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I'm going to give a seminar on "Recent Trends in Virus & Anti-virus Strategies" as a part of my course work in my Post Graduation. I got two months of time. So, I want to fully utilize this period.

I myself chosen this topic because I want to master this area. I previously asked http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1796007/please-help-me-with-a-program-for-virus-detection-using-detection-of-malicious-be and have been in touch with this field.

My target audience are computer literates but know nothing about computer viruses. So, I'm going to walk all the way from "What is a Computer Virus" to the current techniques used for detection & to avoid detection. I found two journals to know about the research in this field.

Journal in Computer Virology

Information Security Technical Report

Other than these two journals. Are there any sources (that I should be knowing. I'm still searching though.) to know about recent trends.

I'm starting my reading from Wiki Article & its references & its external links.

Since I'm no expert in this area. I want suggestions from you guys. I want to know if there are are any MUST reads (books, articles, research papers any thing that you may find will be useful to me) which I may not be aware of.

My plan about what to cover in this is:

  1. Definitions & Clarifications of Virus lingo (malware , worm etc..)
  2. How Virus Works (basics)
  3. about Hosts of viruses
  4. Virus Infection strategies
  5. Methods to avoid detection
  6. Countermeasures by Antivirus for each of the above methods.
  7. Case Study of some sample viruses by disassembling the infected files.
  8. Demonstration by running an infected file in sandbox.

& What else??

Is there any repository (or any source for that matter) where I can find virus infected files? If I could find desired ones that would be great.

I really want to put lot of effort into this and teach them what everything I learn't.

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+1 - Hyperlink away. –  Richard Slater Jan 25 '10 at 18:17
    
if you're looking for more input on this one you could ask on security.stackexchange.com as well, there's likely some people who'd have good suggestions there. –  Rоry McCune Jan 21 '11 at 21:19

3 Answers 3

Malware and anit-malware research is a pretty big area these days. Some things I'd suggest covering (this is by no means a complete list)

  • Some of the recent increases in PDF and java malware. there's been a lot of work done on malicious PDFs and also recently a big rise in malware using java. This tends to be down to the fact that PDF readers and java runtimes are widely deployed and often not kept up to date with patches. Didier Stevens blog http://blog.didierstevens.com/ has quite a bit on the PDF malware side of things
  • If you're looking to provide demonstrations of malicious files, I'd recommend looking at the Metasploit project (http://www.metasploit.com). It's very easy to knock up a demonstration of a malicious PDF or EXE file using that and demonstrate complete control of the affected machine. It's a bit of a long watch to get this out of it , but here's http://video2010.scottishrubyconference.com/show_video/5/1 a video of a presentation I did which demonstrated that one during it. http://www.securitytube.net, is perhaps a better source, as they'll have more focused videos of this.
  • In terms of malware defence, if you ask a lot of security professionals, you're likely to get the opinion that signature based malware defence is pretty useless these days, as malware gets updated so frequently that it's almost impossible to keep up.
  • Another interesting area to touch on in terms of how malware has developed could be to look at crimeware like the Zeus trojan. Some of the banking malware has good examples of how complex and sophisticated these attacks have become.
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1  
I would mention that Flash, movie file, and image file display programming have been steady sources of hacker-exploited flaws for many years. Also, I would add that malware has overcome those cute little security token LCD digit password generators. Morale: do everything you can do to keep malware of your computers and other app running devices, or malware can often undermine all you can do after you fail. –  JohnnySoftware Jan 22 '11 at 0:12

You could take some of the info from IronPort's website, too.

http://www.ironport.com/malwaretrends/

It'll give you the other side of the coin, showing your listeners how it's used to make money, and how 'viruses' in the traditional sense have very much gone the way-side for more dynamic, ad-ware and mal-ware types of infections.

Malware Trends 2008 Report: http://pages.ironport.com/malware2008.html

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I am going to answer in the "What Else" Section

I am not a security expert but have noticed a recent trends in viruses and malware is moving away from the PC market in general towards, Smartphones, Tablets, OSX.... 2010 was the first year that there was a noticeable drop in spam levels...

This is very dangerous as more and more are users doing mobile banking and online transactions, etc... while the devices have absolutely no or very little security. To compound that the user feels immortal owning that OSX device "that can't get a virus" so they say.... But to be honest that could not be further from the truth.

As for repositories of virus infected files just take a look at Symantec or AVG or any other antivirus site they all publish their signatures. Or even Google a particular malware will usually produce sites that track these sorts of things.

Hope this helped you to expand your presentation a little to cover emerging targets.

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I have heard this from MS-Windows security flaw patch vendors every year for 7 years. Quite a losing streak they have got going! Ever think people can switch to an Apple product because it is not being beaten down by hackers AND take security precautions all the time? –  JohnnySoftware Jan 21 '11 at 23:59

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