School of Business
self-modifying code, autonomous software, obfuscation
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Computer Sciences | Programming Languages and Compilers | Software Engineering | Systems Architecture | Theory and Algorithms
Waddell, Heidi, "Achieving Obfuscation Through Self-Modifying Code: A Theoretical Model" (2020). Senior Honors Theses. 935.
With the extreme amount of data and software available on networks, the protection of online information is one of the most important tasks of this technological age. There is no such thing as safe computing, and it is inevitable that security breaches will occur. Thus, security professionals and practices focus on two areas: security, preventing a breach from occurring, and resiliency, minimizing the damages once a breach has occurred. One of the most important practices for adding resiliency to source code is through obfuscation, a method of re-writing the code to a form that is virtually unreadable. This makes the code incredibly hard to decipher by attackers, protecting intellectual property and reducing the amount of information gained by the malicious actor. Achieving obfuscation through the use of self-modifying code, code that mutates during runtime, is a complicated but impressive undertaking that creates an incredibly robust obfuscating system. While there is a great amount of research that is still ongoing, the preliminary results of this subject suggest that the application of self-modifying code to obfuscation may yield self-maintaining software capable of healing itself following an attack.