Understanding DMA Malware

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Executive Summary

Attackers constantly explore ways to camouflage illicit activities against computer platforms. Stealthy attacks are required in industrial espionage and also by criminals stealing banking credentials. Modern computers contain dedicated hardware such as network and graphics cards. Such devices implement independent execution environments but have Direct Memory Access (DMA) to the host runtime memory. In this paper, the authors introduce DMA malware, i.e., malware executed on dedicated hardware to launch stealthy attacks against the host using DMA.

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