Toward Systematically Exploring Antivirus Engines (short paper)


While different works tested antiviruses (AVs) resilience to obfuscation techniques, no work studied AVs looking at the big picture, that is including their modern components (e.g., emulators, heuristics). As a matter of fact, it is still unclear how AVs work internally. In this paper, we investigate the current state of AVs proposing a methodology to explore AVs capabilities in a black-box fashion. First, we craft samples that trigger specific components in an AV engine, and then we leverage their detection outcome and label as a side channel to infer how such components work. To do this, we developed a framework, crAVe, to automatically test and explore the capabilities of generic AV engines. Finally, we tested and explored commercial AVs and obtained interesting insights on how they leverage their internal components.

Conference paper
Proceedings of the Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware and Vulnerability Assessment (DIMVA)