Chapter 11Denial of Service

Both local and remote denial-of-service (DoS) attacks against antivirus software are possible; indeed, one of the most common attacks is aimed at disabling AV protection. This chapter covers some common DoS vulnerabilities and how to discover such bugs.

A DoS is an attack launched against software or against a machine running some software, with the aim of making the targeted software or machine unavailable. Various types of DoS attacks can be carried out against an AV program. For example, a typical DoS attack against AV software attempts to disable the software or remove it from the machine that is being infected or that has already been infected. Such an attack is important to the operation of the malware; the attack ensures the malware's persistence by preventing a future antivirus update from removing or cleaning it.

DoS attacks that aim at disabling AV software are known as “antivirus killers.” They are implemented in malware as independent tools or modules that know how to terminate known antivirus software by capitalizing on weaknesses and vulnerabilities found using techniques discussed in this book. Most so-called DoS attacks that involve antivirus killers are incorrectly labeled as DoS, because they require the attacker to have administrator privileges in the infected machine in order to uninstall the antivirus software or disable the Windows services of the corresponding antivirus solution. In the following sections, I ignore such “attacks” ...

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