GS Analyzer: Meeting the challenge of malicious executables


In the rapidly evolving domain of cybersecurity, the presence of malevolent executable code nestled within apparently benign files presents a significant challenge for detecting and mitigating threats. The well-known breach involving SolarWinds in 2020 serves as a clear example of the havoc that can be wrought when a trusted software developer falls victim to a targeted cyber attack, allowing harmful code to infiltrate routine software updates. The consequence? Users inadvertently inviting malware into their systems, unknowingly facilitating cyber intrusions into networks spanning governmental bodies, technology firms, and major corporations worldwide.

Deciphering the mystery of these malicious executables proves to be a formidable task as their true nature remains concealed until they are activated, often revealing their harmful intent long after the damage is done. Consider the incident involving the breach of SolarWinds’ Orion platform, where the malicious infiltration went unnoticed for a staggering nine months, highlighting the stealthy nature of such cyber threats.

While sandboxing has traditionally been lauded as a robust defense mechanism against executable hazards, its effectiveness is not without shortcomings. Resource-intensive and susceptible to delays, sandboxing can be outwitted by sophisticated malware capable of detecting and evading virtual sandboxes with alarming ease.

Enter static binary analysis, an emerging approach to threat assessment that is generating excitement in the cybersecurity domain. By dissecting the layers of code through reverse engineering, analysts gain unparalleled insights into the inner workings of executable files without triggering their potentially harmful actions. By scrutinizing execution paths, data structures, and system interactions, a comprehensive risk evaluation can be conducted, resulting in a risk score that aids in identifying and isolating high-risk content.

Armed with this innovative methodology, organizations can strengthen their defenses, promptly examining executable content to preempt potential threats before they materialize. This proactive stance not only enhances security measures but also inspires confidence in users and stakeholders, signaling a proactive commitment to safeguarding digital assets in an increasingly hazardous cyber environment.

Sasa Software has recently launched it’s GS Analyser upgrade for the GateScanner suite  that reverse-engineer’s compiled executable code in over 120 file types – identifies threats and scores the overall threat level represented by each file. The score serves as a threshold for automated, binary file filtering, enabling administrators to channel-out highly suspect files for individual inspection, while letting pass low-threat ones.

The following example shows a snippet of GS Analyser‘s code analysis and threat ratings for a CCleaner Pro’s setup file:

The following example shows a GS Analyzer analysis and detection made on decompiled executable code: 

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#MaliciousBinaries #Macros #Cybersecurity #StaticCodeAnalysis

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