Catch 'em all, Classification of Rare, Prominent, and Novel Malware Families


National security is threatened by malware, which remains one of the most dangerous and costly cyber threats. As of last year, researchers reported 1.3 billion known malware specimens, motivating the use of data-driven machine learning (ML) methods for analysis. However, shortcomings in existing ML approaches hinder their mass adoption. These challenges include detection of novel malware and the ability to perform malware classification in the face of class imbalance– a situation where malware families are not equally represented in the data. Our work addresses these shortcomings with MalwareDNA– an advanced dimensionality reduction and feature extraction framework. We demonstrate stable task performance under class imbalance for the following tasks– malware family classification and novel malware detection with a trade-off in increased abstention or reject-option rate.

12th International Symposium on Digital Forensics and Security 2024