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Strong Cryptography Armoured Computer Viruses Forbidding Code Analysis: the BRADLEY virus

Eric Filiol
INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE EN INFORMATIQUE ET EN AUTOMATIQUE
ISSN 0249-6399
June 2004

3
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Abstract

Imagining what the nature of future viral attacks might look like is the key to successfully protecting against them. This paper discusses how cryptography and key management techniques may definitively checkmate antiviral analysis and mechanisms. We present a generic virus, denoted BRADLEY which protects its code with a very secure, ultra-fast symmetric encryption. Since the main drawback of using encryption in that case lies on the existence of the secret key or information about it within the viral code, we show how to bypass this limitation by using suitable key management techniques. Finally, we show that the complexity of the BRADLEY code analysis is at least as high as that of the cryptanalysis of its underlying encryption algorithm.

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