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Extended signature format

The extended signature format is ClamAV’s most basic type of body-based signature since the deprecation of the original .db database format.

Extended sigantures allow for specification of additional information beyond just hexidecimal content such as a file “target type”, virus offset, or engine functionality level (FLEVEL), making the detection more reliable.

The format is:


MalwareName: The virus name. Should conform to the standards defined here.

TargetType: A number specifying the type of the target file: Target Types

Offset: An asterisk or a decimal number n possibly combined with a special modifier:

  • * = any
  • n = absolute offset
  • EOF-n = end of file minus n bytes

Signatures for PE, ELF and Mach-O files additionally support:

  • EP+n = entry point plus n bytes (EP+0 for EP)
  • EP-n = entry point minus n bytes
  • Sx+n = start of section x’s (counted from 0) data plus n bytes
  • SEx = entire section x (offset must lie within section boundaries)
  • SL+n = start of last section plus n bytes

All the above offsets except * can be turned into floating offsets and represented as Offset,MaxShift where MaxShift is an unsigned integer. A floating offset will match every offset between Offset and Offset+MaxShift, eg. 10,5 will match all offsets from 10 to 15 and EP+n,y will match all offsets from EP+n to EP+n+y. Versions of ClamAV older than 0.91 will silently ignore the MaxShift extension and only use Offset. Optional MinFL and MaxFL parameters can restrict the signature to specific engine releases. All signatures in the extended format must be placed inside *.ndb files.

HexSignature: The body-based content matching format.

min_flevel: (optional) The minimum ClamAV engine that the file type signature works with. See the FLEVEL reference for details. To be used in the event that file type support has been recently added.

max_flevel: (optional, requires min_flevel) The maximum ClamAV engine that the file type signature works with. To be used in the event that file type support has been recently removed.