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Superworms and Cryptovirology: a Deadly Combination

Ivan Balepin
Department of Computer Science University of California, Davis
May 2003

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Understanding the possible extent of the future attacks is the key to successfully protecting against them. Designers of protection mechanisms need to keep in mind the potential ferocity and sophistication of viruses that are just around the corner. That is why we think that the potential destructive capabilities of fast spreading worms like the Warhol worm, Flash worm and Curious Yellow need to be explored to the maximum extent possible. While re-visiting some techniques of viruses from the past, we can come across some that utilize cryptographic tools in their malicious activity. That alarming property, combined with the speed of the so-called "superworms", is explored in the present work. Suggestions for countermeasures and future work are given.

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