Malware is a set of instructions that run on your computer and make your system do something that an attacker wants it to do. I strongly encourage you to run attack and defensive tools in a laboratory of your own. Here's how.
To start the process, you need to make sure your lab systems are prepared before the malware specimen is even loaded onto them. You can use this checklist (RTF format) for verifying that your systems are up to snuff. Before conducting an analysis, I always update the antivirus tools on my lab systems to make sure they have the latest signature files. Then, I verify that all of the tools listed in the checklist are loaded onto my malware analysis machines, both the system where the malware will be installed (the victim machine) and the other systems in the lab. I also rerun my file integrity checking tools to verify that they have a snapshot of the current clean state of the system that I can compare against after I install and run the malware.
By Ed Skoudis at NewsForge.
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- Article: Interview with Ed Skoudis, author of "Counter Hack" (18 February 2003)
- Review: Counter Hack: A Step-by-Step Guide to Computer Attacks and Effective Defenses (7 February 2003)