Exploring Adversarial Examples in Malware Detection

Abstract

The Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) architecture is increasingly being applied to new domains, such as malware detection, where it is able to learn malicious behavior from raw bytes extracted from executables. These architectures reach impressive performance with no feature engineering effort involved, but their robustness against active attackers is yet to be understood. Such malware detectors could face a new attack vector in the form of adversarial interference with the classification model. Existing evasion attacks intended to cause misclassification on test-time instances, which have been extensively studied for image classifiers, are not applicable because of the input semantics that prevents arbitrary changes to the binaries. This paper explores the area of adversarial examples for malware detection. By training an existing model on a production-scale dataset, we show that some previous attacks are less effective than initially reported, while simultaneously highlighting architectural weaknesses that facilitate new attack strategies for malware classification. Finally, we explore more generalizable attack strategies that increase the potential effectiveness of evasion attacks.

Publication
AAAI 2018 Fall Symposium Series: Adversary-Aware Learning Techniques and Trends in Cybersecurity (ALEC)
Date