strategies to countermeasure future threats. By investigating past cyber-attacks, one can gain insight into the latest attack trends that can help create more effective solutions to prevent future attacks.

    Dynamic analysis: Observe the behavior

    Dynamic analysis is a subset of malware analysis that works by analyzing the behavior of malware in a controlled environment. In this method, the analyst runs the malware in a sandbox or virtual machine and observes its behavior as it interacts with the virtual environment. Analysis of malware’s runtime behavior is vital as it enables identification of unique features that were not apparent from static analysis.

    Steps involved in dynamic analysis:

    • Establishing the environment: This involves creating a sandboxed environment that simulates the same operating system and file system as the target environment.
    • Executing the malware: Running the malware in the virtual environment and monitoring its behavior offers significant insights into its behavior patterns.
    • Logging and monitoring: A malware analyst should log every event that the malware carries out in the virtual environment. This task involves recording system calls, network traffic, and file system changes.

    Advantages and disadvantages of static analysis

    Advantages of static analysis:

    • Does not depend on running the malware which can be risky.
    • It is a quick and efficient way to identify malware families.
    • It is less resource-intensive compared to dynamic analysis.

    Disadvantages of static analysis:

    • Difficult to detect obfuscated, polymorphic, and encrypted malware.
    • Code analysis can be time-consuming and tedious work.
    • May not fully understand the malware’s capabilities without observing behavior.

    Advantages and disadvantages of dynamic analysis

    Advantages of dynamic analysis:

    • Ability to identify behaviors of malware that are not visible through static analysis.
    • Provides valuable information on the strategies and tactics of cybercriminals.
    • Offers a better understanding of the overall impact of malware.

    Disadvantages of dynamic analysis:

    • Dynamic analysis is time-consuming and can require a lot of resources.
    • Cybercriminals can create malware specifically designed to thwart dynamic analysis techniques.
    • Malware will only behave according to the tester’s environment, so it may not be representative of the real-world attacks.

    In conclusion, both static analysis and dynamic analysis are essential techniques for malware analysis and are commonly used by cybersecurity experts in their day-to-day operations. For a robust defense against malware, both methods must be utilized to gain comprehensive insights and defenses. By leveraging static analysis and dynamic analysis, analysts can develop effective countermeasures that can protect systems from malware.