Learning from what we know: How to perform vulnerability prediction using noisy historical data [article]

Aayush Garg, Renzo Degiovanni, Matthieu Jimenez, Maxime Cordy, Mike Papadakis, Yves LeTraon
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Vulnerability prediction refers to the problem of identifying system components that are most likely to be vulnerable. Typically, this problem is tackled by training binary classifiers on historical data. Unfortunately, recent research has shown that such approaches underperform due to the following two reasons: a) the imbalanced nature of the problem, and b) the inherently noisy historical data, i.e., most vulnerabilities are discovered much later than they are introduced. This misleads
more » ... iers as they learn to recognize actual vulnerable components as non-vulnerable. To tackle these issues, we propose TROVON, a technique that learns from known vulnerable components rather than from vulnerable and non-vulnerable components, as typically performed. We perform this by contrasting the known vulnerable, and their respective fixed components. This way, TROVON manages to learn from the things we know, i.e., vulnerabilities, hence reducing the effects of noisy and unbalanced data. We evaluate TROVON by comparing it with existing techniques on three security-critical open source systems, i.e., Linux Kernel, OpenSSL, and Wireshark, with historical vulnerabilities that have been reported in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). Our evaluation demonstrates that the prediction capability of TROVON significantly outperforms existing vulnerability prediction techniques such as Software Metrics, Imports, Function Calls, Text Mining, Devign, LSTM, and LSTM-RF with an improvement of 40.84% in Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC) score under Clean Training Data Settings, and an improvement of 35.52% under Realistic Training Data Settings.
arXiv:2207.11018v1 fatcat:ktsiy6xfqvaghckwj3fpxapnom