Malware Detection Using Transformers-based Model GPT-2

2021-11-17
Şahin, Nazenin
The variety of malicious content, besides its complexity, has significantly impacted end-users of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). To mitigate the effect of malicious content, automated machine learning techniques have been developed to proactively defend the user systems against malware. Transformers, a category of attention-based deep learning techniques, have recently been shown to be effective in solving various malware problems by mainly employing Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods. In the present study, we propose a Transformers architecture to detect malicious software automatically. We present models based on GPT-2 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 2), which performs assembly code obtained from a static analysis on PE (Portable Executable) files. We generated a pre-trained model to capture various characteristics of both malicious and benign assembly codes. That improves the model’s detection performance. Moreover, we created a binary classification model that used preprocessed features to characterize existing malicious and benign code pieces. The resulting binary classification model distinguishes between those code pieces by recognizing novel malware or benign assembly codes. Finally, we used GPT -2's pre-trained model to improve detection accuracy. The experiments showed that a fine-tuned pre-trained model and GPT-2's pre-trained model led to accuracy values up to 85.4\% and 78.3\%, respectively.

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Citation Formats
N. Şahin, “Malware Detection Using Transformers-based Model GPT-2,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2021.