What Is Malware Analysis?

Malware analysis is the process of analyzing and understanding malicious software to determine its characteristics, behavior, and potential impact. The primary goal of malware analysis is to identify the purpose of the malware and its potential risks to systems, networks, and users.

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The importance of Malware Analysis

Often times it is unclear what exactly a piece of malware has done, or will do. Performing static and/or dynamic analysis on malware is necessary for learning what your adversary is attempting to accomplish. Malware can come in many stages. A first step for many is to quietly spread throughout the network before downloading and installing a second-stage payload. There can also be post-exploitation payloads that are customized for data exfiltration. Analyzing any detected samples can be the difference between preventing an incident, or having an incident.

When should you do Malware Analysis?

When any EDR, AV, IDS or IPS alert you to a potential piece of malware it is often enough to simply eradicate it, and black list the hash. However, sometimes it’s not so clear when the binary, installer, or script are seemingly benign and in these cases it might warrant further investigation. Malware analysis is also useful for when you know suspect a user may have downloaded a malicious attachment and have yet to see any negative impacts, but need to take precautionary steps. Furthermore, malware analysis is an excellent way to enrich threat intel feeds consumed by EDRs.
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How does Malware Analysis work?

While samples will vary, fundamentally, analysis works through collecting the sample and performing dynamic and static analysis. Dynamic analysis involves detonating the sample in a controlled and quarantined environment to observe real-time indicators of compromise often leading to high-fidelity results. Static analysis involves passively observing the malware’s metadata, strings, and other characteristics for evidence of intended behavior.

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  • Incident Responders: They are responsible for responding to the security incident, containing the threat, and remediating the system. They work with the security analyst to identify the extent of the malware infection, investigate the cause of the incident, and report it to the management.
  • Legal team: They are responsible for providing legal guidance and support throughout the investigation. They help in interpreting relevant laws, regulations, and policies that affect the malware investigation.
  • Management: They are responsible for approving the budget, allocating resources, and making strategic decisions regarding the malware investigation. They are also responsible for communication with external stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, and partners.
  • IT staff: They are responsible for providing technical support to the malware investigation team. They assist in collecting data and information, securing the network, and installing security software.


    • Malware report: A detailed report that describes the technical details of the malware, including its behavior, capabilities, and impact on the system. The report should also include recommendations for mitigating the threat and preventing future attacks.
    • Indicators of compromise (IOCs): A list of IOCs that can be used to identify the presence of the malware on other systems. IOCs can include file names, IP addresses, domain names, and registry keys.
    • Signature files: A set of signature files that can be used by antivirus software to detect and block the malware. The signature files are based on the analysis of the malware code and behavior.
    • Remediation plan: A plan that outlines the steps necessary to remove the malware from the infected system and prevent future attacks. The plan may include recommendations for patching vulnerabilities, updating software, and implementing security controls.


      Black Cat Security can partner with you on a moment’s notice to carry expedited malware analysis to achieve early detection and response, mitigating significant damage, saving costs, preserving your brand name reputation, and customer trust. Furthermore your enterprise security operations will receive a better understanding of the threat landscape thereby strengthening and improving incident response capabilities and procedures.

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