'Frankenstein' virus could assemble itself from app snippets
Many malware and viruses can be identified by detection software because of known bits of malicious code. But what if there was a virus compiled from little bits of programs you already had installed? That's just what two security researchers are looking into.
Vishwath Mohan and Kevin Hamlen at the University of Texas at Dallas are interested in how malware disguises itself in order to propagate more widely. After all, with virus detectors and operating systems getting frequent updates, any positively identified virus will be destroyed on sight around the world soon after.
Malware authors and security experts have tried different ways to camouflage malicious code, like encrypting it or adding garbage data to confuse the scanners. But Mohan and Hamlen take it a step further: their virus builds itself out of pieces your computer knows to be safe — bits of applications like your word processor, image editor or Web browser.