Virus Labs & Distribution
VLAD #1 - Polymorphism

   Polymorphism is where the virus actually modifies it's code so that each
subsequent generation of the virus is functionally the same but physically
different.  This works by replacing instructions with instructions that are
different but do the same thing.  For example:

     XOR     BP,BP                   ;db 31h, 0edh
     SUB     BP,BP                   ;db 29h, 0edh

Both of these do exactly the same thing - zero BP.  But the actual bytes
are different!  Thus if these bytes are replaced with each other at random
it makes signature scanning impossible.  This is very useful if used on the
stub (the code before the decryption) as this is the only non-variable
place in the virus.  The overhead isn't much. Algorithmic scanning is the
only solution for the AV companies, but this is alot harder to do and makes
them work for their money.  All scanners have their own inbuilt MTE, SMEG
and NED detectors but they are special additions.

   Polymorphism is normally added by keeping a database of instructions
and selecting from these at random.  The randomiser is almost always
related to the timer.  There are two ways:

     ;8 bit random number
     IN      AL,40H                  ;Puts a random value in AL.
                                     ;40h is the timer port.

     ;16 bit random number
     IN      AX,40H                  ;Puts a random value in AX.

     ;Another random number
     XOR     AH,AH                   ;Puts a random value in DX.
     INT     1AH                     ;1ah function 0 read system timer.
                                     ;This is basically the same as the
                                     ;previous examples.

Then you can XOR the number or AND it to add more randomness.

   The database is whatever you need, but for ease of programming a
power of two is best (2,4,8,16) with two byte instructions.  Then you can
get your random number and AND off the bits you don't need.  If you had
four random instructions to choose from you'd:

     AND     AX,3                    ;3 = 00000011b

Which would leave it with only 4 possibilities.

The offset of your database is moved into a register and the random number
multiplied by two would be added to it (because the instructions are two
bytes long).  Now you have your random instruction.  All you do is simply
move it where it is needed and you're done!

Here is all that added together into some simple polymorphics:

     IN      AX,40H                  ;Random number in AX.
     AND     AX,3                    ;Between 0-3.
     SHL     AX,1                    ;Multiply by two because instructions
                                     ;are two bytes long.

     MOV     SI,OFFSET DATABASE      ;SI points to start of database.
     ADD     SI,AX                   ;Add SI with AX the random offset.
     MOV     DI,OFFSET POLY1         ;Put the random instruction here.
     MOVSW                           ;Move the instruction.
     RET                             ;Finished.

     ;Garbage 'do nothing' instructions.
DATABASE     DB      2CH,0           ; = sub al,0
             DB      89H,0C0H        ; = mov ax,ax
             DB      88H,0C9H        ; = mov cl,cl
             DB      21H,0D2H        ; = and dx,dx

This is only simple stuff but thats why it's called a beginners lesson! As
you can see it doesn't take up too much code at all.  MTE and NED are much
better but they take up 1000+ bytes!  That's overdoing it!

   Other places of use are in the encryptor.  Random garbler bytes can add
thousands more variations to your virus than the normal 255.  Randomise
the actual number of variable bytes put in and you can have a variable
length encryptor.  The actual polymorphic routine should be kept inside the
encryption and called before the virus is written to file.

   A few things to be aware of are that your databases must contain
instructions of the same length.  You can have databases with three byte
instructions but you can't mix the lengths.  Go through DEBUG and enter
the code to grab the bytes.

   That was a short walk through of a fairly simple concept.  I know there
aren't any polymorphic viruses included with this magazine but be assured
there will be next time!  I hope someone has learnt something from this.



ARTICLE.1_2       Aims and Policies
ARTICLE.1_3       Greets
ARTICLE.1_4       Membership
ARTICLE.1_5       Distribution
ARTICLE.1_6       A Secret Thing


Ripping Source
ARTICLE.2_2       Good & Bad Code
ARTICLE.2_3       The Evil AV
ARTICLE.2_4       A Look At TBAV
ARTICLE.2_5       Polymorphism
ARTICLE.2_6       Anti-TBClean
ARTICLE.2_7       Paranoia


Incest Family
ARTICLE.3_2       Daddy Source
ARTICLE.3_3       Mummy Source
ARTICLE.3_4       Sister Source
ARTICLE.3_5       Brother Source
ARTICLE.3_6       KRAD Source
ARTICLE.3_7       What's Next

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