I am a beginner in information security.

I was clueless about the term "packed file".

Can anyone explain to me what a "packed file" is in term of malware analysis?


A packed executable file is one which is compressed. It contains a small amount of uncompressed code which decompresses and executes the main payload. Files are often packed to reduce their overall size. However, this is commonly done by malware authors as well to reduce bandwidth usage and to confuse older antivirus software, so it's become somewhat of a red flag, despite having benign uses. This is compounded by the fact that packers have become less common in general.

Modern large executables typically reduce total size by compressing individual resources (images, audio, misc data, etc.) rather than using a packer to compress the entire thing at once, code and all.

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