Fusing Feature Engineering and Deep Learning: A Case Study for Malware Classification [article]

Daniel Gibert, Carles Mateu, Jordi Planes, Quan Le
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Machine learning has become an appealing signature-less approach to detect and classify malware because of its ability to generalize to never-before-seen samples and to handle large volumes of data. While traditional feature-based approaches rely on the manual design of hand-crafted features based on experts knowledge of the domain, deep learning approaches replace the manual feature engineering process by an underlying system, typically consisting of a neural network with multiple layers, that
more » ... perform both feature learning and classification altogether. However, the combination of both approaches could substantially enhance detection systems. In this paper we present an hybrid approach to address the task of malware classification by fusing multiple types of features defined by experts and features learned through deep learning from raw data. In particular, our approach relies on deep learning to extract N-gram like features from the assembly language instructions and the bytes of malware, and texture patterns and shapelet-based features from malware\'s grayscale image representation and structural entropy, respectively. These deep features are later passed as input to a gradient boosting model that combines the deep features and the hand-crafted features using an early-fusion mechanism. The suitability of our approach has been evaluated on the Microsoft Malware Classification Challenge benchmark and results show that the proposed solution achieves state-of-the-art performance and outperforms gradient boosting and deep learning methods in the literature.
arXiv:2206.05735v1 fatcat:6sq6t2c6rrcojdobwpdu6whjzm