Toward Exact And Inexact Approximate Matching Of Executable Binaries

Lorenz Liebler discusses his research at DFRWS EU 2019.

The application of approximate matching (a.k.a. fuzzy hashing or similarity hashing) is often considered in the field of malware or binary analysis. Recent research showed major weaknesses of predominant fuzzy hashing techniques in the case of measuring the similarity of executables (Pagani et al., 2018).

Summarized, well known Context-Triggered Piecewise-Hashing approaches are not very reliant for the task of binary comparisons, as even benign changes heavily impact the underlying byte representation of an original binary. Modifications could be caused by benign or malicious source code changes, different compilers, and changed compiler settings.

Approaches based on the extraction of statistically improbable features (Roussev, 2010) or n-gram histograms (Oliver et al., 2013) showed a better detection performance in case of inexactly matching binaries with varying build settings or source code modifications.

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17:20 – Ensuring a secure environment
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Alan Platt, Professional Services Consultant at MSAB, discusses his experience as a former UK police officer working in digital forensics. He talks about the different levels of digital forensics capabilities within police forces and how MSAB products like XAMN and XEC Director are used by frontline officers versus lab analysts.

The discussion covers how MSAB partners with law enforcement to develop custom workflows for mobile device acquisitions that facilitate ISO compliance. Alan explains MSAB's managed service offering, where approved MSAB staff can remotely access a customer's XEC Director server to assist with software updates and troubleshooting. He emphasizes the strict data segregation policies enforced by customers to prevent MSAB from accessing any sensitive case data.

Looking ahead, Alan mentions MSAB's new CEO and hints at some exciting developments coming down the pipeline. He spotlights recent enhancements to XEC Director's speed and database functionality for managing large estates of networked Kiosks. Alan also plugs the new XEC Director training he created to help users fully leverage the platform's capabilities.

00:00 – Introduction to Alan Platt
07:00 – Training
12:00 – Workflows
17:20 – Ensuring a secure environment
19:45 – Customer training
20:35 – Helping customers comply with ISO accreditation
25:00 – Validation and verification
27:30 – ISO standards
30:00 – MSAB’s pipeline plans
32:40 – XEC Director
43:45 – Privacy of user data

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