Adversarial Malware Binaries: Evading Deep Learning for Malware Detection in Executables

12 Mar 2018  ·  Bojan Kolosnjaji, Ambra Demontis, Battista Biggio, Davide Maiorca, Giorgio Giacinto, Claudia Eckert, Fabio Roli ·

Machine-learning methods have already been exploited as useful tools for detecting malicious executable files. They leverage data retrieved from malware samples, such as header fields, instruction sequences, or even raw bytes, to learn models that discriminate between benign and malicious software. However, it has also been shown that machine learning and deep neural networks can be fooled by evasion attacks (also referred to as adversarial examples), i.e., small changes to the input data that cause misclassification at test time. In this work, we investigate the vulnerability of malware detection methods that use deep networks to learn from raw bytes. We propose a gradient-based attack that is capable of evading a recently-proposed deep network suited to this purpose by only changing few specific bytes at the end of each malware sample, while preserving its intrusive functionality. Promising results show that our adversarial malware binaries evade the targeted network with high probability, even though less than 1% of their bytes are modified.

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