Security

Frankenstein: Stitching Malware From Benign Binaries

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Executive Summary

This paper proposes a new self-camouflaging malware propagation system, Frankenstein, that overcomes shortcomings in the current generation of metamorphic malware. Specifically, although mutants produced by current state-of-the-art metamorphic engines are diverse, they still contain many characteristic binary features that reliably distinguish them from benign software. Frankenstein forgoes the concept of a metamorphic engine and instead creates mutants by stitching together instructions from non-malicious programs that have been classified as benign by local defenses. This makes it more difficult for feature-based malware detectors to reliably use those byte sequences as a signature to detect the malware. The instruction sequence harvesting process leverages recent advances in gadget discovery for return-oriented programming.

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