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Viral polymorphism

Stephen Pearce
SANS Institute
October 2003

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This paper is an overview of polymorphic and metamorphic viruses. It defines them, provides some information regards the safe handling of them and comments on the legality/morality/policy regard the analysis of them. It looks at their history and the methods that they used both with reference to individual viruses and the virus toolkits prevalent in the early 90s. The response of the anti-virus industry is described along with the more recent evolution to metamorphic viruses and the challenge they provide. The aim will be to describe the techniques and then draw parallels between what was seen with viruses and what may happen with worms which now dominate the "virus" world.

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