Proper use of English could help virus dodge security

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London, November 28 (ANI): Security researchers have pointed out a basic weakness in antivirus tactics, saying hackers could escape computer protection by hiding malware within ordinary English-language sentences.

Josh Mason of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and his colleagues found that the virus-security arms race could get aggravated with the possibility of a large set of English text for combinations of words that could be used in malicious code.

"There was not a lot to suggest it could be done because of the restricted instruction set [of machine code]. A lot of people didn't think it could be done," New Scientist quoted Mason as saying.

John Walker, managing director of UK security consultancy Secure-Bastion, added: "There is no doubt in my mind that antivirus software as we know it today has gone well past its sell-by date."

Nicolas Courtois, a security and cryptology researcher at University College London, also said malicious code in this form would be "very hard if not impossible to detect reliably".

The research (PDF) was presented at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago. (ANI)

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