Malware Detection Using Frequency Domain-Based Image Visualization and Deep Learning

Date
2021-01-05
Authors
Mohammed, Tajuddin Manhar
Nataraj, Lakshmanan
Chikkagoudar, Satish
Chandrasekaran, Shivkumar
Manjunath, B.S.
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7132
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Abstract
We propose a novel method to detect and visualize malware through image classification. The executable binaries are represented as grayscale images obtained from the count of N-grams (N=2) of bytes in the Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) domain and a neural network is trained for malware detection. A shallow neural network is trained for classification, and its accuracy is compared with deep-network architectures such as ResNet that are trained using transfer learning. Neither dis-assembly nor behavioral analysis of malware is required for these methods. Motivated by the visual similarity of these images for different malware families, we compare our deep neural network models with standard image features like GIST descriptors to evaluate the performance. A joint feature measure is proposed to combine different features using error analysis to get an accurate ensemble model for improved classification performance. A new dataset called MaleX which contains around 1 million malware and benign Windows executable samples is created for large-scale malware detection and classification experiments. Experimental results are quite promising with 96% binary classification accuracy on MaleX. The proposed model is also able to generalize well on larger unseen malware samples and the results compare favorably with state-of-the-art static analysis-based malware detection algorithms.
Description
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Machine Learning and Cyber Threat Intelligence and Analytics, deep learning, frequency analysis, image visualization, machine learning, malware detection
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10 pages
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Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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