This project explores the technical issues associated with the detection and prevention of malware. An executive summary first surveys the overall content of the report. This is followed first by a precise definition of malware and a survey of the known types of malware and their requisite methods of system entry and propagation. Commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) malware defenses are then examined, including a detailed study of how antivirus software operates and consideration of the role and application of Internet firewalls. Finally, considerable attention is paid to lesser-known, high-tech defenses against malware, focusing upon virtual private networks (VPN) and their attendant cryptosystems, multi-level secure (MLS) operating systems and networks, and type enforcement architectures (TEA). While the general malware problem is insoluble, combining the most intricate aspects of cybersecurity internals with the subtlest facets of the psychological equation, it is highly instructive to consider how elaborate computer and network security mechanisms are generally applicable to the problem space. The overarching objective here is therefore not immediately to dismiss a fundamentally intractable problem, but, rather, to develop a strong technical understanding of how the supporting technologies work with an eye toward eventual, concomitant mitigation of the affine threats.

Year Manuscript Completed

Spring 2020

Senior Project Advisor

Dr. Scott Douglas

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Applied Sciences

Document Type

Thesis - Murray State Access only

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