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Comprehensive analysis and detection of flash-based malware

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Adobe Flash is a popular platform for providing dynamic and multimedia content on web pages. Despite being declared dead for years, Flash is still deployed on millions of devices. Unfortunately, the Adobe Flash Player increasingly suffers from vulnerabilities, and attacks using Flash-based malware regularly put users at risk of being remotely attacked. As a remedy, we present Gordon, a method for the comprehensive analysis and detection of Flash-based malware. By analyzing Flash animations at different levels during the interpreter’s loading and execution process, our method is able to spot attacks against the Flash Player as well as malicious functionality embedded in ActionScript code. To achieve this goal, Gordon combines a structural analysis of the container format with guided execution of the contained code, a novel analysis strategy that manipulates the control flow to maximize the coverage of indicative code regions. In an empirical evaluation with 26,600 Flash samples collected over 12 consecutive weeks, Gordon significantly outperforms related approaches when applied to samples shortly after their first occurrence in the wild, demonstrating its ability to provide timely protection for end users.

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Wressnegger, C., Yamaguchi, F., Arp, D., & Rieck, K. (2016). Comprehensive analysis and detection of flash-based malware. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 9721, pp. 101–121). Springer Verlag.

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