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Evasive Malware

Understanding Deceptive and Self-Defending Threats
by Kyle Cucci
July 2024, 248 pp.
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Dive into the fascinating and terrifying world of evasive malware—malicious software designed to avoid detection. The first of its kind, this thorough introduction is full of practical information, real-world examples, and cutting-edge techniques for discovering, reverse-engineering, and analyzing state-of-the-art malware. 

Beginning with foundational knowledge about malware analysis in the context of the Windows OS, you'll learn about the evasive maneuvers that malware programs use to determine whether they’re being analyzed and the tricks they employ to avoid detection. You'll explore the ways malware circumvents security controls, such as network or endpoint defense bypasses, anti-forensics techniques, and malware that deploys data and code obfuscation. At the end of the book, you'll build your very own anti-evasion analysis lab.

You’ll learn:

  • Modern evasive malware threats
  • Anti-analysis techniques used in malware
  • How malware bypasses and circumvents security controls
  • How malware uses victim targeting and profiling techniques
  • How malware uses anti-forensics and file-less techniques
  • How to perform malware analysis and reverse engineering on evasive programs
Author Bio 

Kyle Cucci leads the threat analysis and forensics team at a large global financial institution, where he focuses on investigating and hunting the latest cybercrime and malware threats. He has over 15 years of experience in IT, serving various roles in malware research, threat intelligence, incident response, penetration testing, automotive security, and network administration. Kyle takes every opportunity to speak at security conferences and meet-up groups and has led international workshops in malware analysis, penetration testing, and security engineering. When not researching the latest threats, Kyle can be spotted in the wild spending time with his wife and sons or enjoying a good craft beer.

Table of contents 

Part I: The Fundamentals
Chapter 1: Windows Foundational Concepts
Chapter 2: A Crash Course in Malware Triage and Behavioral Analysis
Chapter 3: A Crash Course in Static and Dynamic Code Analysis
Part II: Context Awareness and Sandbox Evasion
Chapter 4: Enumerating Operating System Artifacts
Chapter 5: User Environment and Interaction Detection
Chapter 6: Enumerating Hardware and Network Configurations
Chapter 7: Runtime Environment and Virtual Processor Anomalies

Chapter 8: Evading Sandboxes and Disrupting Analysis
Part III: Anti-reversing
Chapter 9: Anti-disassembly
Chapter 10: Anti-debugging
Chapter 11: Covert Code Execution and Misdirection
Part IV: Defense Evasion
Chapter 12: Process Injection, Manipulation, and Hooking
Chapter 13: Evading Network and Endpoint Defenses
Chapter 14: An Introduction to Rootkits
Chapter 15: Fileless Malware and Anti-forensics
Part V: Other Topics
Chapter 16: Encoding and Encryption
Chapter 17: Packers and Unpacking Malware
Chapter 18: Tips for Building an Anti-evasion Analysis Lab
Appendix A: Evasion-Related Windows API Functions
Appendix B: Windows LOLbins and Example Usage
Appendix C: Further Reading

The chapters in red are included in this Early Access PDF.