ROOTS 2019 Talk: RevEngE is a dish served cold: Debug-Oriented Malware Decompilation and Reassembly – Marcus Botacin

Sanna/ November 21, 2019/ ROOTS

Malware analysis is a key process for knowledge gain on infections and cyber security overall improvement. Analysis tools have been evolving from complete static analyzers to partial code decompilers. Malware decompilation allows for code inspection at higher abstraction levels, facilitating incident response procedures. However, the decompilation procedure has many challenges, such as opaque constructions, irreversible mappings, semantic gap bridging, among others.

In this talk, we propose a new approach that leverages the human analyst expertise to overcome decompilation challenges.

We name this approach “DoD—debug-oriented decompilation”, in which the analyst is able to reverse engineer the malware sample on his own and to instruct the decompiler to translate selected code portions (e.g., decision branches, fingerprinting functions, payloads etc.) into high level code. With DoD, the analyst might group all decompiled pieces into new code to be analyzed by other tools, or to develop a novel malware sample from previous pieces of code and thus exercise a Proof-of-Concept (PoC). To validate our approach, we propose RevEngE, the Reverse Engineering Engine for malware decompilation and reassembly, a set of GDB extensions that intercept and introspect into executed functions to build an Intermediate Representation (IR) in real-time, enabling any-time de-compilation. We evaluate RevEngE with x86 ELF binaries collected from VirusShare, and show that a new malware sample created from the decompilation of independent functions of five known malware samples is considered “clean” by all VirusTotal’s AVs.

Marcus is a Computer Engineer (UNICAMP, Brazil), Master in Computer Science (UNICAMP, Brazil) and CS PhD Student (UFPR,Brazil). His research interests are reverse engineering, malware analysis and systems security.


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