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Introduction To Malware Analysis

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Malware is an executable binary that is malicious in nature. Malware’s can be used by attackers to perform variety of malicious actions like Spying on the target using Keyloggers or RAT’S, they can also delete your data or encrypt your data for “Ransom”. 

Types of Malware: Malware is designed to perform malicious actions and they have different functionality. Various types of Malware are:

  1. Trojans – Trojans can destroy data and exfiltrate data and can also be used for spying.
  2. Rat’s – This type of malware allows attacker to remotely access and execute commands on system.
  3. Ransomware – Ransomware encrypts all files on the system and holds the System and its data for ransom.
  4. Dropper – Droppers functionality is to download/drop additional malware.

What is Malware Analysis? Malware Analysis is the study or process of determining the functionality, origin and potential impact of a given malware sample and extracting as much information from it. The information that is extracted helps to understand the functionality and scope of malware, how the system was infected and how to defend against similar attacks in future. 


  • To understand the type of malware and its functionality.
  • Determine how the system was infected by malware and define if it was a targeted attack or a phishing attack.
  • How malware communicates with attacker.
  • Future detection of malware and generating signatures.

Types of Malware Analysis:

  • Static analysis – It is a process of analyzing the malware without executing or running it. This analysis is used to extract as much metadata from malware as possible like P.E headers strings etc.
  • Dynamic analysis – It is process of executing malware and analyzing its functionality and behavior. This analysis helps to know what malware does during its execution using debugger.
  • Code analysis – It is a process of analyzing/reverse engineering assembly code. It is combination of both static and dynamic analysis.
  • Behavioral analysis – It is the process of analyzing and monitoring the malware after execution. It involves monitoring the processes, registry entries and network monitoring to determine the workings of the malware.

Common Steps in Malware Analysis:

  • Identification: Determining the presence of malware and understanding its characteristics.
  • Acquisition: Obtaining a copy of the malware for analysis, ensuring proper handling and containment.
  • Preliminary Analysis: Conducting initial assessments to gather basic information about the malware.
  • Static Analysis: Examining the malware without executing it to extract metadata and understand its structure.
  • Dynamic Analysis: Executing the malware in a controlled environment to observe its behavior and effects.
  • Code Analysis: Analyzing the malware’s code to understand its functionality, logic, and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Behavioral Analysis: Monitoring the malware’s actions during execution to identify its interactions with the system and network.
  • Reverse Engineering: Unpacking and decompiling the malware to understand its inner workings and algorithms.
  • Post-Analysis: Documenting findings, generating reports, and deriving insights for future prevention and detection.

Advantages of Malware Analysis:

  1. Threat Detection: Malware analysis enables the detection of previously unknown threats, allowing organizations to proactively defend against attacks.
  2. Improved Security: By understanding the behavior of malware, organizations can improve their security measures and reduce the risk of infection.
  3. Understanding of Attack Techniques: Malware analysis provides insight into the methods and techniques used by attackers, allowing organizations to better prepare for and defend against future attacks.
  4. Early Detection: By analyzing malware early in its lifecycle, organizations can mitigate the impact of an attack and reduce the time required to recover from it.
  5. Forensics: Malware analysis can provide valuable information for forensic investigations and can aid in the prosecution of attackers.

Disadvantages of Malware Analysis:

  1. Time-Consuming: The process of malware analysis can be time-consuming and requires specialized knowledge and tools.
  2. Risk of Infection: Conducting malware analysis in an uncontrolled environment can result in the spread of the malware, potentially causing harm to other systems.
  3. Cost: Malware analysis requires specialized tools and expertise, which can be expensive for organizations to acquire and maintain.
  4. Difficulty: Malware is constantly evolving, and the analysis process can be challenging, requiring specialized knowledge and expertise.
  5. False Positives: Malware analysis can sometimes result in false positives, leading to false alarms and a loss of confidence in the security measures in place.
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Last Updated : 12 May, 2023
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