Friday, May 11, 2012

Practical Malware Analysis: Book review

Practical Malware Analysis: Book review

This is my review of the book, practical malware analysis by Michael Sikorski and Andrew Honig done  under the Oreilly Blogger Review Program.

This book teaches you the techniques and strategies followed by professionals to analyze and identify malware. As windows continue to be the most used OS in the world, it is not surprising that malware ranging from annoying worms to cyber weapons like stuxnet continue to spread using different means over the windows operating system.

Being a security book,  I was looking forward to a lot of exercises and security tools that would assist me in finding details about the malware that I might require. The book does the necessary job but often strays off its topic as it delves into the basics for what is more than sufficient, creating discontinuity in reading the text.

Tools such as OllyDbg, IDA pro, Win Dbg,etc are given in sufficient detail and various chapters are dedicated to their various uses in analysis and reverse engineering, which will be beneficial to an security professional. From a casual user point of view, the expansive details might be more of theoretical annoyance and the book is at places too advanced into the details.

On the nicer features in this book, there is a keen focus on practical implementation of the things taught at the end of each chapter in form of a set of labs that the end user is expected to complete. For me, this worked very well as I was able to skim across various chapters and perform lab routines to reinforce my understandings.

One of the caveats of having an extended introduction of various terminologies is that they seem stretched a bit too long. The book deals almost exclusively with the windows OS, so the name of the book should've been Practical Windows Malware Analysis which would aptly reflect the target environment of the book. As a user, it was a rewarding experience in reading from the book if the order of chapters were followed and the lab exercises done.

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