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Cryptography and Viruses

Simone McCloskey

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This paper will focus on the history of the use of cryptographic methods in malicious code, most of which consists of extremely basic encryption, permutation and transposition, and information hiding that is reminiscent of the steganography used to hide data from humans - although it is different in that its goal is to evade computers. The technical detail will be minimal, but some familiarity with assembly programming may be helpful in reading the few code examples provided, as well as the discussions of architecture details. Other topics will include detection of polymorphic and metamorphic viruses and some discussion of how cryptographic methods are used to ensure integrity and security of data.

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