Researchers at Microsoft are looking at a virtual machine “Rozzle” to detect browser malware that remains hidden until it finds the right plug-in or browser flaw to exploit.
Although most malware today remained "naive" about detection avoidance, the researchers feared more sophisticated techniques such as browser "fingerprinting" [PDF] could undermine existing defences.
“Using current fingerprinting techniques, just about any piece of existing malware may be made virtually undetectable with the current generation of malware scanners,” the researchers noted.
Browser fingerprinting allows the attacker to automatically select the most appropriate exploits depending on the browser make and associated software plugins.
Besides enabling more efficient targeting, the style of attack posed a second problem for malware detection since it only became visible in the right environment.
Rozzle would deal with this game of hide and seek by running “multiple execution paths in parallel”.