Learning Fast and Slow: PROPEDEUTICA for Real-time Malware Detection

Existing malware detectors on safety-critical devices have difficulties in runtime detection due to the performance overhead. In this paper, we introduce PROPEDEUTICA, a framework for efficient and effective real-time malware detection, leveraging the best of conventional machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) techniques. In PROPEDEUTICA, all software start execution are considered as benign and monitored by a conventional ML classifier for fast detection. If the software receives a borderline classification from the ML detector (e.g. the software is 50% likely to be benign and 50% likely to be malicious), the software will be transferred to a more accurate, yet performance demanding DL detector. To address spatial-temporal dynamics and software execution heterogeneity, we introduce a novel DL architecture (DEEPMALWARE) for PROPEDEUTICA with multi-stream inputs. We evaluated PROPEDEUTICA with 9,115 malware samples and 1,338 benign software from various categories for the Windows OS. With a borderline interval of [30%-70%], PROPEDEUTICA achieves an accuracy of 94.34% and a false-positive rate of 8.75%, with 41.45% of the samples moved for DEEPMALWARE analysis. Even using only CPU, PROPEDEUTICA can detect malware within less than 0.1 seconds.

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