What is Static Analysis?

This blog post is the fourth of an ongoing cybersecurity training series sponsored by OPSWAT Academy which reviews the technologies and processes required to design, implement, and manage a critical infrastructure protection program.

There are over 170,000 words in the English language. While we use language to communicate with each other daily, the average person will only use a fraction of the total words available in their lifetime. Because of this, we often run into circumstances where we need to look up a word we’ve never heard of before. It is in these situations where we turn to a widely available, and easily accessible trove of knowledge – a dictionary. A dictionary can sit on a shelf, and still be relevant for years on end. It doesn’t need to do anything to help our plight. More often than not, it already has the answers we seek.

But not all dictionaries are created equal. There will always be some discrepancies, or disagreements over some of the more obscure, or evolving, language. The beauty of having so many dictionary resources available to us is we always have another knowledge bank to consult.

Traditional Antivirus scanning software can be thought of in much the same way. A dictionary has definitions for words, while Antivirus (AV) software houses definitions for malware samples. Of course, Antivirus companies are in a much tighter race for updating their definitions for their software as they need to keep up with the constantly evolving cyber landscape.

The use of AV definitions (usually called signatures within AV industry parlance) answers questions for malware without doing anything to a potentially dangerous file. This is known as Static Analysis, allowing for a quick, inexpensive assessment. But much like how various dictionaries disagree or have discrepancies with word definitions, AV companies will often have discrepancies of their own. When real malware is missed because your AV vendor has a slightly different definition for a malware sample, or just hasn’t updated yet, it can be devastating.

So how do we handle dealing with malware that may or may not have different detection rates over various AV products? Simple, we ask all of the products.

OPSWAT MetaDefender Core makes this task easy with its Multiscanning feature. A single file passed through MetaDefender Core is scanned asynchronously through multiple AV products to come to a final conclusion based on all assessments, like searching for a new word over multiple dictionary resources to gather the overall best answer for what that word means.

Want to know more? OPSWAT Academy offers several cybersecurity training courses that will dive deeper into Multiscanning, and other security technologies OPSWAT has to offer. Head over to opswatacademy.com, and sign up today!

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