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Detecting Malicious Code by Model Checking

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Executive Summary

The ease of compiling malicious code from source code in higher programming languages has increased the volatility of malicious programs: The first appearance of a new worm in the wild is usually followed by modified versions in quick succession. As demonstrated by Christodorescu and Jha, however, classical detection software relies on static patterns, and is easily outsmarted. In this paper, the authors present a flexible method to detect malicious code patterns in executables by model checking. While model checking was originally developed to verify the correctness of systems against specifications, they argue that it lends itself equally well to the specification of malicious code patterns.

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