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Executable packing is the most common technique used by computer virus writers to obfuscate malicious code and evade detection by anti-virus software. Universal unpackers have been proposed that can detect and extract encrypted code from packed executables, therefore potentially revealing hidden viruses that can then be detected by traditional signature-based anti-virus software. However, universal unpackers are computationally expensive and scanning large collections of executables looking for virus infections may take several hours or even days. In this paper, the authors apply pattern recognition techniques for fast detection of packed executables.
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