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Saleh, M., Ratazzi, E. P., Xu, S..  2017.  A Control Flow Graph-Based Signature for Packer Identification. MILCOM 2017 - 2017 IEEE Military Communications Conference (MILCOM). :683–688.

The large number of malicious files that are produced daily outpaces the current capacity of malware analysis and detection. For example, Intel Security Labs reported that during the second quarter of 2016, their system found more than 40M of new malware [1]. The damage of malware attacks is also increasingly devastating, as witnessed by the recent Cryptowall malware that has reportedly generated more than \$325M in ransom payments to its perpetrators [2]. In terms of defense, it has been widely accepted that the traditional approach based on byte-string signatures is increasingly ineffective, especially for new malware samples and sophisticated variants of existing ones. New techniques are therefore needed for effective defense against malware. Motivated by this problem, the paper investigates a new defense technique against malware. The technique presented in this paper is utilized for automatic identification of malware packers that are used to obfuscate malware programs. Signatures of malware packers and obfuscators are extracted from the CFGs of malware samples. Unlike conventional byte signatures that can be evaded by simply modifying one or multiple bytes in malware samples, these signatures are more difficult to evade. For example, CFG-based signatures are shown to be resilient against instruction modifications and shuffling, as a single signature is sufficient for detecting mildly different versions of the same malware. Last but not least, the process for extracting CFG-based signatures is also made automatic.